Bom

BOM is a vector illustration based on Park Bom (BOM) celebrating her debut song Spring.

2NE1 and the Legacy of Female-led Groups in the music industry

Music has been an important part of my life since my childhood, and girl groups hold a very special place in my heart for their songs about love, independence, and belief in oneself. One such group from the K-Pop scene of South Korea epitomized these themes, paving the way for all-girl groups that would come after.

The prolific 2NE1 is comprised of Park Bom, Sandara Park, Minzy, and the self-proclaimed “baddest female” CL leading the group. It was this girl group’s 2009 debut that introduced the United States and many other countries to K-Pop music. However, they have since disbanded, and have forged their own solo careers that continue to inspire fans like myself today.

The long-awaited return of their former lead vocalist, Park Bom was especially exciting! This was her solo debut and first appearance in the public eye since the 2016 disbandment of the group. In celebration of her return, I set out to design a few pieces inspired by the music video of her debut song Spring.

Inspiration

In my earlier years as a traditional artist, I feared using color in any of my work. With sketchbooks full of charcoal, graphite, and ink drawings, the use of color simply did not fit in. I did not understand it. Everytime I used it in a piece I permanently messed it up. And I just…no

When I finally discovered vector art at fourteen in my graphic design vocation class, color suddenly became a possibility. Through trial and error I found myself moving in the opposite direction of my style as a traditional artist from highly detailed black white, and grey drawings, to restricted two or four bold color illustrations that popped off the screen. I doubted myself often, and spent countless hours reworking edges, and curves trying to emulate fluid movements even at points of juncture at edges. It was not until I came across the work of Malika Favre that I began to trust my instincts.

Favre exhibits effortless splashes of color in provocative and at times subtle vector illustrations in magazines, promotional packaging, and motion graphics. The French artist inspires me to trust my process, and allow myself to have fun along the way.

Malika Favre

Medium

DARA is a vector illustration based on Sandara Park, known to all her fans as Dara, who made a surprising return herself in Park Bom’s music video for Spring. At the time of the song’s debut, Dara had not released any music of any kind since the group’s disbandment. That was three years of nothing but modeling and acting appearances on her part, so her unexpected appearance meant a lot to us fans.

Clothed in a burning crimson suit jacket, Dara had a forlorn look-conveying all of the pain that fans worldwide struggled with. It was a slow-burning experience to watch Park Bom be the target of ridicule and disgust, as she was apprehended back in 2015 for transporting medication for her ADHD. She was legally prescribed in the U.S., but the medication was actually illegal in Korea since most mental disorders are not recognized by their medical community. Korean fans and news outlets alike accused the singer of smuggling drugs, as if they were hard-core narcotics and it almost ruined her career.


In this vector illustration, the smooth curves I achieved with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator were essential to capturing the emotions that I imagine Dara may have felt. I have been in situations in my life where I had to allow loved ones to suffer for a variation of reasons. Sometimes they do not want your help, other times you are bound by rules set by others and even the law.

The artistic choices I made were efforts to simplify the experience. The curated strokes and shapes ensured the rendering only highlighted that which I deemed relevant toward guiding viewers. It is an emotional experience tinged with frustration refined by silence.

How does it feel to watch a person that you care deeply for struggle and suffer the emotional onslaught of berating voices that you were powerless to silence? Have you ever wanted to help someone, but could only stand and watch?

That is what this piece feels like,

Reference

This gif shows the moment from the music video that I found most inspiring, and would eventually reference. The crimson jacket and lips, strands of hair frayed aside from the well styled body, and her eyes looking above and then outward together  indicate a struggle. The white oval zipper tag represents the purity of familial bonds, whilst the red all around it represents the all consuming hate that surrounded them.

Process

Working from reference provides a strong platform to build upon. Although, I believe as a designer we sometimes need to strip away the safety of a balanced experience in order to provoke the truest emotions and convey purer messages.

In my process I embark on a journey of discovering what the piece wants to become, and how I want to communicate that identity with the tools afforded to me. In the process of creating DARA, I sketched around the form of the model and captured an exact likeness. Then I worked to pull away elements that hindered the experience, while elevating some that would aid in provoking the desired emotions.

Below you will see the development period, and follow visually with me as I made decisions to remove and alter the piece.

Develpoment

Desing Appreciation

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