Mongo is a freelance creator based in Taiwan. She shares herself through illustration and visual design, specialising in portrait drawing. Inspired by female beauty, animals, nature and music, her work illustrates portraits blended with plants, animals and surreal landscapes in pastel colour.
We asked Mongo a few questions about her work...
You often draw woman, what is it about females and their faces that motivates you to draw?
I have been influenced by girl comics and women's magazines since my childhood, I find it easy to take women's pictures as a reference when painting. On the one hand, it may be because of my own gender identity, and when painting women, I also project my own ideal appearance.
Your portraits regularly combine elements of plants and animals, what is it about nature and particularly people’s pets that you enjoy painting?
Drawing natural plants and animals is the warm-up action of my painting. I will look at plants or domestic cats, and often take pictures of fun plants or animals on the road and then draw them later from the reference picture. I feel special and peaceful in a space with plants and animals.
Your work has a very distinguishable colour palette, how important is colour to you and how long have you been produces work that focuses on using these particular shades?
In fact, when I paint the originals are all in black ink. I love bright and pastel colours, these shades make me happy. So I scan my work and digitally edit them adding the colour. I have been using this colour palette since I have been doing graphic design work.
You previously lived in London while on a working holiday, can you tell us the meaning behind your series London Pale Dream and what moments during your time in Europe really inspired you to draw.
"London Pale Dream" mainly illustrates the change of mood in my year in London. If I were a book, the time I spent in London would be like a few pages falling from the book. I didn’t ever plan to go but I had a good friend studying in London so I got a working holiday visa. At first, I felt that the city was huge, I felt panicked like a small ant. But I soon began to set up my daily life and explore the surroundings at my own pace. I gradually used a magnifying glasses to observe the texture of the city.
My life experience while abroad allowed me to figure out the things that were most important to me under the extremely simply living conditions I was in: creation and connection with others. Having more time alone allows me to reorganise my psychological room. Illustrations are one of the ways to organise my thoughts and experiences.
We really love your series Companion in which you created an illustration series documenting a selection of homeless people and their relationship to their pet dogs, can you explain to us how this project came about and your experience working on a social subject.
It's a long story, and I'm surprised you have seen this little-exposed work, which is a project that I haven't really digested yet. This is a graduate project of Ting Hsin-Lin's who mastered in Environmental Design. It is a project plan about the story between the wanderer and the dog they raised. This project mainly aims to improve people's understanding of the actual situation of homeless people and their dogs. This collaborate project was aimed to bring social attention as we organized a two-day flash event in a charity store under an animal protection organisation. I hope the illustrations can empower empathy for homeless animals.
At first, I simply accompanied my friends to visit the street and interview the homeless people, but later I decided to participate and help with creating illustrations. There are many homeless people in London, and there are also many homeless people who have pets. Most people are critical of their pets. Some people say that they use dogs to obtain subsidies and sympathy. Dog lovers often think that this is abusive to animals. On the one hand, I think it is ironic that people care more about dogs than people themselves. But because of peoples (the people who regularly provide dog food to homeless people) love for dogs, the animal can connect passersby and the homeless people together. I illustrated the stories of six homeless people willing to be interviewed. Most people were pet owners before they became homeless. Because of their own circumstances, they sleep on the streets, and they think it is even more cruel for them to send dogs to adoptive homes. The dogs are often their motivation to continue to survive. I hope to include these illustrations in a book a some point.