It was during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City that Korean-American illustrator ShinYeon Moon realised she wanted to reconnect with nature, creating Flower Child, a series of artworks that pay homage to those "beautiful, seemingly fleeting moments where you let yourself check out and enjoy being submerged in nature".
The illustrations sparked a move out of the Big Apple to quieter parts. "There was no single reason why I wanted to move," Shin tells Creative Boom. "Perhaps it was burnout, but I think at the time I was just ready for a change after having lived in New York City for a few years. I was actually planning on taking a few months to travel, but with the lockdown in place, I ended up staying with very generous family friends in the suburbs of Westchester, just outside of the city."
Although only an hour's train ride outside of New York, the area is quiet and offers access to local parks and hiking trails. "The pandemic really forced me to become self-reflective and introspective as I had more time to question, challenge and learn about myself and my art. I think with being able to work from home (and the disappearance of all social obligations),
"I was given a kind of freedom to play around with my art making. I'm not sure if I've processed all that has happened in this year and half, but I am hoping that the pandemic has helped me to become more open to discovery and vulnerability, and to use my work and voice as a way to connect genuinely with others, on and offline," she adds.
Shin has an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts and recently taught Figure Drawing and Painting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Aside from nature being a focus of her work, Shin "truly enjoys eating", so much so that she tries to base her travels around places that have the "most delicious foods". Take a look at Shin's other series, Comfort Eaters to see her love of Korean cuisine.
"Although I'm not sure if the pandemic has opened my eyes, I do think that being stuck at home gave me forced time off to just draw (and draw and draw) whatever I wanted, and go back to the basics of just having fun with the whole process. I feel lucky that I can count on art as a respite and a tool to channel my frustrations, and with everything happening at the peak of the pandemic, I think this 'Flower Child' series was born out of a need to create a safe space. I just wanted to capture that feeling when you are truly at peace and content with the world around you and grateful to be existing."