Jam Dong is a Chinese freelance illustrator based in Baltimore who has an MA degree in Moving Images from the University of Arts in London and has recently graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with an Illustration MFA.
Jam's beautiful, brightly coloured work has appeared in editorials and children's books and has scooped her multiple accolades, including selected illustrator at the 2020 Bologna Children's Book Fair, plus the Gold Medal in the student category at the 2020 iJungle illustration awards.
This recognition is well-deserved. With their dynamic shapes and vibrant colours, Jam's illustrations are irresistibly charming and uniquely endearing. "Although most of them are made digitally, collage and textures are applied to bring a sense of hand making and nostalgia," Jam tells Creative Boom.
She adds: "I love the texture and imperfections of printmaking. I also collect and scan materials like cardboard, stains, and tissues to be used in my works. I think the obsession with hand-making and traditional techniques kind of forms the style of my art."
In terms of what inspires Jam, she's drawn towards capturing those a-ha moments in life where everything just clicks, whether that's a stargazer tracking a meteor as it shoots through the sky or wondrous instances or scientific discovery. Cross-sections are a recurring theme in Jam's work, with quirky diagrams of ear canals and bodily organs giving us an insight into how she sees the world.
"I add a sense of humour to my work, as well as getting inspiration from nature," says Jam. "I believe interesting illustrations should create a narrative which tells a story without words. Visualising the fleeting fun moments and details in life is the way I communicate with the world."
Besides illustration, Jam is excited by moving images, so she likes to experiment with animation and GIFs. "I also like handmade activities such as ceramics, knitting and woodworking. Playing with physical materials makes me feel safe and comfortable."