Korean artist Henn Kim creates minimalist black and white illustrations of those moments we feel lost in our own loneliness after a breakup.
We’ve all experienced heartbreak at least once in our lives. It’s part of being human. Even when we feel we’ve lost our way or that there’s nothing that can take us out of that dark we’re trapped in, at the end of the day these are the moments that truly allow us to grow and understand ourselves better. Yes, it’s the end of a cycle. That's why it's hard to move on. Throughout the whole relationship, we believe things are going to last. Even when we're well aware that sometimes relationships have an expiration date, we all wish for it to last as much as possible. So, the relationship we’ve poured all our emotions to and devoted most of our time and energy comes to an end, what then?
We obviously feel we’ve lost our entire life, and not really in the cheesy way of believing that person was our everything. It’s actually in the literal way. We’ve lost our main activity and the one that somehow fulfilled us the most. It’s that feeling of loneliness that inspired Korean artist Henn Kim's amazing digital art. Her illustrations, where she turns our emotions into surreal realities, portray the despair and sorrow of a breakup through clean, black and white images that have enticed her thousands of followers. Her success, in my opinion, lies on the highly relatable stories and situations she portrays, even when they might seem like fantastic worlds far from reality. The thing is that, despite the scenarios she places her characters in, the overall images are a metaphorical portrayal of those deep and ingrained human emotions.
The moment when melancholy reigns our emotions and thoughts, the uncertainty of now knowing if we’re ever going to smile again or even put our emotional life together, the inner fight to move over and start over, all of it can be found in Kim’s images. But perhaps the best part about them has more to do with the fact that, despite dealing with subjects that could easily become cheesy and cliché, she imprints a vibe of satiric darkness to her illustrations, inviting you to reflect about your situation but also helping you see more clearly what can you do about it.
Yes, the loneliness and melancholy that comes with a heartbreak are indeed what inspires most of her works. However, her illustrations can have another underlying meaning that isn’t necessarily connected to relationships or breakups. She talks about that dreariness we’re often trapped in, and how we end up being pawns of a game we can't control. It’s those moments when the exterior life takes over us and we end up losing ourselves in the massive world that’s soaking us. That’s also pretty relatable, isn’t it?
Now, what I like is that she doesn’t go for a zestful and high-spirited message. On the contrary, I appreciate the honesty and bluntness with which she basically shows us that we’re all messed up to some degree and entitled to that messy and convoluted life. The ironic and satirical way she depicts those metaphorical messages, merge perfectly with her artistic style that could be classified as alluring and sometimes cute and sweet.
That, for me, is the most important thing about her art. I mean, at the end of the day life is a sort of dark reality beautified by random things. And that’s what messes us up the most, the fact that we focus more on that void beauty of life. That’s why we feel so bummed when we experience a heartbreak. We cry and long to get those beautified moments back, even when we know it was all crap. That’s why these images are so relatable. We see ourselves reflected in those dark scenarios, and become those vulnerable characters that get lost in a vast infinity of beautiful yet harmful elements.
If you want to see more of her amazing art, take a look at her Instagram account: @henn_kim
Take a look at these for more illustrations: