Heroines and Villains

North Korean Comic Book Project

In 2011 we set a brief for a linocut experiment ‘Heroes and Villains’, a North Korean comic book project.

In a departure from the ideology-led comic book stories of the DPRK, Nicholas Bonner and designer Oscar Venhuis set this open-ended brief to DPRK’s most famous comic book illustrator Cha Hyon Sam.

Cha graduated from the prestigious Pyongyang Fine Art Institute, and head of the drawing department at Minye Publications.

THE BRIEF: On one A4 sheet create a story based on a heroine who will save DPRK from a threat – who is this girl, what is her background, what is the threat? The artist must know his protagonist intimately. What makes her, of all people, have this brave attitude…is she trained in guns or Taekwondo or does she learn this? Is she a schoolgirl/university student/ peasant/soldier? 

North Korean comic.

 

 

 

“You can base the heroine on a true story or your imagination.”

Heroines and VillainsHeroines and Villains

Development of pencil sketch to ink, from this ink sketch one or two elements were enlarged for final artwork

The Process

Cha was encouraged to be as imaginative and creative with the artwork as possible to capture the brilliance of the heroine.

After a couple of weeks, he presented us with ten sketches. Only one of them was not focused on fighting the Japanese or US imperialists!

Accepting the rather limited variety in themes (!) we asked Cha to ink up the pieces and from this, we selected sections of the artwork to develop on a larger scale, as a balanced composition in its own right.

Then, the work was passed to his Pyongyang Fine Art University classmate, People’s Artist Hwang In Jae, who performed the intricate work of turning Cha’s ink drawings into a series of monochromatic linocuts. There are ten linocuts in total, each with a limited edition of ten prints only.

The resulting artworks are examples of the space where North Korean artistry meets Western creative prompting.

Selected Artworks

Heroines and Villains 85x61

Size: 85 x 61 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Art linocut Heroines and Villains 119 x 65

Size: 65 x 119 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines and Villains 101 x 61

Size: 61 x 101 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines and Villains 100 x 61

Size: 100 x 61 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines and Villains 80 x

Size: 80 x 60 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines and Villains 70 x 60.5

Size: 70 x 60.5 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines 2 and Villains 101 x 61

Size: 101 x 61 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Art Heroines and Villains 81 x 61

Size: 81 x 61 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Heroines and Villains 76 x 60.5

Size: 76 x 60.5 cm
Artist: Hwang In Jae
Price: please enquire

Shipping is charged at 80 EUR or artworks may be collected from our studio in Beijing. Art may be returned to our office within 10 days of receipt for full refund less bank charges.

About the artist

Hwang In Jae
Linocut artist and painter

Hwang was born in Changchun City China, he studied in Pyongyang and graduated from the University of Fine Arts in 1968.

He moved to the main Art Studio in Pyongyang in the late 1970s and was honoured with various prizes and the title of People’s Artist (the highest award). We had the honour of working with Hwang in the last decade of his life, a wonderfully talented artist and a great personality.

His works are extremely collectable (we have several older pieces in our collection) and we were fortunate not only to be the only foreigners to commission him directly but also to receive three bodies of work ‘Heroines and Villains’, ‘Women at Work’ and ‘Ship Building’.

See more on the North Korean artists we work with on the link below.

North Korean Linocut

Artist Hwang In Jae

Further Commissioned Works

Guarding-the-Skies
Iconic roles of females in North Korean society