Inside the Prismatic World of Illustrator Subin Yang

Inside the Prismatic World of Illustrator Subin Yang

What does it look like when nostalgia, food and K-pop are rendered into playful shapes and tinted with a palette of primary colors?

Artist Subin Yang‘s illustrations encapsulate all of these elements and more, transforming mundane aspects of daily life into whimsical and vibrant tableaux.

From colorful depictions of grocery bags to muscly interpretations of Pam Tanowitz’s choreography, Yang’s work captures a wide range of subject matter that all cohere under her distinct, blocky style of drawing.

In this hand-written interview, ALL ARTS corresponded with Yang about her illustrations, inspirations and work process. Scroll through for the original answers, written and drawn by Yang.


First drawing (that you remember)?

I used to think a Sailor Moon fanart is the first drawing I remember, but actually, I recently remembered an older one: girls having a meal and dessert in a cute house!!! I can’t believe my aesthetics have not changed since I was a six-year-old.


My experiences, food, colors, nature, concepts about home and identity.

Single word (or color or feeling) to describe your style?

Energetic or charming (I hope?). In terms of color, I’m definitely a pink lover!

Best way to start a new project?

Find something new I can enjoy/ learn about and sketch things I see in my daily life!

What are you most nostalgic for?

I used to be most nostalgic for living in India and Korea as a kid — now I miss living in Portland and in New York with my sister! But it’s always about the relationships I’d fostered in those places rather than the physical places, I’ve come to realize.

Favorite New York City spot to be inspired?

Oh my gosh — it’s most definitely the subway! So lively and so funny (mostly). I’m actually working on a series of illustrations based on my NYC metro experiences.

Preferred music genre?

Right now I love Japanese 80s city pop (Mariya Takeuchi, Taeko Ohnuki, Miki Matsubara) and mellow band music like Phum Viphurit, Hyukoh, Moonchild, Japanese Breakfast, YeYe. But also some good late 90s and early 2000s K-pop!

Preferred mid-day work snack?

Mmm — a good slice of cake (green tea, earl gray, chestnut flavored or simply cream and fruits), with some light tea is ideally what I’d eat as a snack every day. Now that I’m in Korea, I have more options, like rice cakes and rice crackers.

Most creative time of day?

I think that after a good night’s sleep, I can draw all morning and all night! The daytime is more for eating good lunch and resting.

Any last notes for aspiring artists?

Don’t worry even before starting! Sometimes you just gotta dive in and draw lots before coming to a finished illustration that you are satisfied with. (I also tend to freeze up and worry instead of actively working on a project — it’s really a fight against yourself!)

A reminder (for myself): Don’t be afraid of starting something. We are all just a speck of dust passing through.

Read through the original answers: