Penguin Random House
MTA Arts and Design
Portland Japanese Garden
New York Puzzle Company
The Society of Illustrators
CMYK Top 100 New Creatives
Gold Circle Awards
My name is Yohey (“Yo” – “Hey”), a freelance illustrator and a full-time faculty member in the Illustration Department at Maryland Institute College of Art. Baltimore is my current home:) This Korean-Japanese queer immigrant is working and striving!!
Pronoun: he/him (or she/her)
Represented by Richard Solomon Group
I was born and raised in a southern city called Kagoshima, Japan, which is a Japanese version of Alabama. My family was a bit different when I grew up because I have a Japan-born Korean mother and a Japanese father, and we were the only Christian family in our neighborhood or even in the school district! Oh, and I was very queer even back then! The sketchbook was my safe place to explore my own self without any fear as a queer kid in the South, and I started drawing more and more – I think that was how I grew a stronger desire for visual storytelling. In 2005, I moved to Jacksonville, Alabama, and have stayed in the U.S. ever since!
I could not speak English at all and did not know anything about the U.S. in terms of its politics, history, and culture. But living in Alabama was one of the best decisions I ever made. Sure, the Deep South was a tough place for a young closeted-gay Asian immigrant, however, I have met many wonderful people beyond our skin colors or political views.
After three years in Alabama, I moved to Atlanta, GA, and I earned my BFA and MFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Then, I started my freelance and teaching career in NYC dipping and sipping my blessings until I accepted my current position at MICA in 2021.
What I Believe
I believe that my job is to write pictures. I recognize illustration as a visual language, and it is my passion to tell the client’s vision in such a remarkable way. My intricate but dynamic illustration holds a clear concept and purpose developed on a rigorous ideation process. It is constructed on the firm design foundation by solid skillsets in traditional pen-and-ink on paper and digital coloring disciplines. After some ups and downs in my career, I realized how important one’s personal heritage and upbringing are in illustration-making. I hope to bring diverse and unique perspectives to my commercial illustrations.