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Koyorin is easily one of the hottest artists posted on Urban-Muse right now, as is mentioned in the Yellow Lemon Cat interview in this issue, Koyorin is one of the young masters of a new trend of anime realism spearheaded by artists like Ilya Kuvshinov. Like Yellow Lemon Cat they have cited Ilya as one of their big inspirations so it should come as no surprise that their work looks a lot like Kuvshinov’s at times. There’s something about that style of art that is hitting really hard these days, the art form and movement seems to be heavily driven by social media.
For instance, think of your favorite artists, and think about the aspect ratio of their images. Are many, even most of them 4×4 or 3×4 square sized? Was art like that 5 years ago? Sometimes for sure, but this aspect ratio has been used massively since the introduction of Instagram into the art scene. Koyorin typifies this because most of their art is square “Insta” sized.
Koyorin’s artwork is heavily based on Anime, and Video Games, two popular subjects on Urban-Muse for sure. One of Koyorin’s favorite subjects is NieR Automata, and especially YoRHa 2B. Last October the Urban-Muse Facebook page started using a Koyorin’s Nier 2B piece as our page profile image and it was so popular that when we changed it at the beginning of 2017 several commenters were visibly upset saying “I miss 2B :’(“ that kind of a response to a social media avatar on Social Media for us is rare.
Koyorin is one of those rare types of artists, where to look through their eyes via their art and to explore the often familiar worlds of our media is always an adventure and a treat. Thanks for taking us along for the ride Koyorin!
Urban-Muse.com: Uhhhh…Gatling Cannon?
Urban-Muse.com: That’s your headline on most of your social media. What does it mean? What’s it from?
Koyorin: It’s a line that Aigis says in Persona 4 Arena when introducing herself; she’s one of my favourite characters, and so when then line came up again on my social media feeds a few years ago, I had to use it! I generally lean towards some kind of anime or video game quote to use, and that one really stuck with me.
Urban-Muse.com: You’re an Artist living in Canada, what can you tell us about being a Canadian artist?
Koyorin: It’s good! I love being back in Canada, but I actually grew up in Singapore (well, prior to that I was still in Canada, but I moved over when I was 7 and came back to Canada when I was 18, to study). I’m Canadian, but I feel like my identity is somewhat splintered into a number of different facets, just because of where I was born, where my family is from, and where I grew up (since all three of those are different countries; U.S., Taiwan, and Canada/Singapore respectively). So while I am a Canadian artist, I feel like my identity as an artist has more to do with being international!
Urban-Muse.com: NIER AUTOMATA!
Koyorin: Yes! I’ve been playing my Japanese copy of the game lately, and it’s sooo good.
Urban-Muse.com: Ok, all kidding aside, you seem to be the #1 Nier Automata fan artist around today, you seem to have done around 30 of them so far. You even got a shoutout from the official NieR feed. Can you tell us about your fascination with that character/game?
Koyorin: Ah, so it actually starts with my fascination with the first NieR game. When I had first heard about it, I watched a short video someone had recorded of the first hour or so, and I was confused but intrigued! From there I also learned about the Drakengard/Drag-on Dragoon series (I didn’t own a console growing up, so a lot of series like that were later purchases for me). At that point, I knew I had to experience it for myself, so I purchased a copy of NieR and Drakengard 3 for the PS3 and dove in. It was still pretty niche back then, but when I heard about the upcoming sequel, I was beyond excited! And as a fan of Akihiko Yoshida’s work, seeing his designs of the main characters helped to stoke my excitement even further.
Urban-Muse.com: A lot of people have compared your style to Ilya Kuvshinov, in fact I saw you at one time say he is a major influence. He’s not a bad guy to be compared to because he’s one of the top artists of the moment. But do you think your current style will eventually evolve and become more of it’s own thing rather than resembling Ilya so much?
Koyorin: Well…I would hope so! The thing is, his work became very popular during a huge turning point in my life. Around the time his work blew up online, I had just begun my illustration major back in 2013-2014, and I was a very impressionable 19-20 year old too. His work kind of proved to the world that having an anime influenced style was not as bad of a thing as lots of young artists are told, and as someone who holds several similar interests as him (or…I would presume, purely based on subject matter haha) this resonated a lot with me. I admire his work very much, but I would consider myself still on a journey to finding my own style, and perhaps I’m still just at a liminal stage. I think a lot of artists find themselves at this stage at some point in their lives, and although it brings up a lot of thoughts regarding individuality, I think it’s also important to think of it as a stepping stone, rather than a plateau.
Urban-Muse.com: You’re one of the most popular artists frequently posted on Urban-Muse, in fact one of your NieR Automata 2B pieces was the page default image for several months. It was so popular that many people actually complained when we changed it and they wanted it back! What piece of yours do you think has been the most popular?
Koyorin: Oh! That’s really flattering to hear! I think the one that became the most popular was actually my drawing of Kat from Gravity Rush and 2B from NieR: Automata, with their outfits swapped. (Even though my paintings take more time, it’s my drawings that tend to get more attention haha.) I think that one struck a chord with a few Gravity Rush and NieR fans, and I later heard that Kat was going to get 2B’s outfit as DLC, a few weeks after I had done the piece. I don’t know if my drawing had anything to do with it, but it’s still super awesome that it’s happening anyway, haha. But yes! To reiterate, that one is probably the most popular one I’ve done so far.
Urban-Muse.com: What would be your artistic advice to someone who wants to improve their skill and be a better artist themselves?
Koyorin: Foundation. Absolutely, work on foundation. It doesn’t really matter what style you want to work in, but having a good understanding of anatomy, lighting, colour theory, perspective, etc. can only serve to make your work stronger. Draw from life, or photos if necessary, but nothing beats studying from the real thing. As someone who had a late start (I only started to study formally back in 2013, and it kind of stopped around 2015-2016 when I was wrapping up my thesis), I honestly can’t say it enough that foundation is super important. I missed out on a lot of artistic study, so I’m still in need of building a stronger foundation as well. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t plagiarize! Being influenced by someone doesn’t mean you need to copy, flip, or sample others’ work!
Urban-Muse.com: What do you do when you encounter nasty/negative/mean comments on your work? What would be your advice for our readers on how to deal with these kinds of people?
Koyorin: Hmm…personally I’m actually quite emotional and the simplest of things can get to me very easily, so I generally maintain a strict no-nonsense policy on social media. If someone is being disrespectful towards me or someone else, then I simply mute or block their access to my page. I would much rather that everyone in the world could get along, but that’s really not an option and there’s only so much you can do to help someone with from behind a screen. So… I guess that’s one of the biggest benefits of today’s online world; if someone is being toxic, you can remove them from your life in a few clicks!
Urban-Muse.com: You have a really popular Patreon account, Urban-Muse is trying out Patreon to finance this very magazine, what advice would you have to an artist (or even an Urban-Muse) on creating a successful Patreon campaign and providing enticing rewards?
Koyorin: Ahh, I wouldn’t say that mine is that popular haha. But I would say that…just based on the creators I support, people generally love to see process, and have easily accessible digital downloads every month containing things like that. Personal engagement is always neat too, but it’s really hard to maintain once you start having a lot of supporters; and you always want to give them the best you have to offer! Bonus content and exclusives are also nice to have available, but I think for someone who also maintains several social media profiles, it’s only fair to everyone else to keep those at a minimum, or make them extra special.
Urban-Muse.com: What are your plans for the future?
Koyorin: I’m currently freelancing and I have had the pleasure of working with a number of really awesome people so far, so I think in the future I’d like to continue as a character designer and illustrator, whether it’s in-house or freelance—it’s a lot of fun, and a lot of my favourite artists (for example, Yoshida) are both character designers as well as illustrators. At some point I’d like to end up in Japan…but who knows what the future holds!
You can follow Koyorin’s work here: