Street Culture Through Eastern Lens, Atlanta-based Illustrator and Visual Designer Broly Su

Born and raised in Changsha, China – a city with major love for street culture, Broly Su grew up being heavily influenced by hip-hop music, graffiti, sneakers, collectible toys, and tattoo culture. Currently an Atlanta-based illustrator and graphic designer, Broly’s work has a bold-lined graffiti drawing style, often accompanied by eye-catching color palettes. Inspired by artists like Kenny Scharf, Steven Harrington, and Gang Box, he also works with acrylic, posca markers, and ballpoint pens from time to time. Some of Broly’s clients include ABV Gallery, Adult Swim, Lexus, Sallie Mae, Tesla, Top Shelf Atlanta.

Broly’s work has received awards from 3×3, American Illustration, Applied Arts, China Illustration Biennial, Communication Arts, Creative Quarterly, Graphis, International Design Awards, Society of Illustrators, Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and World Illustration Awards.

Popeye Magazine, Digital Illustration, 2021

Thank you for joining us, Broly. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Broly Su, an Atlanta-based illustrator and visual designer specializing in illustrations, graphic designs, packaging designs, posters, and animation. With an MFA degree in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, I’m currently working as a Visual Designer for Digiday, which is an online media company based in New York City. I’m also a contracted freelance illustrator of the Spinning Yarn Illustration agency where we work with different clients for their illustration and design needs.

Doomsday Party, Posca Markers on Paper, 2022

What is your practice about? How do you keep yourself creative in your practice?

My main practice right now is focused on digital illustrations and gallery-level drawings and paintings. With digital illustrations I’m able to take on multiple projects at the same time and deliver them at a timely manner, I would spend most of my spare time working with traditional mediums like acrylic, ink, ball point pens to create storytelling artwork that speaks on my experience and feelings.

It’s very important to have time for self-relaxation so I try to only work when I’m inspired or having a strong idea. When I’m not working I would watch lots of movies and anime, listen to music and podcast, and cuddle with my cats. These activities are often helpful for freeing my mind and beneficial for generating new ideas.

Us, Digital Illustration, 2023

Your projects are stylish and refreshing. How do you balance work and personal projects?

I believe it just comes down to what the work is for. For client work I always keep in mind that client needs come down to priority, which means that I would need to communicate with them regularly to make sure the work is on track and getting to where they want it to be, while maintaining my work style. There’s much more freedom when it comes to personal projects, and I get to stay true to my style, creating my visual language in the most comfortable way, while constantly finding out what could be improved for the next piece. I sincerely believe the significance of continuing to create personal work as it helps elevate and improve one’s artwork quality.

Snow White, Acrylic and Ink on BFA Rives Paper, 2023
Covid Fairy Tale, Posca Markers on Nesting Dolls, 2022

What does “community” mean to you? How do you see yourself in a community?

Community for me is like a club, where you get to socialize and have fun interacting with like-minded people. Having stayed in Atlanta for almost two years now, I get to meet so many amazing and talented artists that we get to share our work and opportunities. It’s such an incredible feeling to feel belonged and related so you could go back to your studio to continue producing better work and make collaborations happen with other artists.

Welcome to Atlanta, Digital Illustration, 2023

I think I’m at a very comfortable stage in Atlanta where I get to interact with artists from time to time in exhibitions and shows, given that I’m not a very talkative person. People here have really been showing me love and given compliments to my work that encourage me to make better work.

Atlanta Walk-Thru Rolling Paper, Packaging Design, 2022

Do you have any advice that you would like to share with others?

I think it’s key to know what interests you, because at the end of the day your work is representing everything you’re in love with.

Discover what your strength is and continue to improve your craftmanship.

Daily Barber, Digital Illustration, 2023

Always makes time for self-reflection and think of a way to make more impactful artwork through reading and learning.

One to Zero, Ink and Acrylic on BFA Rives Paper, 2022

text & photo courtesy of Broly Su

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