Interview: Illustrator Jjal Grim On Pop-Culture, Netflix Shows & Iconic Hollywood Scenes
Guess the flick.
Mad Love
Words by Tom Disalvo February 16, 2022

Jjal memorialises classic movie and television scenes…

South Korean illustrator Jjal Grim has a keen eye for memorable cinema. For over six years now, he’s been sketching some of Hollywood’s most iconic movie scenes and broader pop-cultural moments, from Kanye West’s puffer vest ‘DONDA’ era to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and the global phenomenon that was Squid Game.

Scrolling through Jjal’s work feels like something of a pictionary game, except with the world’s most masterful penman, who’s doodles could very well have been lifted from a top-tier filmset. It’s the magic movie moments that Jjal loves, giving an illustrative twist to images like Jim Carrey’s green transformation in The Mask or Jack Black’s disproportionate canoe ride in Shallow Hal

We caught up with Jjal for a chat about the movies that inspire him, his Netflix recommendations, and his go-to cinema snacks. For more of Jjal’s work, catch him on Instagram here

 

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When did you first start illustrating?

Around 2015. At that time, I was making Korean fonts, which took a very long time with 2,350 characters, and I was only using black and white but I wanted to use colour. So I often started scribbling in colour to refresh my font work, which led to my current work.

 

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A lot of your work focuses on pop-culture moments. How do you decide which ones deserve an illustration?

I enjoy drawing content that I liked and enjoyed watching…I try to remember the most impressive scene in the movie, and want to keep it close to me to enjoy it more often too. 

 

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Which pop-culture moment was your favourite to draw?

I mainly go for movies. The moments I want to make as drawings are often between the two main characters in classic dramas like La La Land, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Closer. There’s moments in those movies when we feel they feel other emotionally.

 

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What is your favourite movie or TV show at the moment?

Since COVID-19, I’ve been going to the movie theatres way less frequently, which is why I enjoyed Netflix’s content more often than before. Recently, I watched the series, Sweet Tooth, which I enjoyed. I think it will go very well as a painting, so I’m going to put it in.

 

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One of your drawings is Squid Game, can you recommend any other South Korean shows that Australians should watch?

There’s a series called Kingdom, which released on Netflix in 2019. It’s a Korean zombie, unfolding in a completely different environment, so it’s fresh. You can also enjoy the aesthetics of Korea, so I recommend it.

 

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What’re your go-to movie theatre snacks?

I don’t enjoy eating while watching movies, I only want to focus on the movie, which is why I usually watch [them] alone. Water is enough, and I actually don’t even need water.

 

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Who are your favourite actors? 

There are so many. If I talk about the actors that I remember, it’d be Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michael Fassbender, Mahershala Ali. Too many to count!

 

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Are there any upcoming movies that you’re very excited about?

Wes Anderson’s new movie that will be released next week in Korea. I’m very excited for The French Dispatch!

 

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