Yulong Lli is a Shanghai-based freelance illustrator who studied visual design and illustration at the China Academy of Art and received his master’s degree in 2020. During this time, he went on a funded exchange program in the UK.
He seeks and explores new ways to tell stories through different colors and creates compositions in illustrations. His style remarks the fusion of eastern and western culture inspired by vintage posters, modernism art, and graphic design. He is also running a mandarin podcast named Illustration Talk on Apple Podcast, interviewing illustrators and creative directors to share news and recent studies.
His work has been recognised by number of international awards, including the WIA (World Illustration Award), SOI (Society of American Illustrators), Adobe Top Talent, 3X3 illustration annual, Communication Arts illustration Annual and American illustration, among others.
In 2017, his graduation work won an award at the Society of Illustrators in New York and was included in a group exhibition; in 2019, he was invited to participate in the group exhibition “Casa China” in Turin, Italy; in 2020, he will hold a solo exhibition “Food Words of Shanghaineese” at Galeries Lafayette in Shanghai. In 2021 he participated in the Swatch Art Peace Hotel art residency project, where his work will be exhibited in the collection.
He has collaborated with publications such as The New York Times, Vogue, Modern weekly, Bloomberg Businessweek, T Magazine, Nylon and Esquire fine, and his commercial clients including Apple, Google, LVMH, Gucci, Coach, Cartier, Blancpain, Van Cleef & Arpels, SUNING, Lululemon, Harrods and other brands. Lululemon, Harrods, Columbia University and Incheon Airport, etc.
Yulong decided to name the exhibition ‘Infinite Intimacy’ because he felt that in the post-epidemic era, discussions of ‘love’ and ‘relationships’ often go beyond the definitions themselves. So when he began to prepare the works for this exhibition, he wanted to portray individual, personal emotions in a concrete way, and thinking in terms of ‘love’ or ‘hate’ did not accurately convey all the emotions. Therefore, he thought it would be better to make the term more inclusive and lighthearted, such as ‘intimacy’.
In 2019, inspired by photographic artist Ryan McGinley’s Love City series of cover stories for The New York Times, he embarked on a solo series entitled Love is Everything. Using the language of illustration to document the appearance of different lovers and the use of positive and negative shapes to punctuate the possibilities of love. The work extends visually as a tightly woven network and reflects the artist’s thoughts on relationships themselves. People from different regions, with varying colors of skin, different orientations, and even across species, are all connected by a common, or what could be interpreted as a ‘love’ force. He wants to draw out this moment with his brush, bring to nothing all the divisions, oppositions, conflicts, and disputes that need to be resolved, and frame them all in the same gesture of caressing and kissing.
Yulong hopes that visitors will naturally free themselves of the energy stored up in their bodies by viewing this artwork. These emotions, which are often repressed and distorted and do not find their proper place in the body, can be unlocked and understood. This leads to a further awakening of the creative, benevolent impulse, the capacity for joy, and mutual love. If you are willing to gaze at it in silence, hold it for a few minutes. This is the emotional value and energy in his paintings can capture.