South Korean Choi JaeHoon creates space-themed illustrations for Montblanc's new range of StarWalker pens

South Korean illustrator Choi JaeHoon's style is influenced by both Japanese manga and European comics.
South Korean illustrator Choi JaeHoon's style is influenced by both Japanese manga and European comics.PHOTO: MONTBLANC

HOUSTON, UNITED STATES - Luxury group Montblanc has roped in South Korean illustrator Choi JaeHoon to help launch its reimagined range of StarWalker writing instruments.

The brand spotted the artist via his 2018 Forever Rain illustrated video for RM (Rap Monster) aka Kim Nam-joon, the leader and rapper for South Korean super boy group BTS.

Mr Choi, who is in his 30s, has come up with a series of space-themed illustrations for the new StarWalker pens, which are inspired by space exploration.

A graduate from the Korea National University of Arts (K'Arts), he started drawing in his teens because of his love for manga.

His style is influenced by both Japanese manga and European comics. His heroes include Osamu Tezuka who drew Astro Boy, Hitoshi Iwaaki who illustrated the sci-fi/horror series Parasyte, and Jean Giraud, a French graphic artist who also used the pseudonym Moebius.

The Korean illustrator runs a comic book group called QUANG and is also a member of an artist group called SPECTRUM OBJECT which runs exhibitions and panel discussions.

Mr Choi got his big break three years ago when he collaborated with famous Japanese film director Iwai Shunji on a music video and album cover for Japanese singer illion.


Asked what has shaped him as an artist, he told The Straits Times: "I always think about death. It's not a negative thought. It is about the value and preciousness of life."

"I think about parting, sunsets, withering and darkness etc. Usually we keep away from these things, but they are definitely important elements in our lives."

It explains why he has a penchant for the surrealistic.

He added: "I like the surrealistic because I like to express the boundaries between life and death. I also think that's the value of creation: to show a new and possible world."

Life has become a lot busier since his videos for illion and RM.

"I have to put in a lot of effort to create good stories."

Not that he minds it.

"New and good stories should be continuously created to make fans and the public happy."

He is chuffed that Montblanc roped him in as a collaborator.

"The concept of StarWalker connects to the universe, life and nature and that is something I've always been interested in," he said.

"Moreover, since I use a pen for my work, it was a great pleasure to receive a call from one of the most famous and historical pen brands in the world."

The collaboration has taken him to Nasa in Houston.

"Visiting Nasa was on my bucket list. All of the things I saw there such as Saturn V and Soyuz have given me new ideas which I'm already working on," he said, referring to the American expendable rocket and the spacecraft designed for the Soviet space programme.