Aspirational Demo: Mirae Kim Explores the Insect-y Side of Human Nature
This month we’re looking at images whose unexpected angles, balance, and juxtapositions unsettle us, so we couldn’t resist talking to graphic designer Mirae Kim about her truly intriguing, definitely disturbing composition, “Flattering People.”
Going inside the creative process.
When she started working on the piece, Mirae knew she wanted to convey a complex idea—that people sometimes behave badly, not because they are inherently bad, but because they have to. “I wanted to express the struggle of people to survive in a difficult society,” she added. To give visual life to her concept, she meshed human images with aspects of parasitic insects, combining and distorting stock photos to create the right mood.
Mirae first designed a model to express her concept. Then she used filter-distort in Photoshop to modify her creation, and developed the mixing patterns through polar coordinates. Finally, she used the opacity feature to overlap multiple layers. Combined, the effects create an unsettlingly surreal human-insect hybrid—an incarnation of the conflicting qualities of our human nature.
One element of the composition didn’t turn out like Mirae planned. She originally envisioned a pink palette—the signature colors in so many of her more lighthearted compositions. But the color scheme didn’t match the mood, so she adjusted with hue/saturation to bring in cooler blue tones.
Finding inspiration and raw materials in stock.
Starting with a whole stock collection as your inspiration can be overwhelming. Mirae found her starting place by searching Adobe stock for worms and human teeth. Once she honed in on a few good images, she used one of her go-to search strategies, the find similar items feature. She told us that, while the early searches for a composition can be time consuming, searching similar items saves a lot of time in the end.
Mirae also stressed how important the stock search is for inspiration. “Imaginative images are born in many real images,” she explained.