I was asked to create an illustration about “Garden Memorials: A Collection of Short-Shorts” by Thomas Fox Averill for North American Review. At first, before I read the stories, I had no idea how to make an image about these three stories, because usually, I am asked to make a picture for one story or article. Therefore, I was going to pick one of the stories and then make an image about it. However, I changed my mind when I finished reading all three stories. I felt there were some connections among those protagonists and gardens although these three stories happen in different places and times.
A garden is a small version of a universe. There is a providence of nature in a garden: birth, growth, aging, and death. It is like a giant incubator for creatures. In the three stories, you can see that the gardens treasure our three protagonists’ lives as they treat other creatures in gardens.
Thus, I created a place where all three people stand surrounded by their own plants. For me, the locations of their gardens are not important. The important fact is that they have gardens and the gardens have them. “Garden” is the world they live.
I believe that illustrations are versions of book reports from illustrators. Therefore, it would be great if the image conveys the illustrator’s thoughts about the story and makes readers fill the blank between the image and the story with their own imaginations. I hope people will enjoy reading my own book report on “Garden Memorials: A Collection of Short-Shorts.”
Hye Jin Chung is a New York-based Korean illustrator. You can find her work in various magazines. She and other cool artists contributed illustrations to the upcoming book The Who, the What and the When, which will be published this fall. Hye Jin Chung is featured in issue 299.2.