Simo Liu’s Editorial-Style Illustration Relives the Chaos of 2020

If 2020 can be summed up in a series of illustrations, we’d want to nominate designer and illustrator Simo Liu for the job.

Her work is sharp and witty, while also embodying a cool throwback 80s Memphis Group style.  Her series “Escape” shows us a collection of the disasters that the past year had for us, including wildfires, murder hornets, and, of course, the global pandemic.

We appreciate the clean yet memorable design, and we can picture the illustrations accompanying articles from any number of publications.

See more of Liu’s work on her portfolio website or Instagram page.

Designs shared through artist submission. 

Escape, this illustration shows a lone character trying to escape from different rooms, looking for the Utopia. Those rooms represent a series of natural and man-made disasters that occurred in 2020, such as  COVID-19, locust plagues, forest fires, floods, and earthquakes. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives badly, with limited flights, travel bans, social distancing and many others. These disasters have made us overwhelmed. We want to escape from that chaos to find the Utopia.”

To make the illustration “Escape”, my inspiration came from the film “Parasite” as well as M.C. Escher’s paintings. From the film “Parasite”, the living room and basement were two different spaces, and the people who lived in the basement were very hard to move to the “upper level” space. M.C. Escher’s paintings also show some contradictory spaces, which are extremely difficult to escape from. From those inspirations, I composed my drawing with nine different spaces, eight individual difficulties and one hope—the Utopia. Even though we are suffering from so many difficulties during this time period, there is always a light in the darkness.
– Simo Liu