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"Modern Life is Rubbish" (2022) by Ju Yong Lee

Is our society doomed to evolve into consumption addicted, massively overpopulated megalopolises and will we all be driven mad in the process?

When diving headfirst into the madcap, illustrated universe of Korean digital artist Ju Yong Lee (better known as Mr. Misang/Anonymous), one can certainly image how this could be the case. His ongoing series ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’, frequently offered in both still and animated versions, takes us on a wild ride through scenes that at times evoke the spirit of anime greats like Satoshi Kon and Hayao Miyazaki at their most vibrant and surreal. The level of detail that these slices of dystopian dreamlife contain is at times mind boggling. Satire reigns supreme as we witness the production process of our golden dollars or join the worship of gigantic idols to human sadness.

Mr. Misang’s alter ego, a masked figure in yellow trench coat, a wink perhaps to the film noir detectives of old, at times guides us through his work or is hidden away like pop surrealisms own ‘where’s Waldo’. Because there is indeed plenty to find within these detailed compositions, be it regurgitated fake news spewed out of the jaws of a doped massive hound or a bored ticket teller manning a broken-down empathy machine. What we see is both bizarrely familiar and wildly imaginative, like a fun-house mirror aimed directly at our modern world. It's a massive gift to be able to sharply criticize society while at the same time not taking yourself too seriously. A true 21st century artist, Lee often involves his audience in his process, at times producing multiple versions of an illustration and asking for feedback. It comes to no surprise then that his art thrives in the community and social media driven crypto arena, where the artist often pays it forward by organizing contents to re-interpret his creations, later incorporating the winners back into new works. It really takes a special person to not only create dreams, but to also be willing to share them with other budding artists.

"Modern Life is Rubbish" (2022) by Ju Yong Lee


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