The Noodle Monk 2008
screenprinted comic series Vol. 1-2

Little Opera, 2011
silkscreened accordion book
edition: 300
open book dimention: 14.5" x 126" (37 x 315 cm)
published by Strane Dizioni, Seripola, Italy
photos and video by Strane Dizioni

Tomi Um's personal illustration projects have a decidedly Buddhist flavor. In the lusciously screen-printed foldout comic The Feast, images of the Buddha and other members of the sangha appear in a joyful riot of color, line, and ink. For an upcoming project, Um is illustrating a narrative called The Noodle Monk. "I've really liked the shape of those curly noodles my whole life, and they're fun to draw," she explains.

In fact, Um's universe is awash in wavy noodle lines, pagoda temples, smiling monks, animal characters, and elaborately detailed monastery scenes, all playfully jostling with the visual structure of comics.

Feast Vol. 4
sreenprinted on paper
edition: 100
dimentions: 41 x 61 cm folded to 10 x 13 cm

The fourth in a series of limited edition fold-out books by Tomi Um. Entitled The Feast, Um's four-volume set tells the story of a group of playful monks obsessed with noodles. In each book, the monks set off on a quest to find or create the aromatic dish, which they eventually eat and offer to Buddha. Screenprinted with silver and red inks, Um's beautifully rendered drawings become more elaborate as the book unfolds, culminating in a poster-size composition aswarm with activity centering on the object of the monks' passion.
-Printed Matter, Inc.-

Um studied fine arts at Parsons The New School for Design and worked for a brief stint in South Korea as an art teacher. She found her calling when she discovered the work of illustrator Yuko Shimizu in The New York Times. After reading interviews on Shimizu's website, Um quit her job, returned to New York, and enrolled in a silk-screen class.

Tomi Um is a noodle obsessed illustrator/ textile designer/ printmaker based in New York City. Born in the year of monkey, Tomi Um studied fine arts and received an undergraduate degree from Parsons School of Design, held various jobs across the globe, which finally led her to realize her passion for illustration. She has been drawing like a mad woman since.

Tomi Um

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