Michael Cho – Back Alleys & Urban Landscapes

Michael Cho is a Canadian illustrator based in Toronto. He has been at it for a long time, winning awards with his impressively wide range of work for a substantial roster of clients. Perusing one of my favourite art blogs, Canadian Art Junkie, I read that he has completed a series of drawings based on his urban environment that have been: a) made into a book; b) are on exhibit, and c) are immensely pleasing.

Michael Cho 1 - Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes

Award winning artist and illustrator Michael Cho has been painting the back alleys and inconspicuous locations around his Toronto home since 2006. Earlier this year these works were collected and published into his new book: Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes (Montréal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2012).  He’s on exhibit at the Gallery at 129 Ossington in Toronto next month.
Canadian Art Junkie

Michael Cho 2 - Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes

Cho is a skilled draftsman, and Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes shines with lovingly rendered details, from expletive-filled graffiti splayed across backyard fences to the graceful twists of power lines over a bend in the road.
…Cho lets the reader visit his city as a virtual flaneur, lingering equally over dilapidated sheds and well-groomed gardens in a dazzling tribute to the urban environs.
Drawn and Quarterly

Michael Cho 3 Michael Cho 2 - Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes

As an illustrator, I have a lot of respect for Cho – this is not an easy business, and he has been at it for a very long time. Stock art, the decline of publishing, and increasing competition make survival as a working artist an impressive feat. His longevity as an artist speaks to his adaptability and skill, and to see him taking on landscape drawing through the lens of his style is an interesting development on the body of work he’s better known for. In terms of the work itself, as a lover of the urban environment I too know the charm of alleys and byways – these unexpected pockets of serenity in the hustle-and-bustle of the city each tell a story for anyone willing to take the time. It’s this warp and weft of nature and manufactured space that makes up the full cloth of the urban environment, and Cho has captured it perfectly.