Hoi An Illustration


Inspired by the same motives as my previous ‘Saigon Compass’ illustration I wanted to learn about the history of Hoi An whilst mixing modern day scenes and culture in the process of creating this piece.  The goal was to create a cohesive image, inspired by the map of the town to remember and celebrate the iconic rich and historical past of this ancient port town.

Studying the map I noticed the streets made the shape of a boat similar to that of the ones that still line the riverside today. The foundation of Hoi An’s history is based on the fact it was a major port town and attracted visitors from Japan, Europe, China and India.  Around this shape I saw a large fish or whale, as if protecting or guiding the boat.

Whales, known as ‘Ca Ong’ or ‘lord fish’ have a deep history in Vietnamese culture. They appear in legends and stories passed down of stranded fishermen being rescued by the sea creature, guiding them to safety.

In this image I am using the illusion of a whale and a boat to symbolize the protection around the ancient town with it’s beautiful temples and architecture. In the surrounding areas the collaged illustrations pay homage to the outside influences from the Japanese to the left and the Chinese to the right. In the center you can see the multi-cultural melting pot that is modern Hoi An with street scenes and characters from my woodcuts hiding in the crowds.