Prague Morning interviewed Soumik, the artist behind Alien in Bohemia, an ongoing art journey for Soumik where he showcases his graphic design talents through weaving relatable short stories by e-comics and photos.
Alien in Bohemia’s stories are refreshingly familiar, especially to international students who come to Prague. Here’s the full-length interview.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us where you came from?
“I’m Soumik from Bangladesh. I came to the Czech Republic to study optics and nanostructure, and to do my master’s in this back in 2017. I had been an engineer up until that point. It was a tough school. I studied at Czech Technical University – Faculty of Nuclear Science. I didn’t have classmates, so I spent a lot of time alone.”
There’s a huge contrast between what you were doing before and now. What made you transition to art?
“It was a tough subject and science can be demanding. I probably thought it was going be good for me, then I realized I still have to go through a work phase. I realized I loved drawing. I used to come home from school, eat dinner, and from 9 pm till 3 am I would draw. It wasn’t tiring, but it actually felt rewarding.
I still respect science, but I realized that it wasn’t my thing. On the other hand, I’m very good with the creative field and feel more efficient. In engineering, you had to be correct all the time, you couldn’t make too many mistakes. You have to study a lot too.”
How did Alien in Bohemia start and what are your goals as you progress?
“It kind of started with my Instagram page, where I just explored all of these possibilities. I started drawing comics in 2018. The first story was inspired by me trying to get a haircut, which turned out horribly wrong because we couldn’t communicate. I wanted to capture this unique experience of language and culture barrier.”
“My aim is to tell stories so people can relate. Back home, I used to be quite a storyteller, but as soon as I got to Prague, it stopped. Then I realized, it didn’t really stop, but just found a new medium.”
You mentioned that you secured a job as an art director in Boomerang, how has that been?
“I’ve been actually paying for my tuition, my school, my rent from freelancing for the last 2 and a half years. Now for this job, it’s up to me to come up with the visuals. It has helped me develop my art style.”
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What advice would you give to any artist and aspiring artist out there?
“I believe everybody can draw. I’m not a good artist, but I believe I’m a good storyteller. To tell a story does not require high-art knowledge. However, if you’re an artist, sometimes you can forget that you need to make a living. If you want to make a living, you have to follow the market.
Find a balance between doing what you want, and scoping out what people would like for you to create. Doing your own thing is really important, but find ways to incorporate yourself to the latest trends. I started learning things on my own, to develop and diversify my skill set.”
Check out his merchandise on his website.