'Hate the virus, not the patients'

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The UB Post spoke with artist Ts.Orgil whose latest caricatures on COVID-19 have been attracting tons of attention.

While drawing, the artist works in the Children’s Content Department of Mongol TV. He says that he “accidentally” encounters with inspirations and that everyday things that we’re used to and don’t pay much attention to can become an inspiration for art.

First of all, I’d like to start the interview with your recent drawings on the topic of COVID-19. How were you inspired?

The idea came to my mind unexpectedly. I’m usually very busy with my work at the television station and had no intention of drawing an artwork on this topic. As the country shifted to a heightened state of preparedness, people were told to work less hours and stay inside as much as possible. Accordingly, my bosses complied and assigned us less work so I got more time on my hands.

I was idly strolling through social media when I came across a lot of information about the measures undertaken against the spread of the virus. There were good and bad decisions and that’s how I got the idea for this artwork. It came to me unexpectedly and I never thought that it would gain so much attention.

What message did you want to give to the audience?

People faced problems and issues before the virus and still face them today. More problems will arise in the future – it is inevitable. The most important part is how you deal with these problems. People need to correctly understand the problem and seek appropriate action. Overall, I hope we can find good solutions together and overcome the situation well.

I noticed that some people were reacting emotionally and making drastic decisions. I found some of these decisions funny. They might not actually implement them but the fact they are discussing it really fascinated me. I don’t think they are bad people – just that they didn’t understand the situation well.

Which decision or initiative did you find “fascinating” and “funny”? I noticed that in your drawing, you included the new pellets made by monks to protect people from health risks of COVID-19. Did you mean this?

All of the things depicted in my drawing came to me very strongly. In truth, I think that scientists and doctors are the ones who can develop vaccines and medication for this disease. Yet, people with singular mindsets are claiming to have developed a cure and I found it interesting. I wasn’t trying to pinpoint these people as bad or anything – I just drew what I found interesting.

I didn’t actually want to criticize monks for making these pellets. I’m sure they made it for the wellbeing of the masses. However, to be honest, I doubt that these pellets will do any good against the disease.

Overall, I wanted to show that there are many different types of people who think differently and encourage everyone to work together to overcome the crisis.

How did people react to your caricatures?

I was happy that the majority of people liked my art. But there were a few who perceived it in a negative light, which came as a surprise to me.

When did you become interested in art?

Ever since I was a little boy, I enjoyed drawing. I think that my childhood talent led me to enter this industry. I became certain that I wanted to do this professionally when I was 21 or 22.

Now, I mainly take on projects dedicated to children such as children’s book, children’s television show and animation etc. It’s been around seven to eight years since I started working as a professional artist/ illustrator.

What are you currently working on?

I previously worked on “Tog Tog Tog“ children’s animation series. Now, I’m starting a different children’s animation . The storyline hasn’t been finalized but it is dedicated to children under 15 years of age, unlike “Tog Tog Tog“ which was for younger viewers. As I have just started working on this project, I can’t say anything more.

Do you mainly draw caricatures and animations?

Yes, I love my work. As a kid, I always watched animations and cartoons, and read magazines. All of them are engraved in my mind so even as an adult, I still want to learn more about animations and make them myself.

How long does it take you to complete an artwork?

It doesn’t take that long to draw a piece of art – maybe one or two days. But it could take a year or more to make a whole series of children’s animation since I don’t work on it alone. It depends on what I’m making.

Do you plan to launch a solo exhibition anytime soon?

I do want to release an exhibition. Previously, I launched a joint toy art exhibition with my artist friends. It was the first exhibition I participated in, and I liked it very much. My friend Tuvshintur initiated the exhibition and invited me to join it. As I really enjoyed the process and launching of an art show, I want to do my solo exhibition in the future. However, I realized that I need to come up with a good topic and theme for a solo exhibition. No matter how good a person draws, if they don’t have a clear topic in mind, it just becomes a good art piece. I’m now contemplating my topic.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

Since we started our interview with COVID-19, I think we should end it with COVID-19. I’d like to say to all Mongolians not to hate the patient affected by COVID-19 but the virus. Please help fight the virus. If you’re affected, make sure to isolate yourself and follow relevant guidelines and regulations. Just hang in there for a few days by staying inside.

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan