Journey off the Beaten Path with Terri Po

Journey off the Beaten Path with Terri Po

The study of fungi, also known as mycology, is having a moment - from documentaries to home decor to exploring health benefits. Not quite a plant, not quite an animal, there’s still so much we don’t know about mushrooms. These mysterious organisms fit perfectly into Terri Po’s world of illustration, which she describes as “colorful, chaotic and cute but also sometimes slightly worrying.”

As a self-described introvert, Terri’s deep connection to nature will be relatable for many. While studying illustration at college in Edinburgh, Scotland, Terri joined a hillwalking club - essentially a hiking group - which took her to the beautiful and vast Scottish Highlands. Her connection to and memories of the area are what drove her to choose Trees For Life, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the wild forest in the Scottish Highlands, as the charity which her puzzle will benefit.  

After college, Terri took an opportunity to move to Sweden for 3 months to work and live on a farm, a volunteer job also known as WWOOFing. It was here where Terri was able to fully immerse herself in an organic and sustainable way of living while temporarily disconnecting from the art world that she had become disillusioned with. “I didn’t even hold a pen!,” Terri says of her time on that farm. It was here where she found inspiration for Mushroom Boy, and you’ll find many nods to nature and the outdoor world woven into Terri’s portfolio of work.

So who is the cute figure we can see wandering through the forest? Aptly named Mushroom Boy, he’s as mysterious as the landscape he finds himself in. But in this dark forest, full of unfamiliar shapes, smells, and sounds, Mushroom Boy’s presence somehow provides us with a warming sense of comfort.

Now based out of Hong Kong and London, Terri tends to draw her inspiration from her complex, cinematic dreams that seem to have their own camera angles and storylines. “I’m very visual, so I remember the picture of it… I like to draw it to remember how pretty the landscape was.” Terri’s signature juxtaposition of cute and morbid will often have viewers exploring her work at a level deeper than face value.

Alongside her personal work, editorial illustrations, and infographics, she also works as a live graphic facilitator.