#LetItBloomDubai: The artist who turned Dubai green

Jyo John Mulloor, who is currently enjoying social media virality, talks about the idea and the ideal that informed his stunning creations


Anamika Chatterjee

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Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 2:06 PM

Imagine Dubai covered in greenery. While the city has been a great canvas for many an artist, one of them recently turned it into an opportunity to showcase how beautiful it could look with additional patch of greenery. Contemporary digital artist Jyo John Mulloor’s #LetItBloomDubai project is currently enjoying social media virality, owing to this fantastical element the artist has woven into a familiar landscape. And as we chat with Mulloor, he tells us not to simply see his work as an artist’s imagination because Dubai is known to pull off the unimaginable.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

What drew you towards the world of digital art?

I started my career as a graphic designer, but found my passion in creating digital art visuals using Adobe Photoshop. That is how I moved to the world of digital art. I have been professionally engaged in this space for over 16 years in Dubai. So, I am one of those few lucky ones to have their passion and day job be one and the same.

The #LetItBloom project has become quite popular on social media. What inspired this project?

My previous project with a similar genre, #LetItSnowDubai, was conceived from a dream I had. I talked about my dream to my family, and I realised that the feeling the dream instilled in me cannot be explained in words. That is when I decided to do what I know best — recreate what I saw in my dream into visuals. I wanted to see if I can pass on the same feelings and emotions to others by creating visuals of a snowy Dubai or a Dubai, which resembles the polar region. This project was very well received.

While having a Snowy Dubai is far from reality, I wanted to work on something which is closer to reality. That is when I read about the ‘Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan’ envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. I thought of imagining what this city would look like once His Highness’ vision comes into reality.

The visuals I have created as part of #LetItBloomDubai were all meant for social media posts. The greenery that you see in these visuals is a bit enhanced and gives an Amazonian feel. This was intentionally done so that the images would stand out even when it is seen in a thumbnail format.

What, according to you, are the reasons the images have resonated with so many people?

I have been a Dubai resident for over 16 years now. All of us enjoy the city most when the temperature is cool, and the roads are bordered by beautiful flowers. More greenery will prolong the cooler period we have every year and it will also bring down the average temperature throughout the year. Everyone would love to have a Dubai like that. Also from a global perspective, it is good for the planet. I believe this is why these images have resonated with so many people. Perhaps, we are naturally inclined to a greener landscape.

This is as much a technical process as it is a creative one. What did it entail?

I worked on it using Adobe Photoshop and a little bit of 3D. To create these images, I selected a landscape in Photoshop, and one area was marked. Thereafter, 4-5 images were used to make a scratch image. Whenever the visuals demanded lighting or landscaping, I used 3D. The first few images took around 7-8 hours to complete. Later on, I was able to finish the images in 5-6 hours.

Coming back to your earlier project #LetItSnowDubai. Between the two series, which one proved to be more challenging?

Creating snow was a challenge. While I have been to places where it snows, I am not familiar with how snow behaves on different surfaces. So, for creating snow I had to take references. I also learned 3D to do snow. However, for #LetItBloomDubai, I exactly knew how greenery behaves as I am from Kerala, a state known for its greenery. My challenge for #LetItBloomDubai was that there are places in Dubai that are already green; for instance, the area surrounding the Dubai Frame. In those cases, I had to exaggerate the greenery a bit to make it stand out as a creative visual.

Social media virality demands a creator to be innovative. Now that two of your projects have become talking points, will Dubai continue to be your canvas for future projects?

Prior to these two projects, a few of my other projects were noticed globally. ‘Life in the eye of the Beholder’ and ‘Skullmets’ — human head-shaped helmets, were the ones that brought me the most accolades before these projects. #LetItBloomDubai and #LetItSnowDubai went viral because they’re based on Dubai. Dubai is known for pulling off the unimaginable, so what we see in #LetItBloomDubai cannot be completely dismissed as an artist’s imagination. My immediate next projects in the pipeline are not related to Dubai. But there are a few ideas involving this region.

You are also an NFT and crypto artist. These are still relatively new terms in the world of art. How has your journey through NFTs been like? And has that been liberating for you as an artist?

NFT and crypto space has opened up new frontiers for artists like us. While there are some NFTs being sold as art, which are not even remotely related to art, I’m enjoying the rapid evolution happening in the art scene with the advent of NFTs. I was requested by a few big names in the crypto space to be associated with them. I’ve also created a few NFTs on my own and have made them available in the NFT markets. My personal projects are the ones that give me the most satisfaction and NFTs give me an opportunity to commercialise my personal projects. With the NFT marketplace opening up, artists will have to upskill themselves to keep abreast with the new trends.


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