Tell us about yourself ... I’m an illustrator living in London and working, I’m half Japanese and I moved here about 10 years ago to study and have been here ever since. My work has slowly changed and evolved over those years although I would say my main aim has always been to draw things I like and that interest and please me. How do you divide your time ? I would say I draw most days, living in London isn’t cheap so I usually have illustration jobs on to pay the rent and stuff, but of course I try to mix things up. The great thing about being freelance is that I can usually choose when to work and I have a lot more flexibility with what to do. Living in London means there is usually always something interesting to check out whether that’s going to galleries, museums, hanging out with friends in parks or pubs or going record shopping. It’s also nice hanging out with friends who have studios and seeing what they’re up to, keeps the creative juices flowing. What makes you happy ? Music, being with friends and family and even drawing sometimes when on those rare occasions I feel like I’m drawing something that I feel will look great when finished. I have friends who put on nights and DJ regularly and they’re always good fun,the music’s great and most importantly positive vibes.
What inspires you and your work ? Anything really, although I guess the obvious things are music, movies, museums, galleries, popular culture, science, nature, other aritsts, basically anything that interests me. The internet is a big help, I’m very inquisitive so there is always something new I discover which influences my work directly or indirectly. I keep a folder of images that I like from the internet, last time I checked it had over 10,000 images in it, it’s a bit of a mess but I can often look in there for a few minutes and get some ideas.
What processes do you use/enjoy when making art ? Well I try to keep the process to my work fairly simple which is to try and draw everything by hand on pieces of paper then working from there. Over the years there are small changes where I have refined my style and become more efficient but the basic process is the same. I always have music playing when I work, that’s a big help which gets me in the zone. I’m probably slightly scared to branch out too much and try other thing although I think my priority is to always improve my drawing skill which I think I have been slowly doing over the years.
How often do you get to visit Japan and what are your thought on the place ? I probably don’t visit Japan as much as I would like to although I did go twice last year. I absolutely love Japan, being half Japanese I obviously have a strong bond although I do definitely feel like a Gaijin when I go. Most of my family live in a small town in Gunma, so it’s nice to visit them as well as the rest of my family who live in around Tokyo. I have often thought about moving out there for a year or so but I think the fact my Japanese isn’t very good is a big disadvantage, maybe one day though. I recently found out that I am closely related to Jiro Horikoshi who was the chief engineer for the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane, who also happens to be Hayao Miyazaki’s hero, the next Ghibli film coming out later this year called Kaze Tachinu is about him. I don’t know the exact relation to me other than he looks incredibly similar to my Oji-Chan (who was of similar age) and they were both Horikoshis born in Fujioka, Gunma, but sadly none of my remaining family there know the exact relation.
Any current projects or links to recent works you'd like to tell us about ? I have a few projects on at the moment, working for a couple music based people who I have massive respect for which is very exciting. As well as that I have a few different t-shirt designs I’m working on for various people and hopefully a group show with some friends in the summer in London. One thing I would love to do more is work for Japanese people although I understand that is difficult with Japan having such a strong identity of it’s own when it comes to illustration through manga and anime.