Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday interview: Yuko Shimizu

Photo credit: Anton Repponen
Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts. You can find her lovely illustrations in many magazines, magazines covers, ads, comic books etc. Enjoy her lovely answers for our blog. 

 Have you always wanted to become a artist?
I have always wanted to be an artist. But if I always had the need to become the artist is a whole another story. I have been drawing ever since I can remember, but it took four years of college studying marketing and advertising, then another 11 years of working a corporate PR job till I finally did something proactive to become an artist. I moved from Tokyo to New York to attend School of Visual Arts as first year college student to study art for the first time. After four years of back in school and getting Masters degree in illustration, now art is finally and officially my career. 

Which project has given you the most satisfaction?
As an artist, every job is different, and many of the clients who call me for project, I work with them for the fist time. Every job have given me different challenges and satisfaction. the most satisfaction is that there is no more doing the same things over and over, like when I had my office job. 

What types of books are on your bedside table?
Does iPad count as books? ha ha. I have started reading many more books since iPad came into my life. Of course, I still buy books, and I love the physical book, the design, the font choice... but as a simple reading material, iPad works for me. I always carry around like ten books in my purse. Design books are all in my studio, so the books on my bedside (or on my iPad) are usually behavioral economics books and other non-fiction. I recently finished Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, which was an amazing book I learned so much as well as just a really fun read on my subway ride to the studio. The book was recommended by my former coworker. Yes, I still keep in touch with many of them. 

What is the best moment of the day?
when the sun shines into the studio,  I feel rested, and I have a lot of energy.  ( i recently started waking up much earlier than I used to, to take advantage of morning time, as well as not get into habit of working too late at nights. )

What would be your dream project?
I would one day, do something that is not just illustrating, but take charge of the bigger creative process. For example, something like designing a whole store, restaurant or hotel lobby,  or collaborate with a fashion brand who would share the same aesthetic and value to come up with textile and clothing designs, or work on furniture or home decoration items. All of them can involve illustrating aspect, but the scale of designing aspect is bigger. That would be a lot of fun. I have to really get to work on jotting down ideas, because, hey, you never know!

What type of music do you play while creating?
You know, I don't listen to music much while I work, though I have so much music packed in my iTunes. I usually streamline WNYC, which is a New York City based public radio program. I haven't own TV in years, but I am very much interested in politics, foreign affairs, current event, or good interviews, this radio channels fuel my brain as I work. I listen to my music when internet is not working well, or they are playing the program I had already listened to. 

What do you love the most in your work?
I like the physical act of making marks on paper with brush and ink. It is the most fun part of my creative process. 

Who is your hero at the moment?
There are so many, but I recently posted this on my blog, so this may work as a good answer.

Cat or dog?
Oh, DEFINITELY dog! I adore my dog. He comes to work with me every day, taking subway down in a bag and spreading love to the commuters. 

If you were a character from a cartoon, which one would you be? :)
It's not a cartoon, but my best friend Marcos Chin says we are the Asian Will and Grace. Of course, I am the Grace. 

If you could do any other job what would you choose and why?
Is this a realistic question, or fantasy question? If it is a realistic question, I think I would be doing PR or publicist. I hated my previous job, but I liked what I did, and I think I am pretty good at it. 
As a fantasy? Can I answer like secret agent? Lol. 

Where could we find you on Friday night?
Going out on Friday night is overrated (though, it is kind of nice). You most probably find me in my studio on Friday nights. Did you know that the best day to have the best food in restaurants is traditionally Tuesdays? Yeah. 

Pepsi or Coke?
Honey, I had worked with one of them. I cannot comment ;-b

Favorite blogs/sites etc.?
I get too overwhelmed by sites that post too many things a day. I love, which is a Greek-based art and design blog. I always find fantastic things I have never heard or seen. And they post just enough, never too much. 
FastCompany Magazine's design blog have fantastic articles that makes you think

How would you define your personal work-life balance in terms of ratio (50/50 70/30 etc) 
Hmmmmm, I think I work too much. But not as much as I used to. I used to work seven days a week for years. Not anymore. I take at least one day off a week. Does that make it 6:1? But I have a lot of fun at work too. 
What brings you joy? 
having a great drawing day, goofing around with some of my closest people, visiting the part of world I have never been before. 

Thank you very much for your time and great answers. We wish you best of luck with your future projects. For more info about Yuko's work, please visit her site

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