Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday interview - Kellen Hatanaka

Today we present you Kellen Hatanaka, Toronto based illustrator, designer and artist. Take a look what he has to say about his work, things that he likes to do and stuff. Enjoy:


Have you always wanted to become a artist/designer?
Yes and no. I’ve always been interested in design and making things, but I didn’t really understand what illustration or design was all about until I went to university. Once I realized there was a way to apply those interests and make a career out of it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Which project has given you the most satisfaction?
I’ve been lucky enough to work on a lot of great projects over the last few years. The project that has given me most satisfaction recently has got to be my children’s alphabet book, Work: An Occupational ABC, which I just finished. It will be released this fall.

What types of books are on your bedside table?
Right now I’m very interested in furniture and product design so I’ve got a few Japanese Joinery books on the go.

What is the best moment of the day?
Hanging out with my wife after a long day of work.

What would be your dream project?
Recently I’ve been working on some home-wares products under the company name Datsu Brand. Continuing to develop and produce more products is what I’m really passionate about. Aside from that, doing some work for a skate company would be great!

Can you recommend some movie you've watched recently?
I really enjoyed the Charles Bradley documentary, Soul of America.

Who is your hero at the moment?
There are so many great designers and illustrators out there that inspire me. I have to say that the people who motivate me the most often are my close friends and colleagues Jim Mezei and Adrian Forrow, two incredible illustrators, and Markus Uran, who’s doing some really great stuff with his company Metsa. We’re all currently working together on a year-long project called Weekly Crop where we each produce one illustration per week based on common theme. It’s been a really awesome and motivating experience.

Cat or dog?
Dog for sure! My wife and I just adopted a puppy named Paul.

What is the best part of your work?
Over the last few years I’ve moved from working at an agency to freelancing and starting up Datsu. I think the best part of my work is that I get to work for my self in a variety of different disciplines including graphic design, illustration and product design.

If you were a character from a cartoon, which one would you be? :)
I think being one of the ninja turtles would be pretty awesome! They just skateboard, eat pizza and keep bad guys off the streets.

If you could do any other job what would you choose and why?
If I could, I would love to be in a band. It’s a pretty cliché answer, but I’ve always loved playing the drums and I think it would be amazing to tour and record for a living.

Where could we find you on friday night?
My wife and I love to host people at our place often for dinner, but you can also find me out at a concert or grabbing a drink with friends at a local bar.

Pepsi or Coke?

Favorite blogs/sites etc.?
I’ve been really into recently. They’ve got an awesome web shop and blog with lots of really interesting content.

How would you define your personal work-life balance in terms of ratio (50/50 70/30 etc)?
It’s really hard to say. My work comes in waves so when I have a lot of projects on the go, or have a deadline work definitely takes up a lot of my time, but once that’s over, I get to enjoy a couple weeks off where I can really just hang out and enjoy my free time. With that said, I always make time at the end of the day to hang with my wife and puppy, it’s what keeps me sane at the end of crazy day!

What brings you joy? 
Spending time with family and friends, traveling and skateboarding. 


For more info about Kellen's work, please visit his site to blog. Thank you very much for you answers, all the best in future projects.

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