Lovely interview with Yuko Shimizu

This interview from young Colombian illustrator, Tatiana Córdoba with that lovely Yuko Shimizu sez keep going:

‘I went to the MFA program at School of Visual Arts and Marchall Arisman, who’s the head of the department, used to say always that word [voice] and I think that’s an appropriate word for it. So things look in certain way because of who you really are, my work looks Japanese, I can’t help it, I’m not doing it superficially to make my work looks Japanese, it just happen to be that way for my background, but if someone call me and says, “I need an illustration of Mesopotamia”, I can do some research and make some images that evokes the mood of Mesopotamia, although it might still have the touch of Japan because I can’t erase that and it is not limiting me. If something limits you, if it is something superficial that you can easily change, I think that’s style. However, something that comes more for inner self is personal voice. And what is the best way to approach it? It is very difficult question, but often people start worrying too much about style too early, like: “What do you think, I mean, I have all these different styles, which one do you think fit me the best?” And ok, you know all of these are good but how many of each have you done? If you only have five or ten and is not enough, you’re not having conversation with yourself enough, I don’t know how much is enough, but is like 10.000 hours you have to put in. I think Malcolm Gladwell said it was 10.000 hours. You know Malcolm Gladwell? you should look him up, but Malcolm Gladwell is a really good writer, not a fiction writer, he writes some really great nonfiction books to help you, not self-help but to help you to think differently, I don’t know in which book he says that, but he says something like it takes 10.000 hours to be good at anything, I mean, to reach the master level, if you want to accomplished something, you need 10.000 hours and I believe it, but if you’ve only done five pictures or ten pictures and ask yourself “what is my style?” I can’t told you which one is good, but maybe you just need to keep doing it more and see how it feels, what feels more comfortable and see how which one evolves, because you have to naturally let it evolve, and then you should think about what do you like, what you don’t like. I use to make my fourth year college students make a list of their influences but specifically not from the field they want to get into, and then I ask them how they influenced them, I think it’s maybe a good start to think what exactly influenced you, What do you love, why do you love it, what do you hate it, why do you hate it and that’s a good way to start.’


2 responses

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, thought provoking and definitely resonates with me. It took me quite a long time to be able to answer what things inspire me. For me personally it’s everything I love, feel and absorb through life. I love the paint and draw, which to me is balancing my emotional and logic sides. I create with my soul. Apart from Manga artwork the only other artist that truly inspired me was M.C Escher, a man who I’d say defies reason 🙂 I’ll definitely be checking out Malcolm Gladwell!

    • This is wonderful to hear – I’m always so impressed by people openly discussing what creating art means for them, it’s a skill I haven’t quite developed, and it’s an important one: to understand yourself why you draw, or paint, or whatever medium you work in; but also to share that with others, spreading around the sense of freedom of expression. I’ll get this blog back up and running today – thanks so much for your comment Kelly, it was a good nudge reminding me that this space existed.

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