Instagram: @mako_illust Website: http://mako-illust.boo.jp
1. What's your story? Where are you fromHi, I’m Mako, from Saitama (which is next to Tokyo), Japan. I moved to the U.S.A. when I was 14 because of my father’s job, then moved to Barcelona, Spain and spend my high school life there. While I lived abroad, I was really encouraged by Japanese films and inspired especially by the film director Shinya Tsukamoto, so I decided to study film making in Japan. I love drawing ever since I was little, I attended AP art class at high school and people always gave me lovely comments about my art works, but I never seriously thought becoming an artist / illustrator is such a thing for my life because you know, there are so many great artists and I wasn’t confident about myself. Unlike drawing, filmmaking is something that you make not just by yourself but with somebody else. I thought that could be reassuring. (Which was WRONG, more people get involved, more responsibility to what you create… well, I was young). Anyway, I took a directing course and really enjoyed learning at the college, so after I graduated I worked as a production manager at the TV commercial production that also makes films. I worked there for about 4 years, it was a hard job but I loved it. However, as I interacted with creators, I started to realize I probably have been running away from what I really wanted to do for my life; becoming an artist. I left the production in 2017. I am a freelance manager of the film directors and staff now whilst making art works as an illustrator.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.Warm and bit sad atmosphere, vivid colors, and facial expressions. My works are fully digitally drawn but I try to leave hand drawn texture as much as I can. I also try to show feelings in the eyes.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?As I answered, all my art works are done digitally. I draw on an iPad using Procreate, and pencil brush is my favorite. It’s easy to fix, change colors, redo, easy to carry around and most importantly you don’t need to clean up when you are done! I have a 2 years old daughter and she creates all the messes at home every minute and I’m done with cleaning up. So I appreciate the merits of the iPad a lot.
4. What is your artistic process like?I don’t do rough drafts most of the time except for client work. For personal works, thinking too much about what I draw makes me confused so I just start to draw on an iPad and figure it out. (Yes, another good thing about digital work.). For client works, I mostly start with research about the motif until I get inspired. I draw a rough sketch with lines first. Once I know the picture, I choose colors to draw with and make a new pallet. I separate multiple layers for each color almost like silk screen printing or woodblock printing. I don’t do tricky things that often, try to keep layers minimum and simple as I can. I would add some textures in the end.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?JooHee Yoon, Irene Rinaldi, Asahi Nagata, Machiko Miroko, Kiyoshi Saito, Picasso, Dali, and ancient Egyptian art works and sculptures are also inspiring. I also get inspired by movies and TV series. When I am stuck, Pinterest always gives me some hints. Thanks to amazing artists.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?I would say that art is a lifetime long exercise that I have to do to become how I want to be. I haven’t drawn anything for 4 years while I worked at the TV commercial production. When I started to draw again, I couldn’t draw how I intended to at all. It was really shocking to me. So I practiced and practiced over and over, drawing everyday trying to remember how I used to draw and figure out my style so that I can be confident about myself. If I stop working on it, I feel like I might stop growing as a person. I now see so many talented artists in the world on the web, packages, books and so on, and I’m sure they all keep working on their pieces everyday to provide what people appreciate. I came to realize that their effort makes our world abundant.
7. Where did you study?I went to the art collage in Tokyo but as I mentioned, I took a filmmaking course so I never really studied drawing academically. I study on my own by looking at many great arts on the internet, reading art study books, and visiting galleries.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?Hopefully, I will be doing more client work in the publishing industry, like illustrating children books and book cover art. I think I should do solo exhibitions more often by this time, like once a year. I hope to work with foreign clients as well.
9. What about in ten?Well, I would love to work with big clients such as STARBUCKS. They sell cute original mugs in Japan and I dream of my illustration being on them. I want to draw posters and window decorations for seasonal events at department stores or restaurants. I hope I do solo exhibitions every two or three years at this point.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?I want my art to be something that supports you in your daily life. Having something or looking at something you like gives you energy. It’s ridiculously simple, but the truth. When you are hurt, lonely, sad, I want my art to be beside you and comfort you. When you are happy, cheerful, joyful, I want to help you spread that positive energy surrounding you by my art.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?I love Thai food. I looove Som tam. I think I can eat it for all 3 meals in a day.
12. Favourite book?I read comic books a lot (Super Japanese). My favorite comic artists are: *Akino Kondo *Machiko Kyo *Yama Wayama *Kyosuke Usuta *Junji Ito *Rumiko Takahashi …ok I think I should stop here.
13. Favourite genre of music?I like folk music but I listen to whatever my music app recommends.
14. What are your hobbies?Watching movies, playing tennis, hiking mountains that aren’t too hard, and camping.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?I guess I would be a producer at the TV commercial company where I used to work at, though I don’t wanna work too late every night anymore, hahaha. I love to work with people so I really miss it honestly. If I can be anything I wanna be a police officer who solves murder cases. I think I watch too many suspense series on Netflix. Wow, I sound like I love tough jobs!