Thursday, 28 December 2017

West elm Kingston store

I wanted to write about West elm before the new year. This was one of the exciting thing that happened this year! Few of my products from my online shop is now stored and available to buy in west elm Kingston store.

West elm is an American furniture and interior store and they also have a programme called west elm LOCAL which is a programme to connect the local makers and the community together in their each store location. The artists are working locally and using locally sourced materials to make the products. I think this is a brilliant way to bring the people and artists together and make each store unique. It was my first wholesale experience and I have learnt a lot from this project.

My stocked items at the store are linocut prints of London icons, 2018 London calendar, map of London poster, set of London postcards and Thames river greeting cards.

Unfortunately I had already left UK for the store opening (which was on 8th December) but so many of my friends were sending me photos of the store with my items. Thank you so much!! And this could not have happened without the help of 2 friends who kindly helped me with the packaging and the delivery of the products to the store. Thank you so much!! xx

Although I was in the amidst of all the packing and sorting out for the move to Japan, it was worth the hustle of getting all my products ready, printed and partially packaged and doing all the product administration. I really want to see the store myself when I get back to London.

年が明けてしまう前に、今年の大きな仕事の話を上げておきたくて書いています。West elm Kingstonへの作品出店は、私にとって今年の大きなニュースのうちの一つとなりました。 オンラインショップで扱っていた商品のいくつかが、今月からキングストンにあるwest elmのお店で購入できます。

west elmはアメリカ全国で展開している、おしゃれな家具とインテリアのお店です。その中でも、west elm LOCALという地域密着型プロジェクトが行われていて、店舗ごとにその地域で活躍するアーティストの作品をお店で取り扱い、地域の皆さんを作品と繋ぐプロジェクトをやっています。アーティストはその店舗地域で活動し、作品に使う材料もその地域、または国で揃えたものを使ってのものづくりということが前提です。私は今回、イギリスでのwest elm2店舗目となる、キングストン店舗でそのプログラムに参加させていただくことになりました。お店で商品を扱ってもらうというのは、初めての経験で、今回色々と学ばせていただきました。




To b. by agnès b. Premium Schedule Kit Book

2017 has only 3days left. Did you get your 2018 diary already? This year I have worked on an illustrated Paris map to go in inside the 2018 diary by To b. by agnès b. published by Takarajimasha publishing.

This was a relatively quick job not as short as some of the jobs I had to do in the past. 1 week for rough and another week to finish the final. Although I had 2 weeks I had to deal with time difference of 8 hours between UK and Japan. That meant I had to hand in the work a day early.

I really enjoyed illustrating the map. This was a job I had to think about the balance with text that goes in later on. So when I saw the final product I was really happy how illustration and the text fit nicely. I finally got to see the final product when I arrived in Japan in November.

2017年も残すことあと3日となりました。もう2018年の手帳は買いましたか?私は今年、宝島社出版のTo b. by agnès b. Premium Schedule Kit Book 2018年手帳の最後に入る、パリのイラストの地図を描く機会をいただきました。


Friday, 8 December 2017

Starting a life in Japan

A LOT has happened since my last post. I'm writing this post in Japan, sitting on a little sofa with my husband next to me in this little town where I grew up about 2 hours train ride from Tokyo.

It's funny because I'm taking TEFL English teaching course online and it describes the feeling of arriving in a new country: you are in the tourist/honeymoon phase first, excited about all the new things around you then comes negotiation phase or irritation-to-anger phase where everything you were used to does not seem to happen in the country. After few months you start to realize the customs of the country and you will get along and settle in. ( or some case you absolutely hate it and go back.) I've pretty much done that up to the irritation-to-anger phase. Things are starting to get a little easier.

I left Japan when I was 15 years old to study abroad. Pretty much never LIVED in Japan since then. So coming back after many years and trying to live here is proven to be not easy at all.

I'm hoping for a positive outcome from this crazy move. I want to show my husband this beautiful Japan's nature throughout the year and get some inspiration from here for my future work. I'm also looking forward to spending some time with my family after many years of being away.
This was a bit different from my usual post but thought I would update what I'm up to.





Photos show some highlights so far.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Grow your own and see...

I have recently completed this illustration inspired by my own vegetable garden at home.

Growing up in a countryside in Japan, my family had grown rice and we had enough to feed us for a whole year. So we never had to buy rice from shops for a long time until we let go of the field. We still have a little patch to grow vegetables and my mum grows parsley and shiso herbs in flower pots. 

Until I started growing vegetables myself, I had never really paid attentions to how many creatures I could attract to the vegetable garden.  Yes, there are fox and squirrels in London but you don't really see them this close in the open.
Before moving,  I was growing basils in a flower pot just outside my front door. One day I was plucking some leaves from the pot and I felt some presence behind me. When I turned around I saw a fox sneaking up on me. I quickly walked inside the flat but I could see that the fox was attracted to the beautiful smell of basil through frosted glass. It stayed there for a while. 

You can never relax with strawberries and blueberries. That squirrel is always back when you are not looking, or even, when you are looking. Yes I think I know your face by now! You are so bold and look right at me while you munch on my strawberry. 

Bees love lavenders and borages. Even though I am very scared of them, they are generally good. I am happy if I am contributing to their honey collection a little.
I have also spotted 8 magpies in the garden. I think they are a family. I even saw them trick up a pigeon to take some fruits themselves.  

I think I spend far too much time observing these little creatures but they all have personality of their own and sometimes amusing. Now all I need is Sun this summer so that I can finally eat red tomatoes. 

Sketching out the idea





蜂は正直苦手なのですが、ラベンダーやボレッジの花の蜜を食べによく来ます。少しでもハチミツのもとになっているのなら、良いかな。野菜の受粉もしてくれるし、なによりこのクマみたいなふわふわのBumble beeがかわいいです。マグパイという鳥(カササギ)もよく来るのですが、この間8匹も同時に庭にいるのを見かけました。たぶんみんな家族だと思うのですが。鳩を騙して、自分たちだけで果物を独り占めしてるのも目撃。


Friday, 14 July 2017

Local hero cafe mural work

I have worked on rather large scale canvases in the last month.
I was asked to recreate the takeout cup design I did for Local hero cafe 3 years ago onto their walls.

This was my original design for the paper cups. The brief was fairly open. The owner wanted a cyclist holding coffee with fume coming out. So I came up with the sketch of the cyclist passing London scene and everyone turning around for the aroma of coffee. Local hero cafes are located in Kingston and Fulham (both within London) so I included the iconic cityscapes and the Richmond and Bushy park deer as this would tie in nicely with both cafe location. I then added latte art as trees in the scene.

I have taken some photos of how the mural was done. (Please excuse me for amateurish video! I was experimenting with time-lapse setting and the camera wasn't set still...😅   )

At first I was little scared to make the mark on such a big canvas but as soon as I started I really enjoy having such a massive space to draw freely! I have also discovered new materials for mural jobs.




Local hero serves hot breakfast and freshly made daily salad and serves nice coffee. Come and see the mural in Kingston and Fulham store and enjoy a nice cup of drink.

Local hero カフェのキングストン、フルハム店と二つとも描きましたので、お近くにお寄りの方は是非訪れてみてください。イングリッシュブレックファーストや日替わりのサラダなど、おいしいコーヒーも飲めるおすすめのカフェです。

Monday, 12 June 2017

Business card and logo design

About one and a half month ago, I had been asked to design a business card and a logo for a flower artist and my friend, Yoco.

des bisous Logo design

She creates chic wreath and flower & candle decorations/arrangements. She takes custom orders to create unique and beautiful arrangements just for you.
Below is the finished design for the business card. Her trademark is the bob-cut hair style and red lipsticks.


Below is the design we did not end up using but we both liked. The wreath that Yoco made for me for New Year's decoration. 


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Sounds of the City

I was very happy and literally jumping around when I found out my illustration for the joint AOI and TFL competition, "Sounds of the city" was shortlisted.
The exhibition is now opened at London Transport Museum.

When I heard the theme for the competition - "Sounds of the city" my thoughts went for the Ronnie Scotts jazz bar. ( I have been there couple of times and love it! The ambience and the gigs are great and the cocktails!) I also remembered being mesmerised by seeing red lanterns decorating the whole street in China town around Chinese new year. So they were really the starting point for my illustration "Interconnected city." Then there's sounds of busy Southbank scene in the summer, Prom of Royal Albert Hall.
I also started this piece few months after referendum - Brexit was announced. I wanted to show how London is a diverse city and different cultures are co-existing and interconnected.

Above is a sketch of the illustration. 

You can follow how I made the illustrations in steps in my instagram.

"Sounds of the City" exhibition from 19th May to 3rd September
Place : London Transport Museum

Finished illustration poster

5月19日から私のイラストレーション、「Interconnected City」がロンドンの交通博物館(London Transport Museum)で展示されています。今年の頭、AOIからコンペ『Sounds of the City』の入選が決まったと連絡が来たときは、嬉しくて飛び跳ねていました。2000人以上の応募の中から選ばれた100人の入選者は、交通博物館で5月から9月まで、作品を展示することになっています。最優秀賞者は、ロンドンの地下鉄やバス停などにポスターとしてロンドン市内中に作品が発表されるということで、そういった機会を与えてくれるロンドン交通局TFLの主催するコンペに入選できたことはとても嬉しいことです。

コンペのテーマは『Sounds of the City』。街の音。と聞いたときに、ロンドンで好きなジャズバーRonnie Scottを思い浮かべました。そして、中華街のお正月で見た真っ赤な提灯。「音」ではないけど、ロンドンには色んな場所があって、場所によってカルチャーや集まる人や雰囲気も違うけど、それが共存している街。それがロンドン。ロンドンは私にとって、そういった違う背景を持つ人たちが一緒に過ごせる、そしてそんなお互いを認め合えるし自分が自分でいられる街だと思い、そういった街を表現したいなと描き始めました。サウスバンクの夏の賑やかな感じや、ロイヤル・アルバート・ホールでのプロムも含んだり。


At the private view 

『Sounds of the City』展
【場所】London Transport Museum ロンドン交通博物館