japan tsunami relief fundraiser

the saskatoon japanese association would like to announce that we will be fundraising for japan tsunami relief at the saskatoon farmer’s market on saturday march 26th and saturday april 9th.

100% of all donations will go to the japanese red cross. everyone making a donation will be given a small Japanese gift as a sign of our appreciation.

our fundraising booth will be open from 8am to 2pm, march 26th and april 9th, at the farmer’s market, 414 Avenue B south, in saskatoon.  we’ll be giving away japanese gifts such as paper crane, calligraphy and book marks etc.  i’ll be there most of the day.

i designed this poster for this cause in hopes that people will rebuild their lives and dreams with help from society and rise again.  i’d like to thank proprint for kindly printing the posters and the flyers for no charge.

hope to see you tomorrow.

the spotlight on visual art curio

(click image to go to this page)

a saskatoon design company, beagle productions contacted me to be part of their online gallery of saskatoon artists. some of my artist friends here in saskatoon are also on the spotlight. you should check them out. the purpose of this project is to attract visitors to saskatoon. i hope a lot of people will come to saskatoon. saskatoon is booming, you know.

Our Curio

The Spotlight on Visual Art Curio in Beagle Productions showcases Saskatoon’s eclectic collection of artists and their paintings through an in-person display as well as kiosk and web technology. This Curio builds on the growing popularity and success of the Crescent’s art community by providing the opportunity to display these impressive works year round and to a broader audience. Not only does this add value to the cultural community in Saskatoon, but it will also encourage an appreciation for local art, culture and heritage by making it easier for artists to present and the public to find impressive local art.

my interview with design enterprise :: voices

design enterprise voices
(click the image to go to designenterprise.com)

i was interviewed by a malaysian design website called design enterprise. they contacted me back in june, but i had just given birth at the time so it took me awhile to finish answering their detailed questions (33 questions!). it’s good that people ask me a lot of questions because i’m not good at explaining what i do. i tend to avoid talking about it. when people ask me some questions and give me a deadline, it forces me to think about it.

they asked to use photos from my blog. i told them to use whatever images that they would like. i like how they chose images that match colour-wise and composition-wise. i like stylish design people.

anyway, here are my answers ::

DE: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Y : I was born in japan. I currently live in saskatoon, canada. I like drawing and that’s what I do.

DE : Who has been most influential in your progress as an Artist?
Y : Whoever makes me really mad. I don’t really know what is meant by “influence” in this kind of question. I don’t think about what other people are doing, and I don’t really know much about art history or theory. I draw for myself. When someone makes me mad, I draw more.

DE : When did you first think to become an artist?
Y : I’m still not sure… I’ve always had the same mindset about doing what I want to do, because I want to do it. I’ve been drawing off and on since I was a child, but I only started drawing seriously about 3 years ago. My technique has changed a lot, but my ideas are the same.

DE : What would you like to convey through your drawing? What do you want people to feel?
Y : I’m not trying to send a message. I don’t know how people will react to my work. For me, my drawings have contradictions and mixed emotions, so I can’t say anything clear about them. Maybe some people will just want to take a cold shower after looking at my drawings.

DE : What material or tools do you use for your drawings? Do you intend to experiment with other materials or tools in the near future?
Y : I like to use colour pencils, because they are adorable. Anybody can use them if they want to try. At the same time, there are so many things you can do with just pencils – so many possibilities in pencils. Colouring with colour pencils, you have to start with light colours and add in the darkness. That’s the direction i like.

DE : How long is the duration needed for you to produce an artwork from scratch?
Y : It takes me longer when I do more colouring. It only takes me a couple minutes to do the drawing as outlines. Some of my bigger drawings took just a couple hours, some took a few days.

DE : Any kinds of new style are you going to try?
Y : I try to stick with a nonchalant style – accidental drawings. When I try too hard, my drawings are not my best. When a random image comes to mind and i enjoy drawing it, the result is very good. I think because I’m just enjoying the experience of drawing and not trying to come up with a specific result. The more you draw, the easier it is to get trapped in the “working too hard” mode.

DE : Do you sell the printable version or original artwork of yours?
Y : I started selling my work at street fairs and art festivals when i came to Saskatoon. I also opened an online shop in 2006. People from around the world can come to my online shop and buy my prints, original drawings, postcards, and useless toys.

DE : Where do you get your inspiration from?
Y : Images appear in my mind whenever I’m sad, mad, happy, hurt, or sentimental – which happens a lot. I don’t have any tricks to come up with ideas. I spend most of my time lost in my own mind. Ideas just come to me as I’m going through my daily life, even though I can’t see the connection between what I’m doing and those images. As soon as I get an image, I try to draw it right away. I don’t think much about what it means. I just start drawing, paying attention to my technique, the colours, and the facial expressions. What you see in my drawings is what I’ve got in my mind.

DE : Mind to share with us the work that you are most proud of?
Y : It’s a drawing called “my secret elephant”. I wanted to draw the girl’s face looking so peaceful, and it came out exactly how I had it in mind. I love her expression.

DE : Do you involve in any form of collaboration with other designer or artist? If yes, what is it?
Y : No. I’m not good at working with other people.

DE : How long did it take for you to develop your own style? How does it begin?
Y : I didn’t have an “ideal style” in mind when I started drawing. From the beginning, I never drew backgrounds, because I thought they would interfere with the focus on the main figures in my drawing. When you look at someone you really love, you don’t notice the background, anyway.

DE : From your point of view, what is the difference between Japanese design from any other country in the East?
Y : I’m not sure.

DE : Which is your next Asian country’s design you would like to pay more attention?
Y : I don’t know.

DE : Have you come across any talented and bright artist that we should pay attention on him/her?
Y : I like eric bostrom’s work. He has a website : http://diversionmary.com. He uses ballpoint pens like magic – very very beautiful.

DE : What is art to you?
Y : Art is like being a farmer. I’m farming my brain and my heart and my hand to grow something. After that, it’s up to other people to cook it in different recipes and digest it for themselves.

DE : Does your work as an artist affects your lifestyle? How?
Y : It means i can stay at home with my baby and still do the work i want to do.

DE : Are you working on anything special right now?
Y : I’m working on drawings for a group show in portland, oregon.

DE : Are you satisfied with your current achievement?
Y : I don’t know. I like most of my drawings, and I want to keep drawing. I don’t know how I’ll change what I’m doing. New people keep discovering my work online, and whenever I show in a new location. Some of them email me and say my drawings made their day. I think that’s my achievement and I’m very happy about it. I want to show my work to as many people as possible.

DE : What is the biggest satisfaction for an artist?
Y : When people look right into my eyes and tell me how much they love my drawings.

DE : What is your new experience of lives since you have a newcomer?
Y : You mean the baby? Life has been super-terrific with my baby. Everything about it is new for me and everything is interesting, even when I’m tired or it’s difficult.

DE : What is your life purpose?
Y : To become a good person. I mean a really good person, not just nice.

DE : What would be a special treat for you?
Y : Going back to japan with my family.

DE : What is your viewpoint on relationship?
Y : I don’t have a viewpoint. I do believe in love at first sight, because it happened to me.

DE : Are you’re a right-handed or left-handed person? Does it affect your creativity?
Y : I’m right-handed. I wish I had a middle arm. My creativity would be more balanced.

DE : Are you coffee lover or tea lover?
Y : I drink water or milk.

DE : Which country you would like to visit? Why?
Y : I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. I’m saving all my pennies to go there.

DE : How can you make the world a better place to live?
Y : I wish I knew how to answer this.

DE : What cant you live without?
Y : Paul – my husband.

DE : What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
Y : Tuesday – It’s an underrated day…

DE : What books or magazines do you normally read? Why?
Y : I like non fiction. I don’t usually pay attention to reality, so I’m always surprised to find out the truth about something.

DE : From the elements, which are Sky, Tree, River, Sea, Cloud, Mountain and Wing, which best describes you? Why?
Y : I’m a cloud, because I keep changing my mind.

DE : Word of advice to all the artists and designers out there?
Y : Don’t listen to anyone’s advice. Just do what you want.

postcard design for my new show


i’m having postcards and posters made to promote my show, titled “personal”, at the mendel art gallery. the image is my favorite drawing from this show, called “new heartbeat”. i wanted to have this work as the focal point of the show, so it’s displayed in the center of the main wall, with my other drawings in a symmetrical layout surrounding it. the secret of the show is that it’s all about poko-chan, one way or the other. i hope that poko-chan will be happy to see its visualized heart in the gallery.

the postcards and posters will be ready by the end of this week. i’m planning to walk around downtown and broadway this weekend to put up posters and invite people in person to come to the opening. i’ll also be leaving some postcards in shops, so if you find this somewhere please feel free to take it home with you.

the mendel has also invited me to put some of my art prints and postcards up for sale in their gallery shop. i chose a few of the same ones that are available as prints in my online shop, plus i’m also making art prints of “new heartbeat” for the first time. “new heartbeat” will also be added to my online shop, as soon as i have time.

happy 1st anniversary!


(photo: stack of homemade dorayaki, Doraemon‘s favorite snack)

oh, boy… today was absolutely the craziest day. when i woke up in the morning, all i could see was the whole white world. on the weather channel, there was a blizzard warning covering almost all of saskatchewan. the strong wind and the blowing snow completely blocked the view from my apartment window. i couldn’t see across the street.

i spent my afternoon drawing, but i got distracted by the noise of the strong wind so many times that i had to take a break a couple of times. we have some plastic chairs and a patio table on the balcony and they kept getting blown around. they were wild. one of the chairs got blown into the corner of the balcony and kept banging its head against the railing — it looked like self-mutilation.

anyway, this wild canadian weather almost made me forget that it’s a special day here — it’s the 1st anniversary of my blog! my very first post was one of my loud silence photos. for that first month, the only people who knew about my blog were me and paul :D i didn’t tell anyone about it until february, around the time i was setting up my solo drawing show. at that point, i was getting about 20 visitors per day (now it’s 250, average).

i’ve had so much fun with this blog for one year. i’ve met lots of interesting and nice people — thank you to those of you who leave comments or wrote to me using my contact page. some days were really exciting here, like the time that i got linked from metafilter and the site crashed. since then, paul redesigned my blog and i opened my shop and my gallery.

there will be a couple of new things happening in the new year. i’m preparing for a show this spring that i’ll be writing about. there will be some more updates here, including moving to a new server. and i have some personal news that i’ll be blogging about, and showing photos.

so, thank you for coming to visit. let’s have another great year!

russian animation: the things only kids can see

the title is: “Варежка”. it’s a russian soviet animation.

according to farhad2000 from videosift, in russia these type of animations were shown on TV in the evening, so the whole family could watch together. most of the animations were based on fairy tales.

beautiful stories and beautiful colours. if only animations were like this nowadays, they wouldn’t cause pokemon panic. :P

i’m thinking about russia these days because my drawings got linked from a stylish russian design site, omami. from their post i learned how to write “plastique monkey” in russian, using the cyrillic alphabet. welcome to Пластик Манки. i don’t know how to pronounce it.

when i first started this blog, the header image was a different photo of mine, in black and white. the title was written in the “Soviet” font, which makes english writing look like cyrillic. the “O” is especially cool…

Пластик Манки



i found a pretty shop called “paper umbrella” in regina. the owner is very friendly. he sells pretty japanese paper as well as other stylish kitschy items. i bought a tiny japanese notebook made by kokuyo. it’s only 4 x 2 3/4″. of course, i bought a white one :)

among other things, i bought a bag of scrap japanese paper. i don’t make scrapbooks, but i can’t help being attracted by the idea of “scraps” – the useless and unwanted, full of imperfection. they could have been thrown away, but now they are with me. these strips of paper on only about 2-3cm wide. they’re the cutoff ends of bigger sheets of paper. i arranged the strips side by side, and took a photo of them. now they’re on my blog.

in a similar way, i find $1 store items very attractive. most of the stuff sold in dollar stores is, as you know, real junk. but some it is still very attractive to me. these cheap consumer goods weren’t made to be perfect. the workers were probably paid unfairly and had no time to make their products look good at all. but sometimes, their nonchalant efforts make a delicious item. for example, this emergency raincoat. i don’t know why they made this — i don’t even understand the concept of this design. and why is the guy running? but for some reason, this just looked delicious. i had to have it. now it sits on my desk in front of me.

someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure.

CFCR T-shirt design


i did a t-shirt design for a local radio station, CFCR, for their annual on-air fundraiser. from september 16th to 29th, anyone who makes a donation of $75 or more will get a t-shirt designed by me, along with other prizes including cd’s and gift certificates from local merchants. there’s also a fridge magnet with the same design which is available for a smaller donation. to support CFCR, you can call (306)664-6678 or visit them in saskatoon to make a donation.

the theme of this year’s fundraiser is “inside your head”. but for t-shirt, it’s “inside my head”. theo, the station program director, kindly asked me to design the t-shirt. i met theo at my phonographique show back in february, after i dropped off one of my postcards at CFCR to invite the cool people there to come to my show. as you can tell from my drawings, i like to draw the human body taken apart in some way. :) i had a good time coming up with ideas. it was my first time doing a t-shirt design like this (a vector drawing in photoshop), so i had to teach myself. i’m planning to do more t-shirt designs, now that i’ve joined threadless.

the t-shirt comes with a chocolate brown/white image on a baby-blue t-shirt. the magnet is the same image in black and white. i hope people like my design and make a donation to support their community radio station. i’ll be looking out for this t-shirt around saskatoon!

saskatoon community radio station
103 3rd avenue (lower level), saskatoon