An Interview With Manga Artist Junko Mizuno
Date: 2014 October 16th Thursday [16:03] | Posted By: Joe
Renowned manga artist Junko Mizuno is jetting over to the UK. She'll be here to attend Comica Festival and Lakes International Comic Art Festival. She'll also be visiting London to give an exclusive talk. Art gallery Atomica will be exhibiting and selling her original works in London.
Just before jetting off from the United States to the UK we were lucky enough to catch up with her for an exclusive interview.
This interview was conducted over e-mail on Wednesday 15th October 2014.
Your style is very distinctive. It's stands out and it's different from other styles. Have you always drawn in this gothic kawaii style or did it slowly evolve? At what point did your artwork become as distinctive as it is known now?
Thank you! My style is a natural reflection of myself and it has evolved with my life.
As a child, I was surrounded by the so-called "kawaii" Japanese culture and was influenced by it, but as I grew older, I learned a lot of different kinds of art from different places and different times. So it's a mix of many, many different things I've experienced and absorbed in my life. Some people thought that my art was a mix of cuteness and grotesqueness and they started calling it gothic kawaii style, but it's not that simple. I don't think the term describes my art very well. I and my art keep growing and changing so I think there is no need to label it with a certain name.
We know you're a big toy fan. Recently you collaborated with Hasbro to produce a special edition My Little Pony. Is there any other toys or products you'd love to make?
I've slowed down in collecting toys but I still love checking out toy stores. I've always liked dolls with their worlds behind them such as Strawberry Shortcakes, Polly Pocket or Liddle Kiddles that come with their houses or play sets. It would be fun if I could make my own version of it in the future.
Your art often has subtle signature designs such as distinct floral patterns, what is your influence for these design elements?
Difficult question... I get influences from so many different things. As for floral patterns, sometimes I use art books as reference, sometimes I come up with new designs when I see real flowers on the streets or some patterns on random clothes at stores. Anything can be inspiring for me so it's difficult to tell you certain things that influence me.
We also know you like cats, if you could have a cat, what breed of cat would you have?
I like any kinds of cats! But I like to look at the photos of Scottish Fold and Exotic Shorthair cats lately. They look like the cats I draw. But actually, I'm getting to think maybe it's better for me to have a dog now... because I can picture myself sleeping and playing all day with a cat, not working or going outside at all... A dog will probably help me get more active.
How do you pick the kawaii colour pallets you use?
I was always into pastel colors as a child. I preferred Little Twin Stars to Hello Kitty because of the softer colors. I remember I was trying to reproduce the colors of the American food advertisements from the '50s when I first started using acrylic paint. But I also love the psychedelic art from the ‘70s with crazy vivid colors, subtle dark colors used in some old religious art etc. So just like the way I design, I pick my colors from many, many different things.
What message would you send out to aspiring artists?
Be curious about anything, try to see things in different ways and have fun creating!
Thank you for your time Junko and giving such excellent answers to our questions
Otaku News would like to thank Junko Mizuno for agreeing to the interview and giving such great answers to our questions. We'd also like to thank the good people at the Comica Festival for arranging the interview.
As we've mentioned before Junko Mizuno will be giving an exclusive talk for Comica in London at Foyles at Charing Cross Road on Wednesday 22nd October 2014.
There will also be the first ever selling exhibition of her originals, prints and other items in London. Which will run at Atomica Gallery, 29 Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AP from October 20th to 28th as part of Comica Festival. With thanks to GB Sasakawa Foundation, Brewery Arts Centre Kendal, and Lakes International Comic Art Festival from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th October 2014.