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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Sachiko Oguri: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Sachiko Oguri's powerful artworks caught my eye at the recent Middlesex University graduate show. For my colouring book she has produced a wonderfully surreal couple of pages inspired by a Japanese folk tale.

Written by Amelia Gregory

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Sachiko Oguri has contributed a surreal and colourful artork for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Here she talks about studying in the UK, her love of the half-tone technique and her interest in the stories of other cultures.

SACHIKOOGURI
What is it about the half tone technique that you find so appealing?
I have been using the half tone technique since I made one of my artworks, Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack. It is possible to use this technique to adjust the concentration of the colour and unify the look with a few colours, so in my image for the colouring book I used only 5 colours but it looks like I used a lot because of the half tone technique. That is why I like it.

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What subject matter inspires your work?
My work is inspired by traditional cultures and the stories found in novels, legends and fairy tales, amazing locations, food and everyday life. I am especially interested in these daily incidents.

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What kind of animations do you make?
I made 2 animations in the past year. One is Flying Potato (Chips) where a man gets a mysterious potato and flies into the sky. The other is I Am a Cat, based on a famous novel by Soseki Natsume. I made an animation from the final chapter’s last scene where a cat who is a main character and a narrator in the story has some beer and gets drunk. I like to make animations that all generations can enjoy and easily understand the story, and I prefer to animate novels because when you read a novel you probably already imagine the scene; character, location and colour. I like to share my imagination of that story with the viewer, and if it becomes helpful for the viewer when he or she reads the novel, then I am glad.


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What is happening in your colouring book artwork?
In my colouring book artwork, I tried to make an image that does not have stereotypical colouring. I got inspiration from Hyakki Yako, Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, a Japanese folktale. The appearance of the demons is mysterious, funny, lovely, and little bit terrible. Also, of course these demons are imaginary creatures so we do not know the detail of them; what is their form, texture and colour? I enjoyed colouring in the demons because I could decide on their colours, and I hope people who get the colouring book will enjoy colouring them in as much as I did.

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I spotted your work at the graduate shows, can you tell us more about the tale of Urashima Taro picture that I so loved?
I am so glad you like that work! Thank you so much! Urashima Taro is one of my favorite tales from old Japan. When I was a child, my mother often told me fairy tales before sleep. My silkscreen work, Urashima Taro of My Childhood, shows my childhood memories of listening to Urashima Taro and something of my dreams. Once upon a time, there was Urashima Taro and he found a turtle that was attacked by bad children. Taro saved the turtle and the turtle invited Taro to a castle that is built under the sea. There Taro met a beautiful princess, Otohime, and he had an amazing time. After a few days Taro missed his family so he decided to go back to his home. The princess gave him a special box, the Tamatebako, and told him, “Please do not open this box until you miss everything very much.” He went back home but nobody knew him because while he spent a few days under the sea about 300 years had passed in our world above the sea. It made him so sad that he opened the box, but his old age was trapped inside the box and he aged by 300 years… I like this wonderful story because Taro saved a turtle but ultimately he lost everything.

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Why did you decide to study in the UK and how did you chose Middlesex Uni?
Before I studied illustration I was interested in the West because the culture, lifestyle, art and design are so different from in Japan. At that time, some of my friends had already graduated from Middlesex University so they told me a lot about it. For instance they told me that the workshops and other facilities are substantial. And I really enjoyed printmaking because of the facility and fantastic technicians. Also, Middlesex has a firm curriculum content for a university, and the tutors are so nice and friendly. They always gave me a lot of good advice and information and made me excited about my work. I really enjoyed the 3 years I spent there and I feel so sad now because I am going back to Japan…

SACHIKOOGURI_kabukiza
How does it work with Little Door and the Drawn Chorus Collective?
I am a part of Little Door Collective, which is a small group of illustrator friends making zines etc. The members asked me to join after I graduated and I am going to be featured in an up and coming zine. Drawn Chorus Collective invited me to be a contributing guest artist for their alphabet book Easy As, a fully illustrated ABC book with each letter interpreted by a different artist.

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When and where will your upcoming collaborative exhibition be, and what will be featured?
The exhibition for the alphabet book will (hopefully) be at the Light Eye Mind Gallery in early December. The show will feature artwork and reproductions of the spreads from the book. We’ll be launching a Kickstarter to fund the printing in October and we’ll be selling the book through our website.

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Where are you living now and what do you hope for your future career in illustration?
I am living in London now but I will go back to my home town of Tokyo in Japan this November. So, I will be a Tokyo based illustrator. In the past 3 years, I have noticed that I like illustration that looks lovely but has a strong and heavy meaning; my artwork Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack is about the first bioterrorism in the world, and I think it is successful in expressing this idea. Also, I like to make works that all generations can enjoy. I want to be an illustrator who works on these ideas and I hope I will be able to show my art not only in Japan but also in other countries!

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It’s been fascinating to hear about the world of Sachiko Oguri. You will be able to secure your own copy of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion very soon when I launch my Kickstarter campaign. Stay tuned!

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