Yuko Michishita is a self described hair obsessive, braided hair in particular. This immediately established my respect for her, which only grew and grew once I discovered she has illustrated for Fleet Foxes, has an interest in traditional costume and almost entirely draws in pencil. Yes, we are destined to be friends.
Fresh off the acclaimed Illustration BA at Brighton University, Yuko is working freelance in that creative hub of a city by the sea and sources most of her inspiration from ‘tribes engaged in traditionally womanly activities such as weaving and embroidering’, in particular the indigenous tribes of Asia from which her heritage hails.
The way Yuko describes her work processes makes it sound like drawing is almost an impulse, something she cannot help but do, as if she would implode if she didn’t. I found it hard to believe the images she creates are current art, as the folklore type aesthetic uses what is, in my mind, a very understated palette and composition, uncomplicated figures carrying out traditional tasks. We had a quick chat about Murikami, dating and guilty cheesecake pleasures. A girl after my own heart indeed.
Hi, how are you today?
I’m good thanks.
What have you been up to lately?
A lot of sitting on the beach and reading. I’ve just finished reading Haruki Murakami’s new book 1Q84, which was so so so good that it made me want to read his books again. So at the moment I’m reading Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
Which artists or illustrators do you most admire?
If we visited you in your home town, where would you take us?
I would firstly take you to Cine-Twin which is a tiny independent cinema in which I spent most of my high school life in and watch whatever is on. They always have a good selection of films. Then we’d go to Libro which is a really good book shop and browse there until we get sick of looking at books. Later we’d go to Blue Flat Cafe and have salmon and avocado on rice and an after meal cappuccino.
Wow this is like my ideal date! I wish you were a nice man preferably with curly hair…
Who would most love to collaborate with creatively?
I can’t say who exactly but someone who does non-illustration things I guess. I collaborated with my friend graphic designer Richard Carey last year on a vinyl cover project and it was so much fun and final piece was something I could never create on my own! So I’d love to collaborate with graphic designers/photographers/sculptors etc to see how we could develop our work together and create something we have never created before.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
Working in a cafe most likely.
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
Somewhere that keeps me happy. Somewhere nice.
What advice would you give up and coming artists?
I want to receive advice not giving! … sharpen your senses and see your strength, maybe?
How would you describe your art in five words?
Meticulous on the ridiculous level. (5 words just! Well done me!!)
What is your guilty pleasure?
Waitrose cheese cake.
Oh my, me too! Tell us something about Yuko Michishita that we didn’t know already.
I have an acute sense of smell.
What are you up to next?
I’m just starting up as a freelance illustrator so I’ll be trying to get commissions as well as doing my personal work. It’s not the best timing to graduate because of this credit crunch thing, but I’ll have to do my best and get the most out of what I’ve got!
What wise words indeed.
- Duke Press Launch – One of a Kind
- Making Great Illustration, by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies: Book Review
- King of zines.
- The School of Life open day
- Zine Fest