When I first met the illustrator Izumi Shiokawa, I was already impressed by how she was climbing up an almost 2-meter-tall ladder without a second thought. It was such a contrast seeing this small girl drawing on the glass facade at such a height. “ In my first visit to Hong Kong, I found it a bustling city. It was so fascinating to see there were either parks or trees right next to every skyscraper. This is the impression I would like to recreate in my illustration for the IDÉE area in MUJI store.” Shiokawa said the glass facade was a canvas where she could draw the adorable birds and trees, creating an interesting contrast to the buzzing traffic on the streets outside. The very regular space has then turned into a joyful playground with a homy tone.
Shiokawa only illustrates what she is fond of, such as animals, plants or human. The dynamics and sentiments in their purest forms are very often captured by the most simple lines. “Even if you are only drawing a simple line, it can still reflect a particular emotion such as excitement or tranquility. If you can grasp the balance between the line and white space, even a simple line can become a piece of work.” So it is not what is being drawn that counts, sometimes it is the space left in between that speaks volume. “The empty space leaves people lots of imagination. The use of only black and white colors serves the same purpose by letting viewers apply their own colors in their minds.” Such approach echoes traditional Chinese painting where the white space is really by design to inspire the viewers to think and imagine. “I think my art can blend into people’s lives in a very casual way and help people to explore the impossible and beautiful aspects of everyday life.” Shiokawa’s illustrations are delivered in a fun and cheerful manner, portraying fundamental purity that reminds one of natural beauty.
Shiokawa’s drawings exist just like a piece of homeware, such as a wardrobe, a plant or even a cup. The illustrations are so easy to approach and so easily blend into our day-to-day life. “Work and life are inseparable. To me, art is the extension of daily life. To discover new possibilities and fun in life is also a form of art.” Similar to language, illustrations are also a medium of communication. “I am planning to learn Spanish, thinking a new language and culture will stimulate our way of thinking. After having acquired a new language, you may have a brand new experience with every little thing you see in this world.”