Yuko Shimizu
July 2011
a big personal work.
"how do you find time to work on your personal work?" I get asked this a lot from students.
I don't, and I don't.
I know, this is probably not the answer aspiring illustrators want to hear.
One of the reasons is that luckily, there are enough clients who call me for what I naturally do well, so I have enough jobs where there is a lot of freedom.
And another, and more important reason is, because I want to try out different things. Essentially, I am doing personal work, personal experiment, but it does not need to come out as 'illustrations I do for myself'.

One of the example is creating my own living environment. I had worked on this for last year and half, putting in as much effort, research, work and passion as I do to my illustrations.
Trust me, I used the same idea I use for illustrations: There are compositions, rhythm, color scheme, positive and negative spaces, dense and sparce....

Today, New York Magazine's interior blog SPECE OF THE WEEK featured this big personal work of mine.
When you have a moment, please take a look...

When I moved to New York in the summer of 1999 with a student visa, I had no money other than savings from my previous corporate job, which I needed to live off for the next four years in school. I bought all my basic furniture from a guy who was moving out of a room I was moving into.
I ended up schlepping the furniture around for next ten years, to various apartments all over New York City.

A year and half ago, I finally decided I will move to a "permanent address", and start everything  over again from scratch.
When I moved to my current apartment, I asked my moving truck to stop by to the Salvation Army, and dropped off almost all my furniture off. (except my red  Barcelona chair which I treated myself with after I finished a painfully torturous advertising job a few years back). I didn't even have a mattress, and had to sleep on an ottoman bed in the living room for the first few month. Then I slowly build the apartment to where I really wanted to be.
I am really excited my favorite magazine thought it was worthwhile featuring about.
Big thank you to Wendy Goodman and Leonor Mamanna of New York Magaizne, and everyone who had helped me to make the apartment the way it looks now.

The apartment is stil work in progress. The couch took a year and half of back and forth between Spruce Austin down in Texas. It finally arrived just a few weeks ago. (I had a 'couch arrival party').

Many of the decorating items are bought from etsy, some from ebay, and some are purchased during my many travels to many cities mostly during school visits. I try not to forget to stop by to local antique stores and flea markets. 

Apartment is actually still in progress. The last photo was taken this morning. A friend gave me a beautiful baby rose bouquet for my birthday, and somehow it just turned itself into a perfect dry flower. So, I decided to decorate my vintage birdcage with the roses. Looks eery cool. Well, at least, that's what I think!

San Diego Comic-Con
I am not at Comic-Con.
Many people asked if I was going, including my DC Comics Vertigo editor Karen Berger, with whom I work monthly on covers for their (ahem, bestselling, woo hoo,) series called The Unwritten.
This year, I received my first (hopefully not last...) nomination for Will Eisner Awards in best cover artist category. I am just happy and honored that enough people thought my work deserved a nomination. I don't want to think about wanting to win, which I may feel, if I was in San Diego.
I rather stay in New York, finish up piled up work before heading out to Italy early next month to teach a week long workshop.

BUT, that does not mean I am not present at Comic-Con.
In fact, I am participating in a one night charity auction event curated by Creterion Collection for Japan earthquake relief.
Creterion Collection puts out beautifully packaged collectors edition DVDs with edge, working with many illustrators. I remember dreaming of working with them when I saw a gorgeous package designed by Josh Cochran a few years back.

Eric Skillman of Creterion Collection has curated an auction show of Akira Kurosawa's works interpreted by various illustartors including Josh Cochran and myself. All one of a kind originals.  Proceeds will be donated to Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.

So, if you are at Comic-Con, head out to San Diego Wine and Culinary Center across the street from San Diego Convention Center. Friday July 22, 7PM to 1AM. And Buy art for a good cause!!

A benefit for Japan Relief, presented by The Criterion Collection and Tr!ckster

Tr!ckster is being held at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center,  200 Harbor Drive, San Diego. A Tribute to the Films of Akira Kurosawa," is one night only, Friday July 22, 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

These are DVD packages I worked with Criterion Collection. The Mikado is an opera-film, and Topsy-Turvy is another film about two men who were behind created the opera Mikado. It was fun to work on both covers simultaneously.

Topsy-Turvy, like the title, has the upside down heads of two main characters. It was a tough job to draw both of their portraits on one head and make them look like the actors. Eric helped me a lot with the process. I am happy with the result.
Below are the actors in the film.
my piece is based on Akira Kurosawa's "Donzoko (The Lower Depth)" 11.25' x 14.5" black and red ink on watercolor paper, 2011

Below is the press release

A benefit for Japan Relief, presented by The Criterion Collection and Tr!ckster

TR!CKSTER and The Criterion Collection <>  have joined forces to curate a one-night-only celebration of the works of legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Cited as an inspiration to generations of storytellers, Kurosawa’s films resonate with a singular clarity of vision, and his images last in our minds long after the last frame has played.

This intimate show, curated by Criterion designer Eric Skillman, will feature original pieces by artists from the worlds of comics, animation, and illustration, including: Mike Allred, Scott C., Josh Cochran, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Goodin, Victor Kerlow, Ted Mathot, Scott Morse, Sho Murase, Yuko Shimizu, Bill Presing, Jim Rugg, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Connor Willumsen.  Though the gallery show will be free to enter and enjoy for the general public, all proceeds from sales of these works will be donated to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund. <>
This is a special engagement gallery event, existing for one night only: Friday, July 22, 2011.

Tr!ckster is being held at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, which is a venue across the street from the San Diego Convention Center where Comic-Con is being held. Its address is 200 Harbor Drive, San Diego. Our show, "A Tribute to the Films of Akira Kurosawa," is one night only, Friday July 22, 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM.
Recent Articles
Shimizu is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!
Yuko Shimizu website