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Emi Ozaki

Emi Ozaki

Meet Japanese illustrator, Emi Ozaki.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Hiroshima, Japan. I loved drawing illustrations since I was little. I graduated from a high school where I could learn local art expertise and entered Tama Art University in Tokyo to study graphic design. At that time, my dream was to become an art director in the advertising industry. Therefore, even after graduating from university, I got a job at a personal design office that worked on advertising planning and design. As I continued to work there, I began to have doubts about the work content that restrained my “self”. With a growing desire for self-expression, I decided to turn my love for drawing and illustration into a business, and I quit the company. Currently, I am working as a freelance illustrator. I am very happy.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I live in Tokyo. The reason I wanted to live in Tokyo was because I wanted to get a chance, do a wide range of activities, and meet a wide variety of people. For me, from a local area, I think that Tokyo has all that. I think living in Tokyo is like training for me. My training may continue for a lifetime.

 

With a growing desire for self-expression, I decided to turn my love for drawing and illustration into a business

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing is that it is the tip of Japanese information, and I can feel the flow of the world with sensitivity.

The worst is that there is so much information that it is difficult to determine what is right. Sometimes I don’t know what to do.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Humorous, Exciting, Committed

 

How did you start your career in art?

I talked a bit in the background, but I wanted to express my thoughts completely against the oppressive office work. I’ve been drawing illustrations for a long time, so I decided to start my career as a freelance illustrator, thinking that it would be possible to get accepted at the time. The first year was difficult because there was no work at all, but when I went to do sales in various places, uploaded works on SNS, and continued patiently, it gradually became fruitful.

 

I purposely declared it to everyone so that I could not escape from what I decided.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Thankfully everyone was very supportive. I think it was because I frequently talked about what I wanted to do and my opinions. I purposely declared it to everyone so that I could not escape from what I decided.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

Until now, I have a lot of work on paper and two-dimensional works, so I would like to do work that allows me to approach three-dimensional objects and create spaces. I want to create a space where I can actually experience my worldview by creating everything from walls, furniture, tools in the room, and everything in my expression. Currently, I mainly work as a commercial illustrator, but I would like to expand my activities as an artist and do interesting things.

 

Currently, I mainly work as a commercial illustrator, but I would like to expand my activities as an artist and do interesting things.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Tim Burton! I want to make videos and animations together!

 

How would you describe the women around you?

There are many strong women who have their own intentions and are independent. Very smart. I am also aiming to be such a person. Of course, there are times when it is hard and lonely, but they never break down. I think they are objectively looking at the world and themselves.

 

There are many strong women who have their own intentions and are independent. Very smart. I am also aiming to be such a person.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

There were none or maybe I just didn’t know. I wanted to live in the city from a young age, so my interest was already there. What shocked me at that time was the work of a French contemporary artist “Annette Messager“. I was touched her work at the Roppongi Mori Art Museum when I traveled to Tokyo. Her work was very friendly and sounded as a warning about social issues. I was very attracted to it. I have never seen such a work until then, and my longing for Tokyo has become stronger because I can experience the world I do not know.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

To eliminate the concept of femininity and masculinity. Anyone can freely draw anything. If it is great. If there is something to communicate. I think it can be said outside of art.

Sometimes in Japan, as soon as they know the artist is female,  some people start to see the work and the artist with a sexual eye. I feel angry and discouraged. We don’t need time to spend on those people.

So I may need to be strong to confront it.

 

Your biggest fan is yourself.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

It’s precious and wonderful to have something you want to do and have something to aim for. So first, be confident about that. Your biggest fan is yourself. In the future, you may feel lonely and there may be times when it is difficult, but if you continue, someone will definitely see you. And sometimes take a good rest. I will continue to walk that way too.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Emi Ozaki.

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