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Akane Malbeni

Akane Malbeni

Meet illustrator from Tokyo, Akane Malbeni

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’d like to describe what I draw as “strange things that happen in ordinary apartments”. I graduated from the University of Tokyo and became an editor in a publishing company while continuing to draw as a hobby. My work appears on social media, I also publish zines, and take on some client work while working on my full-time job for the last couple of years.

 

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

I was born in Okinawa, the southernmost island in Japan but I currently live in Tokyo. I still feel Tokyo as a radiant and attractive place even after 10 years has passed since I moved in. It always gives me great inspirations with its myths, fashion, and technologies.

 

I still feel Tokyo as a radiant and attractive place even after 10 years has passed since I moved in. It always gives me great inspirations with its myths, fashion, and technologies.

 

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

Best: Many people and things gather in a tiny area

Worst: Too many people and things gather in a tiny area

 

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

Futuristic, Retrospective, and Contemporary

 

How did you start your career in art?

I never thought that I get to draw as a professional since I didn’t have the educational background or connections in the industry. I only enjoyed drawing as my most important hobby. Unexpectedly, however, some clients contacted me when they saw my works on socials or read my zines. That’s was the beginning.

 

I never thought that I get to draw as a professional since I didn’t have the educational background or connection in the industry. I only enjoyed drawing as my most important hobby. Unexpectedly however, some clients contacted me when they saw my works on socials or read my zines. That’s was the beginning.

 

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

For a long time, I hid my art activities from anyone around me. I thought it was embarrassing that I still drew my fantasies like a teenage wannabe. But while I started to put my works on socials, strangers appreciated them and supported me a lot. Today I know nobody laughs at me drawing manga.

 

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

I wish I could express my themes more deeply. I always draw fantasy situations but my creations start not from fiction but from depicting daily life. I want to reflect more feelings or thoughts when we face real matters in daily life.

 

I want to reflect more feelings or thoughts when we face real matters in daily life.

 

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

I want to draw a Google Doodle (Not a person though)…

How could it be possible!?!?

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Women around me are too varying to put in one word. Regardless of whether the person creates things or not, everyone is great just trying to survive this situation.

 

Women around me are too varying to put in one word. Regardless of whether the person creates things or not, everyone is great just trying to survive this situation.

 

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

I always look up some manga artists who mostly originated from the genre of BL (e.g. Fumi Yoshinaga, Tomoko Yamashita, Haruko Ichikawa). They seriously focus on unique but relatable feelings surrounding our elusive genders and changes in relationships.

 

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

There is still much sexual discrimination in Japan. I got involved in a lot of unfairness and harassment while I have worked in some industries. I’ll express my experience with manga in the future.

 

Continue to draw and put out your works to the world, persistence raises you up.

 

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

It is great enough if you continue to make your own art while living your daily life. Achievement is not everything. Don’t hate what you created. Continue to draw and put out your works to the world, persistence raises you up.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Akane Malbeni

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