“My studio is located on the 3rd floor in a building right by a train station. Since the station is on an elevated railroad, you can see the platform, which is almost level with my studio. There is a steak restaurant on the 1st floor, an Italian bar on the 2nd floor. My studio is coordinated with wooden or iron furniture on wooden flooring and white-painted wall. So the key colors are white, brown, and black. I love antique junk; they are on display on a counter that divides the entrance and our workspace. You can see more photos here.“
Tatsuro Kiuchi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1966. After studying biology at International Christian University in Tokyo, he made the change to an art career, eventually receiving a postgraduate degree at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
He started illustrating children’s books with several publishers in the US and Japan. He then branched out into magazine editorial work, advertising commissions and illustrating book jackets. His first picture book, The Lotus Seed, with text by Sherry Garland (Harcourt Brace & Company), has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide. Kiuchi has been commissioned by such clients as Royal Mail, to do the Christmas Stamp Collection in 2006, and Starbucks, for the Worldwide Holiday Promotion “Pass the Cheer,” in 2007. He now lives in Tokyo, Japan.
FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?
TATSURO KIUCHI: I work on a Macintosh using Photoshop. I draw and paint directly on screen using a Wacom pen tablet. I would occasionally apply textures when all my coloring is done. What is your means of transport to work? I usually walk to my studio, which is about 25 minute walk.
It made me feel that I am connected to the world as a member of the graphic community myself.
FYD: How were you and your extended family affected after the catastrophe at the nuclear power plant?
TK: We’re trying to stay the same on the surface. Nobody in my family and my extended family has had to move south to stay further away from the nuclear reactor in Fukushima. We’re all living in Tokyo. A couple of my illustrator acquaintances had to move further from Tokyo. I gather this information mostly from Twitter. To tell you the truth, we have been debating if we should get out of Tokyo or not. However, at this point, we have decided to stay unless something more devastating happens.
FYD: What changed in your daily routine after the catastrophe?
TK: Here is the list of what has changed:
- We’ve become careful when buying groceries by checking producing areas; although we can’t be perfect about it.
- We buy drinking water. We used to drink tap water.
- We try not to get wet when it’s raining.
- We still have earthquakes pretty often, so we feel very uneasy about the reactor all the time.
- We are kind of getting used to this situation, which is not a good thing at all, but we are trying to carry on as usual.
TK: Sure it did. Although what I can do to help is very little, it made me feel that I am connected to the world as a member of the graphic community myself.
FYD: How can people outside Japan continue to help ?
TK: I think the easiest way to help Japan is to make a donation to the Red Cross. I’m also taking part in a soon to be released charity app project called ‘Art Tails‘. Purchasing this app through iTunes store will certainly be helpful.
I love old things.
FYD: On a much lighter note, how does Japan influence your daily work?
TK: That is a very difficult question. Many things about Japan have influenced my work of course, but I can’t point out which. Maybe it’s the nature; trees, animals, mountains, rivers, and insects.
FYD: When you were in California; were you fond of any authors?
TK: I like Michael Crichton’s work, and I have read many of his novels in English. It’s very sad that we are no longer able to read his new novels.
FYD: Any activities you loved?
TK: I loved to go to flea markets to hunt for antiques. Since I lived in Pasadena at that time, the Rose Bowl flea market was the one I always visited for great finds. I love old things. Now I’m spending a great amount of time on eBay.