Saturday, January 18, 2014

WCG's Spotlight

Interview: Shigetomo Of MGX Factory

Shigetomo is a Japanese illustrator and designer, residing in Osaka, Japan. He likes to collect inspiration for his illustrations from Facebook and also collects vintage pictures books. In his drawn world, he creates big, alien eyed girls called Monster Girls with frowns on their faces, accompanied with cats or rabbits also with frowns and angry looking eyes. His colour scheme is centered on pastels and also polka dots he also takes inspiration from cats, rabbits, and mushrooms.
 He was inspired by graffiti design and typography. Shigetomo also has a café, inspired by East Germany.  He has created prints and also clothes with his work on them for sale. His design products range from t shirts, bags, prints for soap dispensers, and even has an iPhone app available to Japanese iPhone holders. He and his wife also design dolls, both having different from each other. He enjoys solo rides on his bike.

Book spotlight in a British book


Lisha: Good evening,  Shigetomo. It has been a while since we have talked. I have some (interview) questions for you if you have some time.
Shigetomo: Good evening!
L: I would like to know your inspiration for your works.
S: What sort of inspiration do you want to talk about?
L: Any type of inspiration from you is fine. Art, books, anything.
S: You mean, that… What I got inspiration from? I got it from old picture books and young fashion. And cat and rabbit, etc.
MGX shirt
L: Cat and rabbit? I don’t know if I know of them… (thinking they were specific characters or not) Real animals? (Your animals) look like cute stuffed animal toys.
S: Yes, real cats and rabbits. They are adorable! A lot of ideas come when I see them!
L: That’s interesting! Your drawn girls look kind of like the cats too. What do you think about Graffiti style? Some of your old art has a bit of the same feeling to it. Was it your inspiration before?
S: Graffiti is an interesting art that tested all kinds of typographies.
L: I think the world needs a bit of Monster Girl Graffiti in it! Who are some of your favorite artists?
S: Anime, Sci fi movies, Manga… I watched a lot of them. I like Evelin, Mark Ryden, Rita Ackermann and more. I like old European picture books. Especially Kuhn, Werner, and Klemke.
L: Thank you for the list! I like Rita’s work! Why are the girls “Monster Girls”?
S: Monster Girls are mysterious, strange emotion girls. Just look like they are mad or upset. Also, Monster Girls are made from mushrooms. They are mushroom people.
L: Interesting! I didn't know they were from mushrooms. So, What do you do when you do not feel very
creative? And were there any mentors for you, or do you have one now?
S:  I like mushrooms. I will read a book of mushrooms and fungi when ideas do not come to me. When you are in a café talking to friends is also a good idea to have ideas come to me.
I currently do not have a mentor. Before, I worked at a graphic design firm, but illustration was self taught.
L: Thank you for the interview! I really appreciate it!

You can also download the Monster Girl messenger app for your Android phone to send a cute note to a friend!

Originally published for Columbia College Chicago, Winter 2013

 (Thank you to Hidenori Onishi for helping with the translation.
Photos courtesy of MGX and Yamamoto Shigetomo)

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