100 Ink Illustrations
A 140-page digital art book exploring the themes of femininity, ethnicity
and the metaphysical self in Tokyo, Japan.
January 2018 - I decided I’d fly to Japan, I wanted to live there and experience daily life. So I enrolled in a language school and moved to Setagaya, Tokyo for 6 months. Girls100 began as observational drawings of people I’d seen, cultural differences experienced and emotions felt. But it means much more than a collection of drawings. I left America to find a place for the kind of art I wanted to make.
As an Asian artist in the western world, my artwork is always seen with the context of myself being Asian. The stylistic choices I make are categorized as ‘anime’ or ‘manga’ and are recognized easily as such. However, when I was drawing in Japan this year, I found that since everyone is by default Asian, my artwork was seen without that initial context. I felt like the actions and emotions I wanted to communicate were seen through a thinner scope - maybe bringing the story elements of each drawing closer to the viewer. In that same mindset, I set out to create this body of work from the weekly sketches I had amassed. Focusing purely on people doing things, feeling things and being, the way they are.
The work presented in this volume represent not only my artist self but my female self as well. Compared to living in America and Canada, I had felt differences as a woman in the east. There, women have a lot of access to feminine styled goods and find comfort in the vast array of cute products and services. There, women have sectioned spaces on a packed rush hour train. There, women are protected and regarded with a soft pink lens. But it’s exactly because of this specific view of women that exist in Japan that made me think about my own differences growing up in the west. So I chose to document the kinds of differences observed to share in this book. From the feeling of always having to wear makeup outside to the usage of a sun umbrella during summer, I hope to share with you all the interesting aspects of a woman’s life in Tokyo from my brief time spent there.
At the end of my journey, my tiny apartment which was cold and barren in January became colorful and alive with artwork and study notes in June. During my last week, I taped up all the drawings from Japan to cover my room. My pages were all that I felt and all the time that had passed. Covering only a tiny room, but they surrounded me like a snail’s shell. It was then that I found the answer as an Asian artist who felt disconnected in the west. Home turned out to be any place I can make artwork. Like a snail who carries their home with them, I flew back to America bringing with me, the home I had taken with me around the world and back.
To any young artists out there, I encourage you to save up and gift yourself your own opportunities. Go out and do that thing you love! Explore the world! Make emotional connections to people, to places, to things.
GIRLS100 (Tokyo) is only the first stop on my list. I would love to continue my observations of the female form and psyche through this project. They say mastery of a skill comes after 10,000 hours of practice, so I guess I’m going to have to make at least 10 more collections on this topic.
100% of the book is viewable online this week and next through to 11/24
Limited Edition USB
As a traveler who believes in minimalism for the environment,
I’m honored to have the opportunity to publish this book with my friend at Ploom™
A small donation-based digital pharmacy that produces and prescribes healthy doses of carefully curated music for a cause.
When Ploom™ gladly took up the project and designed these limited edition Data Drives I was absolutely thrilled. They come with bonus content like my photographs from Japan, time-lapse drawing videos and even music tracks from one of their regular artists Shogonodo. The drive is encased in a beautiful PP plastic cover inscribed with one of my favorite illustrations from the book. I love that these drives are designed to promote digital media art and music publications and can be reusable as USB drives.
Printing the entire book into a physical copy would be phenomenal! But right now, I want to take a risk by introducing digital publications. A lot of work went into crafting the design of the book to look and feel as real as possible despite its virtual form. I could never have the budget for such a heavy book and sleeve design like that independently but with digital publications - anything is possible!
If you also like living minimally and practically and wish to support me with future film and illustration book projects, then please consider purchasing this digital art book or the physical limited edition data drive from the links below!
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[Limited] Extended edition. Data Drive
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Thank you for viewing!