Yoshitaka Mizutani – Microcosmos around a daily life

Here is the interview with Yoshitaka Mizutani, talking about his younger days and his style.

— You have been creating these works with Kenya Hara who is a worldwide graphic designer for 17 years, haven’t you?

That’s true. It’s a cover illustration for magazine “一冊の本” Asahi Shimbun Publications. I have been drawing 12 images a year. More than 200 images for 17 years. It has been displayed 10 choice collection in this gallery.

— It seems realistic and sensitive expression appearing on the confined blank space, exactly “Microcosmos around a daily life” it is.

Actually I usually prepare a real object when I’m painting.
For example, take a look that picture drawn a Japanese-style confection.

I was making a sweets by myself for draw the painting. It’s a steamed bread made from a powdered arrowroot, covered by a bamboo leaf.
The reason is simple. I want to draw a detailed picture.

And another example, take a look that picture drawn a Sushi.
Have you noticed that is not painted a rice ball under a shrimp?
I did not draw a rice ball, because it is a better way to appeal to an individual’s imagination. It’s almost like a real presence.

It’s a way to have fun with this exhibition “Microcosmos around a daily life”.

— I agree. It seems real. That’s an imaginative picture.

Get in touch with an artist in the front lines

— ou studied under a famous artist Akira Yokoyama when you were 20, didn’t you?

Yes. I was very lucky.
I applied for the job. I was not sure I could but I decided to take a chance.
Thanks to the God of that fateful encounter.

A few years later, I asked him for the reason to take in.
Actually, my skill was not important for him. The most important thing is “simple and honest” for him. So I got a chance to join in.

“Real illustration” were very popular in those days in Japan.
My master Akira Yokoyama is a very popular illustrator for real illustration.

What got me started getting interested in painting was the magazine featuring a real illustration.
I found the magazine at the bookstore around a Nagoya station when I was a high school student. My master’s art works were featured in that magazine.
I was shocked and excited. It was so amazing pictures.
“This is it !” I thought.
I found that I really wanted to do.
Then I started to study painting. I never would have guessed that I have got a job with him, at the time.

I never knew he was so scary…
”Go back to home! Quit right now!”
I have been told that many times, again and again and again.
I had thought of quit seriously at the time.
But now, I am very grateful for everything.
If I did not meet him, then I don’t do this job.

My report card about art class was so bad

— Have you been pretty good at drawing from your childhood?

No. Actually, my report card about art class was so bad.
I had earned a low grade.
This is because my speed of drawing was very slow.
So I always handed in the assignment uncompleted.

— Ah.. I have seen kids like that.

I couldn’t finish in time frame, I ended up handing it in the rough. So my grade point was really bad. It was so difficult for me to complete in time frame that I wanted to create.

— I guess you were a perfectionist in that time?

You could say that.
It was important for me that I can do until my drawing is completely satisfied.
It was not enough time to finish my drawings in the class.

I was taking my own pace, although I was thinking to myself as it seams my drawing would be unfinished again.
Always, unfinished.

So I got a very low grade point in the art class.
I was in trouble at a sketching event.
It was hardly possible to finish my drawing in time frame.
I was going to draw very detailed, you know, there is no way to finish in time.
There you have it, my report card was so bad.

— Have you felt inferior about that?

Yoshitaka: Never.
It’s impossible to be satisfied but It’s just a question of time.
So I didn’t care about the report card.

For now, I have the skill.
There is no way to give up halfway for professional.
I can complete the works in time frame.

It’s important to finish as early as possible for professional.
So I have tried to get the skill.

Throw myself into the role

— How about your concerns for your drawing?

I have a consciousness of being throw myself into the role.
I’m not the type to create on instinct.
I’m interested to find out a solution in a concrete way technically.
It’s not a director, and it’s not a producer.
I’m just thinking of playing a role.
I think my role is giving to satisfy the demands of my client at my best.
I take great pleasure in going beyond what they have hoped.

— How have you dealt with the disagreeable task?

Why don’t you try to be more loving your work?
Some people often consider the job opportunity but they don’t have anything else on most occasions.
In such a case, it’s a better way to get back to the task at hand deeply indulging.
It’s the same thing at that.
The point is something new discoveries and challenges are there, I think.
It’s hard to take care of that have no new discoveries in everyday life.
If you can find something new in your work, then you can be loving it, and you can get motivated.
You could say that professional should be able to keep up motivation by themselves at all times.

— Thank you.



Brown Rice

Japanese Cake

Sushi Tmagoyaki

Nigiri-Sumi (Inkstick)

Wood Chip

Sushi Shrimp




Yoshitaka Mizutani
He was born in Mie-ken in 1964.
He graduated from the Nippon Designers School in 1984.
After graduating, he studied under renowned japanese painter Akira Yokoyama.
And then he started to work as a illustrator on freelance basis in 1988.

Dentsu-Advertising Award “Suntory 黒烏龍茶”


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