Yuko Shimizu


We love the work of New York-based Japanese illustrator Yuko Shimizu—the sense of drama her work conveys and the apparent color clashes that somehow gel despite pre-existing rules about their compatibility.

What have you been up to of late?
I just came back from a week in Georgian Bay in Canada. No internet, no cell phone reception for a week. It was fantastic! Now I am getting ready for a group show at Visual Arts Gallery in New York that opens in September. I am creating two new 40" x 60" drawings. I'm also slowly refurbishing my website here and there.

What other creative medium (outside of illustration/art) do you most get into?
I love books. I admire writers who write really well about characters that are so different from who they are. My favorites are Haruki Murakami and Yukio Mishima. I know, I always say I hate Japan and everything Japanese and … look at what I am doing! I am reading "Hotel New Hampshire" [John Irving] and "Kitchen Confidential" [Anthony Bourdain] right now, both of which are so interesting and fun to read in completely different ways. My studio-mate Marcos Chin—his boyfriend and I have a mini-book club now, and we often read the same book together at the same time. Marcos' boyfriend had already finished with "Hotel New Hampshire" and complained I am too slow! I have to catch up on my readings.

If you teleport yourself anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and what would you be doing?
I am in Sesimbra, south of Lisbon, in Portugal, watching the ocean, eating fresh seafood and drinking white wine. And I don't even drink, usually!

Do you ever get illustrator's block, and if so, what do you do to overcome it?
The older we get, we learn not to struggle when suffering. When you get drowned, the best way is to not panic. When you have a block, the best you can do is walk away and do something else. Get a good night sleep, don't think about it.