These episodes keep getting better and better in my opinion. We present Yuta Onoda, originally from Japan, who is an illustrator / painter based in Toronto, Canada. He has been shaping his art aesthetic through various forms of media, finding new avenues to express himself. He has had such esteemed clients as Scholastic, Popular Mechanics, Advanced Photoshop Magazine and Communication Arts. It was an honor for him to fit me into his busy schedule and we talk about a number of topics that I am sure you’ll love. Read below for the full interview…
Tell us a bit about your creative processes.
Yuta: I do a lot of research when I start working on the project. I always try to get familiar with the topic/theme first so that I would be able to come up with variety of ideas. Then I work on sketches and finals. Images are mainly created with half traditional and digital. Linear work is mainly done with pen and pencil, then I play with creating some texture with acrylics, scan them and color digitally. I love traditional art, so I always try to keep some traditional elements in my work so that they do not look too digital. I really love to come up with images that have narrative elements in them. An image that almost tells you a story.
I really love the ‘Reimagining Japan’ piece you did. How does it feel to know you can use your talents to benefit charities or to life up peoples spirits in harsh times?
Yuta: I’m glad you like the piece! I do believe that art can support/ease people’s emotional stress. I have participated in some charity shows, and It definitely makes me feel wonderful and happy when people can relate to my work.
Growing up in Japan, then moving to Canada…wow talk about culture shock. What kind of perspective towards art do you have now that you have seen two sides to the the cultural coin?
Yuta: Living in two different cultures has definitely opened my eyes. I don’t think I would have been able to start my career as an illustrator / painter if I didn’t move to Canada. Having connections with people from different cultures really have changed my thinking process – It has definitely helped me have more perspectives to look at things differently and build my foundation of Illustration approach that could communicate with different cultures.
I know you participate in some pretty big exhibitions, but was surprised to see lack of work from you in this years Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. Will the remainder of 2011 see you participating in more galleries and expos?
Yuta: I also feel very unfortunate that I haven’t been able to participate in much of gallery shows this year. I think my focus has shifted toward illustration this year but it doesn’t mean I will stop painting. I have been learning a lot of new things through illustration, and I hope that I will be able to apply these to paintings. It’s definitely hard to focus on two things at the same time, but I really do hope that I find a balance between illustrations and paintings in the future.
There are no upcoming shows for now, but I will be participating in Fanexpo this year. The show runs for 4 days from August 25th – 28th this year and it seems that the show has been growing bigger every year. It’s going to be a third year for me and I’m very excited to participate in the show! If you are in the area, please visit the show and come say hi!
Information about the expo here: http://www.fanexpocanada.com
If we are just talking about commissions, you seem to do a lot of magazine illustrations. What isit about working with zine clients that you seem to gravitate towards?
Yuta: To answer your question, it’s just simply because my focus has been on illustration this year, and magazines are one of the most essential markets for illustrators. It’s very fortunate that I have had opportunities to work with variety of clients so far. I really enjoy the process of finding a solution and come up with a final image. I find it very challenging every time, but it’s always exciting to receive a topic/theme from clients and start working on a project!
In addition to digital illustration you also paint. What is the biggest challenge between the two?
Yuta: Working on illustration and painting, the biggest challenge for me has been how I can keep the consistency between the two. What I mean is that I would like to have similar quality for both illustration and painting. My work is mainly a mix of linear, detail, and decorative elements, so I always try to keep them in mind that I incorporate these elements into them.
Will you be selling original artwork soon?
Yuta: Unfortunately, I’m not planning to sell original art work soon. I would definitely love to work on a painting in larger scales when I get a chance though. I’m also planning to add more prints to my store as well. Please check my website and blog for further updates!
You’re a hard worker, so I hope you play hard as well. Have any favorite Asian films or Anime?
Yuta: [Laughs] I wish I could play hard. It’s been such a hectic schedule here and I haven’t gotten a chance to play hard for a while…Akira is definitely one of my favourite Japanese animation film of all time. I love Miyazaki’s and Satoshi Kon’s films… I think this will take forever to name everything here…
You have been featured in Communication Arts quite regularly so I wanted to take the title of that literally and ask you…how important is communication within the art world to you? Whether is be with a client or the silent communication between a piece of art and its viewer?
Yuta: I think communication is an essential tool for artists. Working with clients, I’m an international artist here in Canada and my English is not perfect… I always wonder how easy it would be to communicate with clients if I could speak/write better… It’s very important to listen to clients closely so that I perfectly understand what kind of images they are looking for. Illustration is a communication art, so it is very important for me to spend enough time to do some research and get familiar with a theme so that my work can send a message through my work and communicate with its viewers.
Thank you so much again for the interview!!
Want to keep tabs on Mr. Onoda’s work? Follow his cookie crumb trail below: