Art Director, Yoshida Yuni (YY)
OS: Hello Yuni, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview! Please give us a brief introduction of yourself.
YY: My name is Yuni Yoshida. I am an art director based in Japan. I create commercial works such as advertisements and CD covers, as well as personal artwork.
OS: Your work deconstructs and ingeniously reconstructs the materials we encounter every day. It catches the eye the moment we see it for the first time with its surreal visuals. Then, when we look at it closely, it surprises us with an optical illusion that presents a creative perspective using familiar materials. It is like a riddle that makes the audience want to figure out what material you made and how you made it. What made you work with these familiar materials around us?
YY: I don't have a specific reason, but it may be because I often get inspiration from everyday things. Also, I have an innate personality of wanting to enjoy things that I might overlook in my daily life by changing my point of view. I also often make commercial advertisements, so I think it's because I sometimes use things that make me feel familiar in order to convey the product to more people.
OS: Before starting the work, do you have a specific fantasy that you want to realize momentarily? I heard that the reason why you prefer analog manual work rather than CG is that the process itself is enjoyable and important. How does the initial target image change in the process of implementation?
YY: When I come up with an idea, I have a finished picture in my head. So when I actually shoot, I want to surpass that photo. Working in analog instead of CG is simply a means to materialize what I imagine. There is a saying that 'God is in the details', but when I create my work, I also value attention to detail, so I would like to work on the details myself. And above all, I enjoy the process of working. So, when you actually look at things from various angles, you may come up with another idea and use it in another work. If I had only worked with CG, I don't think I would have come up with that idea.
OS: What is the difference between your own artwork and commissioned work? In the case of artwork that you want to do yourself as an artist, you can start whenever you feel inspired, but doing something commissioned by a client will have limitations such as the client's purpose, time, and budget. How do you overcome these difficulties?
YY: The reason I originally wanted to create advertisements was because I preferred to create within constraints. Thinking about visuals that can be established by clearing various things within constraints was fun like a puzzle-solving quiz, such as how much can be conveyed and how much can be challenged. I feel like I'm imposing some kind of rules on myself when I'm working on my own.
OS: In your work <Layered>, fruits are cut into square pieces and stacked like a mosaic. A cube feels like a pixel that symbolizes the minimized unit, and I can feel the image of the smallest units gathering to form a whole. Was your work first conceived for a semantic purpose? Or did you want to visually implement a mosaic effect on real objects?
YY: First of all, the reason why I made this work is that these natural fruits and vegetables do not have the same pattern or the same color, and that is what I like about natural things. I thought that I could express fine gradations by making the most of these characteristics and using the colors of fruits and vegetables and natural discoloration. Since the mosaic effect is pixelated and the original color is gradated, I used different fruits or discolored fruits for that part.
OS: The Elpis drama poster, one of your representative works, looks like CG, but looking at it closely, documents are piled up to express the glitch effect. In order to plan this kind of work, it seems that an understanding of graphic design is necessary. What is your source of inspiration to do these things? Is it a comprehensive study and integration of photography, graphic design, crafts, art, and animation?
YY: First of all, the reason why I made this work is that I received a request for a poster for a drama, and I began to understand and think about the content and worldview of the drama. The drama is about being busy with work every day, chasing the conflict with yourself about good and evil, and unsolved cases. I wanted to express the gaps and noise that occur around me with something like a bug in the video, and I wanted to express it with something like a pile of unsolved case materials, so I came up with the idea of making glitch noise with documents.Originally, I studied graphic design and painting, but I also like watching animations, so it may be a natural input for me.
OS: Most of your work is photos of real objects. As an extension of this scope, we can check some photography works expressing alphabets from A to Z in human bodies or fruits. And more, we can also find graphic designs of letter fonts. nymo (font of onymous) is also made of a combination of straight lines and circles having similar morphological characteristics to your creations. Tell us what you think about typography.
YY: I agree! Typography is simple straight lines and curves, but each of them has its own expression.
OS: How do you want your work to affect others?
YY: First of all, when making commercial advertisements, it is not about just being cute or cool. It is important to be intuitively recognizable and to contribute to product sales by functioning as an advertisement. I believe that the advertising work will only come into existence after clearing that, so that is what I was aiming for. Rather than wanting to have a big impact, I would be happy if everyone who watched it could enjoy it in a small way. A nurse who came to the exhibition before told me that at the hospital where she worked, there was a patient who was wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt that I designed. People in the hospital room said that they were able to have a lot of conversations while looking at the visuals, and that they became cheerful.
OS: For a considerable period of time, you have been building a successful career as an art director. How would you like your name to go down in history? Do you have any goals you want to achieve in the future?
YY: I have never thought of such a desire, and since I've been silently doing what I have to do, I feel like I've come this far without even realizing it. But I am really grateful that so many people can see my work, and I would like to continue to deliver more work to many people. And one day I would like to find out if there is something I can do for children's imagination.
OS: How did you overcome difficulties while getting to where you are today, and what advice would you give to young juniors who hope to become successful creators like you?
YY: First of all, I think that you decide the direction you want to go, decide what you want to do, and think about what to do about it. Among them, the speed of progress varies from person to person, so I think it's best to believe in yourself and work at your own pace without worrying about those around you. And I think it's important to find a way that works for you because the way other people have done it doesn't necessarily suit you. I don't come up with ideas easily either. So, I would like to work hard together with people who aim to become creators.
*interview date: 2023.July.04
Yoshida Yuni © 2023
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