I’m a Boy… I don’t really like Pink and I make ugly Monsters / Kaiju ! I don’t think I ever really “got” the cute thing in Japan, also known as Kawaii.
However, my Brain has been re-altered by a Japanese women artist named Tulip (real name Sachiko Yabe) !
Let me go back to the beginning … a few months ago, March to be exact, I had a group art show in Japan called Kaiju Comrades 2.
Expanding on the first Kaiju Comrades art show from the previous year, we decided to ask various women artists to try their hands at Kaiju themed art work .. it didn’t matter that they did not make art in the Kaiju world .. just that they be willing to try something out of their comfort zone.
The work they all turned in was simply breathtaking and to see them all try something different was very inspiring to me.
Although the first time Tulip worked on a Max Toy project was my Kaiju Blue show in November of 2009 .. where she did this mind blowing mash up custom of Kaiju TriPus !
But at the Comrades 2 show was the my first glimpse at Tulip’s painted work. Her work was of Soppy Tan/Beso-Tan a Kaiju who is crying on top of a building. Tulip’s explanation is in the interview below…
My first impression was.. well, I wasn’t quite sure what to think !?!?! It was the one painting in the whole show that stood out the most, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why and what was going on in the painting ! It’s cute … but why is it crying !! Ha ha …on top of that the name of simply “Tulip” threw me off as well. What’s a Tulip ?! (answered below!)
After being introduced to her we hit it off right away and via awkward translations ( Tulip does not speak or understand English much ) I started to get a better sense of what she and her characters are about. Unlike her crying Kaiju, Tulip the person, in person has a lot of happy energy and enthusiasm ! So this further peeked my interest into how she interpreted this kaiju this way.
Having not grown up being a kaiju fan at all, she simply comes at all this from a very fresh perspective … so, this and other Kaiju pieces she has done all reflect a naivety and freedom to create what she wants in this realm of Boy characters.
Ah, I’ve never really thought about it but that’s something artistically I’ve not done.. to go into a direction that you have no real back ground in and just create something with no images already in your mind ( like Godzilla ) or influences to cloud your creation.
Also, she usually incorporates messages or themes to her creations, another aspect to this type of art I was not aware of. Us kaiju folks mostly are about showing explosions and destroying things .. and not softer themes of Friendship, Happiness or dare I say, Love ?!
I’ve kept up with her since March and she’s been in the Kaiju Attack show in Spain,
Kaiju Red Carpet Show at Toy Art Gallery in Los Angeles all on top of her already packed schedule in Tokyo of various events such as Design Festa.
My last trip to Japan for the “In Living Kolor” paint show, I was able to see her try out an airbrush for the first time while painting on toys .. something that she just dove right into without any hesitations. The result was stunning, work I would pass off as my own, in fact !
I was also able to learn a little more about being a women artist in Tokyo. For sure it’s not an easy lifestyle and she devotes many, many hours to her craft. To hear her daily routine would make 99% of the artists I know here drop dead from lack of sleep… it’s not unusual to get emails from her at 3am Japan time… but despite her sweet exterior, she has a fierce and determined drive .. which I am predicting will take her to the Top.
I’m certainly not an expert at Kawaii/Cute things .. and being a guy and American, what i think is cute may not jive with others… However, after seeing more of Tulip’s work, either painted or her computer work, I’ve really developed a new appreciation for her skill and this kind of work.
Tulip’s artistic and design abilities are very much sought after .. and after seeing more of her work these past few months, feel like she has “blossomed” ( pardon the pun ) into a very confident artist.
Here recent Seven Rainbow characters for Design Festa show are some top rate examples of her character design prowess.
Love Lee Rabbit
I can also say, my brain gets it now ! I’m not going to wear Pink ( her favorite color ) any time soon, but I have developed an appreciation for cute .. and can actually look at cute things and say one is cuter than the other !
Ha ha ! .. but don’t worry I still like ugly monsters 😉
For this current project and show in Japan, Beauty and the Kaiju, I asked Tulip to do her version of Kaiju Eyezon, and wouldn’t you know it, she made Eyezon damn Cute !
Look for this giclee to be released end of December, plus a special pin to follow very soon !
Below is an interview conducted via email, special thanks go to Yo Miyamoto for his help in translations !
Q1: How did you come up with your artists name, Tulip ?
Answer: I loved tulip so much when I was in middle school, because it looks so cute.
Q2: What kind of style of artwork do you do ?
Answer: I mainly design cute and mischievous characters. I draw characters digitally or using acrylic paints. I would like to draw heartwarming characters that ease people’s mind.
Q3: Did you go to art school
Answer: I was attending technical art college.
Q4: You have series of acrylic paintings called ” Monsterous Beasts
” can you tell us more about each them .. any stories for them ?
[Latchkey Kaiju – SAM-TAN -] [鍵っ子怪獣 サムタン]
He is a kaiju of justice who cleans up evils who break into the people’s hearts.
[Soppy Kaiju – BESO-TAN -] [泣きべそ怪獣 ベソタン]
He bears the whole sorrow of the world and cry in place of human beings and living
[Love Kaiju – LOVE-TAN -] [恋愛怪獣 ラブタン]
He takes the pain that love brings from people.
[Sweet tooth Kaiju – PERO-TAN -] [甘党怪獣 ペロタン]
He loves sweets. He consumes sweets in the world with zeal.
Q5: I like your ” Watagashi PU-KO ” character , how did you come
up with that design / idea ?” ( Note: Watagashi is like Cotton Candy ! )
Answer: I have designed and drew this Kaiju exclusively for the event called ‘CHARA-MATSURI’ that I have produced. This event has established among 6 different artists as for our collaboration activity. I have designed not only PU-KO but also other two characters called YO-YO YOKO and BUSA-KAWA KAKIGORI (shaved ice). PU-KO is a girl of cotton candy. She always lays sweet-scented poot. 😉
Q5: Any last words you would like to say ?
Answer: I have never designed or drew Kaiju before so it was very flesh (fresh) theme and challenge for me.
I put my moment-to-moment feelings into each character.
I want to thank Tulip for her time in answering these questions for me and for being my Chocolate buddy in Japan !
We did this interview a few months ago .. in the meantime, Tulip has released her first iPhone app !!!
You can download it free via iTunes. Also, I would recommend downloading the extra frames and decorations for only .99¢ … it’s nice way to support Tulip and the project.
Even makes my Kaiju look Cute ! I found it easy to use and a lot of fun ..once your done you can save it and send to your Twitter or Facebook account, too.
Her app has done extremely well and I predict there will be more!
Also check out the Max Toy web site for her postcards and the soon to be released giclee print of her Kaiju Eyezon art.
Next year 2011, look for Tulips art in various shows in the US and several more Max Toy x Tulip related projects … including a toy figure ! 😉
Tulip info –
Web Site: http://www.lovelych.com/
Blog ( Japanese ): http://ameblo.jp/tulip-sachikoyabe/
Tumblr ( English translation by Machine ! ): http://tulip1231.tumblr.com/
Facebook – Sachiko Yabe
Twitter – lovelych
In the next few months, I will post more interviews with the Women in the Beauty and the Kaiju project, so keep checking back !!!!