An interview with illustrator MARIYA SUZUKI

An interview with illustrator MARIYA SUZUKI

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Vaughan: Hi Mariya!! We first met at the first ever Tokyo Coffee Festival about a year ago… I saw you drawing one of the stalls in your sketchbook and was blown away – I’m a big fan of your drawings! It’s great to be able to interview you for goodcoffee! Thanks for recommending this gem!

Mariya: Hi Vaughan! Welcome to Fat Mama.

V: Such a great place! Do you come here often?

M: Not enough!

V: For those of our readers who don’t know you, tell us about your illustrations.

M: I work for various clients, and in my free time I like to draw everyday scenes, objects, people, cityscape, buildings.. random people on trains…

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V: What are the things that Mariya likes?

M: I like coffee.

V: What else?

M: I like looking. When I walk down the street, and I look at a lot of things, probably a lot of things that people miss.

V: Which came first? Cafes or drawing?

M: Drawing. I would draw as a kid.

V: And then when did you start with coffee/cafes?

M: My parents had coffee every morning. It started with me grinding beans. Yeah, they would have me do that. My mum still has it – it’s like an old school grinder. And eventually.. we just started drinking coffee together. I don’t remember exactly when, maybe around middle school. Going to cafes started when I was in college.

V: What do you like so much about cafes?

M: I guess I like the environment. I didn’t go to too many cafes in Japan at the beginning. When I was 18, I moved to California, and I was introduced to a couple of local cafes by some friends. I did my homework there. And I seem to be at cafes a lot since then.

V: Do you have a favourite cafe?

M: Favourite anythings are hard to think about… I should really write these things down…

V: hahahah i’m like that too sometimes, we’ll come back to that one! Mariya, I saw you had an event drawing guest’s faces on some take away coffee cups – can you tell us about the event?

M: Otsuki-san (The Local, Aoyama) invited me to a Glitch party to be an artist on the night. I drew guest’s faces on To-Go cups. I do it only at special occasions like coffee events and sometimes at my shows. It’s fun!

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V: Can you tell us about a couple of other projects or events that you have been a part of?

M: I sometimes get invited to do live drawing at This&That Cafe, an event organized by TokyoDex. It happens every other month at SuperDeluxe in Roppongi. At the same venue, there is another cool event – PechaKuchaNight. There, participants give presentations about their passion following the special format in which 20 images are shown 20 seconds each. I did participate once to talk about my day. It was a lot of fun!

V: What advice do you have people who are terrible at drawing and want to get better?

M: Look carefully. Sometimes when people make observational drawings, they tend to draw the idea of the object rather than drawing it as seen. I think looking carefully and being honest to what your eyes are seeing is important.

V: What are you favourite drawing pens?

M: uni-ball / signo.

V: And who are the artists that really inspire you?

M: Trey Bryan… we have a similar way of drawing…

V: Besides your account, who should everyone be following on instagram?

M: @treybryan and Alex gardner (@artpose) the painter – his stuff is really interesting. Definitely him too!

V: Can you tell me something that’s happened to you while you’ve been drawing that you’ll never forget?

M: Once when I was drawing in Nara, sitting at the top of big stairs, this drunk guy with a can of chu-hi in his hand started talking to me. At first I was kind of warned, but soon I found him harmless. I think he just wanted to talk to someone.

V: The most recent novel you read?

M: Kusou Koubo. It’s not a novel, but there are some very cool ideas and lines.

V: Favourite movie?

M: Amelie… Visually and musically it’s very beautiful.

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V: Have you got any events coming up?

M: I’m drawing on mug cups. I have an exhibition coming up at Workers (Naka- Meguro) where they will be on sale. May 12-31. Please come!

V: Where can people follow you or find out more about your events?

M: @mariyasuzuki on instagram, or there’s an events section on my website mariyasketch.com

V: Finally, do you have any big goals?

M: Well, I want to be more flexible in regards to where I am. I want to move around more…

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Photography by Nik van der Giesen (@nvdg81)
Column by Vaughan

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