Scottish artist, Jennifer Smile takes on Japan.
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We've got an awesome iPhone case and set of cards designed by Jennifer Smile up for grabs. So, if you want your iPhone to look like a cute monster, just leave us a comment at the end of the article, letting us know what your favourite things about Japan are. Jennifer will pick her favourite, so good luck!
I'm Jennifer Smile and currently I work as a freelance artist living in Gifu the heart of Japan. I studied a short Japanese course at university and I was given the opportunity to study abroad in a rural area called Gifu. From there I fell in love with Japan and I went back after graduating and haven't looked back since. Theres always something new, something crazy or something just weird going on. Everywhere you go, theres some sort of cute or "kimokawaii"(disgusting cute) characters. Japan is the place to be inspired.
Currently I'm exhibiting work in the third largest city in Japan, Nagoya. My work is very colourful and full of weird characters. I'm very inspired by the Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Takeshi Murakami. I love the colours that they use and Yayoi Kusama's crazy style. I particularly like using simple shapes in my artwork which I morph into cute and strange characters. I always just try to have fun with my art and create pieces that I like or that make me happy and hope that others enjoy them too.
Being an artist in Japan as a foreigner can be very difficult with the language barrier, but I've found other artists to be very friendly and helpful. I've worked on a number of projects and exhibitions with other artists in Nagoya and its always been fun and sometimes unusual. We once exhibited in an old shrine which was still in use. It felt very strange at the time, but it was a very interesting and unforgettable experience.
I love so many things in Japan, its hard to narrow it down but if I had to, the list would include ; sushi, karaoke, Japanese TV dramas, cute characters, speedy train service, all you can drink alcohol, Japanese punk bands and music festivals. I'm an avid fan of Japanese punk bands and I regularly go to concerts and festivals. I once created a music video for the Tokyo punk band, Melt Banana. Japanese music can be so crazy. Much like the rest of the country, which is why I love Japan so much I guess.
Check out more of Jennifer Smile's work on her portfolio.