I was first introduced to Shoko Nakazawa (Koraters) work thru T9G. She is relatively new to folks here in the states, in Japan she has been producing beautiful art and odd mystical creatures for quite sometime.
I really love her sense of play. Slightly mischievous and dark, and very cute and cuddly all at the same time.
Bwana- Can you tell me a bit about growing up and how this lead to making your first vinyl toy.
I was a graphic designer and an illustrator. I liked drawing since I was kid. Mt high school was arts based. This lead me to University of Arts and when I graduated I got work as a graphic designer creating packaging for candy and chocolates, but at the age of 23, I made the switch to freelance. In the beginning I designed logotype, character, font, production, drawing cut illustrations. I became more and more influenced by fluid artists, I was affected by them and gradually showed my work. I liked a monster and an art toy, but I did not think that I could announce it. I bought them all the time. I am glad to work with and have my toy sculpted by T9G for my character Banpo very much.
Bwana- When you were a kid what were your favorite toys to play with? What was your favorite cartoon?
I am a woman, but I was not interested in beautiful dolls and pretty toys. I liked “the Ultraman” that is japanese special effects TV animation. I loved villain monsters particularly when I was a kid. I gathered a lot of monster toys and made a house and a bed and a kitchen with a box and let them play a drama every time. They were the croquette shop staff and wore the clothes of shop staff. Then they were not villains. Normally girls used a doll but I used monsters as a substitute for dolls. Also I liked lizards and snakes, frogs, and insecst. I caught them a lot. My favorite cartoons are Osamu Tezuka. His work is splendid and philosophical.
Bwana- Your Skills with the nesting boxes are amazing. Both Built to last and beautiful. Do you work on set design (making backgrounds for TV shows or commercials)? How did you learn these skills?
Thank you! In addition to drawing and designing, I like making small furniture, and I like remodeling. I did not learn this from somebody somewhere. It is a hobby. The nesting box is a technique that I devised by myself to show my pictures three-dimensionally. I really love the three-dimensional look. I have been making them from several years now.
Bwana- How do you know T9G? Did you grow up together?
I became friends with T9G five years ago, thru exhibitions currently held every two months in a small toy shop located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was an exhibition that only handmade works. His art was each time very wonderful.
Bwana- What are your current influences? This could be artists, or a place, or something else that inspires you.
I like nature. I love universal, neo-futuristic visions of the world, and the vivid colors and forms of the 60s. I watch the frogs and lizards in my garden and I have four cats and a dog, and the imagination that is always fresh from an animal… birds, or fish that are unusual in zoos and aquariums.
Bwana- What are your next plans for the future? What are you working on?
I exhibit at a large-scale art event “design festa” carried out in Odaiba of Tokyo Japan in the middle of May on the next time. Then I customizing T9G s RANGEAS at his private exhibition. And I produce the illustration for picture books of Banpo with a woodcut. I want to plan a woodcut exhibition within this year.
Bwana- These questions were from a while back. Since this interview. Koraters has produced another sofubi, an axotl type creature standing up on two feet. It is thee awesome sauce!
Bwana- Anything else you would like the American fans to know about?
Banpo is a spook of the burnt bones of the birds. Banpo is living in the forest alone. I am making a wood-cut picture book of Banpo now. Looking forward to our next meeting. + – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – + KORATERS
To see more of Koraters work visit her website here.
Or find her on the instagrammies.
We have some of her beautiful 3-d boxes, and some Banpo up in our shop too.