Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts. Newsweek Japan has chosen Yuko as one of “100 Japanese People The World Respects in 2009. You may have seen her work on The Gap T-shirts, Pepsi cans, VISA billboards, Microsoft and Target ads, as well as on the book covers of Penguin, Scholastic, DC Comics, and on the pages of NY Times, Time, Rolling Stone, New Yorker and in many other publications over last ten years.
To hear Part 2 of the interview, click here.
In this episode, Yuko discusses:
-Her “mid-life crisis” at the age of 22 and how she decided to go to art school after 11 years of work.
-How it took hitting rock bottom to inspire her to finally make a shift and go to school.
-How she was able to make it work money-wise when she made the change.
-The process of leaving Japan to study in the United States and how she made it work for four years.
-How there is a transition period between a hobby and a career in art and there are no set rules as to how long it should last.
-How turning 30 was a catalyst for her to stop and reevaluate the path she was on.
-How she always felt inferior to people who went to art school and ended up going to art school because she knew she would always have that insecurity.
-How a 2-week gap in work as a freelancer can make you feel like it is the end of your career.
-How applying to art school in the United States before the internet was not easy, having to wake up in the middle of the night.
“When things are really bad, that triggers you to make decisions.”
“It’s not black and white. You don’t need to be doing this full time.”
“I wanted to try out my passion before it gets too late.”
“The worry never goes away.”
“Art school means a lot of money. And living in New York means more money on top.”
“I’m 30. I’m not a kid anymore. Do I want to be here? And my answer was ‘no.'”