Student Spotlight: Yohey Horishita

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A recurring blog entry highlighting outstanding current students and their work.

1. Where are you from (hometown, country, etc.

I was born in a city called Kagoshima, the Deep South in Japan.

2. Where have you been to school (and if grad student what kind of degree did you receive)?

            I went to Jacksonville State University in Alabama, then transferred to SCAD Atlanta for BFA and MFA

3. What attracted you to Illustration?

            I’m attracted by its storytelling in both visual and conceptual solution. 

4. Who are your biggest influences?

            My biggest influence is Julie Mueller-Brown, my former professor in SCAD.  The way Julie guided me during my time in BFA literally opened up so many creative doors, and solidified my creative foundation.  I’m still and always grateful that I was given this professor who I can look up to.  I have so many other classical illustrators and painters whom I love, but I don’t think they are the obvious influences to my illustration in personal level.  Plus, as I’m getting more established as professional, I really don’t want to get influenced by anyone too much…  However, I do have great mentors (who I personally call them “mentor”) who I have great trust in their opinion, and also I appreciate the friendship I have with them; Rick Lovell, Yuko Shimizu, and Bill Mayer.  These three illustrators are my philosophical influence in illustration, and I very much listen to them word to word.  

5. If you weren’t studying illustration at SCAD, what would you likely be doing?

            I would go to a medical school, be working for my father’s medical company back in Japan, be wealthy and be unhappy doing work that I was not passionate about.  It sounds miserable already, no?  As much as I appreciated the readymade path my parents laid for me, I’m glad that I could raise my voice to them and say, “No, this is not what I want to do.”  My bank account is skinny currently, but I’m very happy. 

6. What do you like to do in your spare time?

            I do love to cook.  My kitchen is my kingdom (well, it’s more like “queendom” in my apartment if you know what I mean.)  I’m a person who is normally doing several things at the same time, so I recently realized that watching movie is one of a few times that I can sit and doing nothing but watch.  Otherwise I’m doing something work related; sketch, doodling, felting, and reading.

7. What is something that most people don’t know about you?

            This is tough question because I’m very open.  I talk about myself quite openly but way too openly sometimes (wink*).  Now I have to be careful what I say in certain level, but I haven't successfully done it quite honestly.  Since I fully came out of the closet few years ago, I have taken off a duct tape on my mouth and left it in the closet.  Bye Felicia.  I grew up in Japan, such a collective community in general Asian culture.  My family and extended families are very conservative Christian family with well-respected businesses, and I always needed to act out as a good boy, good son, and good brother in front of people.  I was destined to suppress my sexual orientation by this culture and religion, so you can imagine what happened when I had a breakdown after 26 years of being not fully come-out to my parents who are also pastors.  It was living hell, but now I’m free.  Amen, y’all.  So, that’s why I’m very open book to anyone about anything. 

8. What would your dream job/client be and why?

            I have a list of my dream clients, and I put them into categories.  On my list, there are God-level clients like publishing houses and editorial covers, but I need to earn more recognition and trust in this industry to be hired by these clients.  To achieve those clients, there are “Oh Yohey is Upcoming Illustrator, Let’s Hire Him” clients like major editorial gigs.  To support these clients, there are “Okay, I Saw Yohey’s Postcard, Let’s Give Him a Small Spot” clients like much smaller publications and spot editorial illustrations.  I have these three level client list; dream big but always try to see where I am.  I don’t want to just dream big and not focus on my current position in the industry.  Right now, I’m in the small gig moment of my career, and doing it.  Give me a couple more years; I will crawl up there.

9. What’s your typical process for creating your artwork (technique, media, etc)?

            I love both traditional process and digital process, so I do both to finish a piece.  Oil pastel technique, which was introduced by Julie Mueller-Brown, is the foundation of my traditional process.  Digital part is handled only in Adobe Photoshop to colour.  Then I traditionally use gouache painting to establish its light source; highlight and shadow, and compose them in Photoshop to deliver the final piece.  I easily get bored, so cannot imagine myself working neither 100% traditionally nor 100% digitally.  

10. Sum up your personal philosophy in 25 words or less.

            “Know your position and play your position.”

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @YoheyHorishita