Today we’d like to introduce you to Naoshi.
Naoshi, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Iwate Prefecture, a region in northern Japan. As a kid, I loved reading comic books and watching Japanese comedy shows. After I graduated in Information Systems Management, I started working at a consulting firm in Tokyo.
I did not find any passion for my work, and I always dreamed of doing something else. In 2004, I found a book written by Japanese illustrator and writer Kin Shiotani. His unique illustrations, beautiful writing, and his life story left a deep impression on me. I was lucky to meet him in person, and after that, I found in art-making my biggest passion. In 2007, my art career opportunities started to expand from Japan to the United States, Europe, other countries in Asia. But in 2013, I suffered a severe injury after I fell off a ladder and broke my back.
My doctor told me I might not be able to walk again. I, fortunately, recovered, but this accident got me thinking about the need to live life fully since we never know what it might happen. I decided to quit my job at the time and move to LA to pursue my dream in 2014. The accident totally changed my life and my way of thinking about it. I feel so blessed with everything I have in my life now, and I challenge myself every single day. I deeply enjoy my life as an artist and all the awesome people I get to meet every day.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a SUNAE artist. SUNAE is a technique originally from Japan that means “sand art.” I draw my characters with sand on a special SUNAE-board, which has a sticker board on the surface. Then, I cut out the lines according to the color scheme, peel it off, and then sprinkle the sand, one color at a time. It is a very detailed painting method. The painting can change by only one small grain sand and can’t easily modify the color. However, when I complete an artwork, the feeling of accomplishment is amazing! The process is pretty messy, so my daily chore is to clean up the sand that ends up all over the floor in my room.
★How to make sand art: https://youtu.be/URGtXvoqQCM
What’s the message or inspiration?
My art is inspired by my imagination and the creation of characters with their own life story. When I start sketching, I look at real life, and my imagination comes into play saying: “Ah, this whole scene would be funnier if those things looked like this!”
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I believe the financial situation is not the same for everybody, and it can be truly challenging to live off your art, but the most important thing for an artist is to consistently produce artworks with passion, no matter what kind of situation.
- Website: www.nao-shi.com
- Email: sunae.naoshi＠gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naoshisunae/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naoshi.sunae