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Meet Yuka Oiwa

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Yuka Oiwa.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Yuka. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I originally didn’t plan on pursuing a career in illustration. While I practiced art on the side, I had my whole life planned out in business and management and had had no doubt that I was going to work an office job supporting my father’s business. It was a casual conversation with my father about how I was doing in my classes. Then when I least expected it, My father asked if I was going to feel fulfilled in my life in 10 years. He expressed that he appreciates my effort to support the family, but he would rather have me pursue my passions. This made me reconsider my life choices and what I wanted to achieve. Being forced to answer this question, I realized I didn’t just want to live my life; I wanted to live a life that can add to other’s lives.

I am very lucky to have met amazing people in my life, like my friends and family who push me to value myself more. As someone who has received a lot from others, I want to be someone who can encourage everyone around me. I thought that maybe if people can pass on the kindness they receive, things might just be a little better.

I decided to pursue my interest in art to become an illustrator. As an illustrator, I can reach out to more people. Speaking and writing have never been my strong suit, but, thanks to the years of lessons in the fine arts, I have been able to connect with more people than I could have ever imagined. I changed my major to Art and sent in my application to ArtCenter College of Design. Despite my personal feeling that I would not make the cut, I was accepted, and I’ve been taking time to learn the skills and tools to become an illustrator that can fulfill any need or project. I strive to create work that can be fun and remind people of the small joys in life. Especially in times like these, we all need some good news and motivation.

Has it been a smooth road?
Like any worthwhile journey, it’s been a mix of ups and downs. I’m plagued by the constant fear that I might not be good enough and that I’m going to disappoint others. That being said, it’s also a source of motivation; I know that I still have more to learn and need to put in the effort to be where I aim to be. Growth is a process. I just have to persevere and keep trying.

There’s also been challenges I’ve faced that could have stopped me several times. A certain incident led me to be fearful of meeting new people and being myself. There were times when I was unsure, scared, and even hopeless. But thanks to my family, friends, and others along the way giving warm encouragement, I kept going. I hope to pay that forward and uplift others through my work and attitude.

Please tell us more about your art.
My main goal as an illustrator is to work in publishing. I strive to one day illustrate and write stories for children. Books have been around for hundreds of years because they communicate in a way no other material can. Reading has opened up many doors for me and being a part of someone’s experience would be worthwhile. I have worked on illustrations for various printed material, books, posters, and logos.

I am drawn to the playful and fun side of illustration: fish characters with legs, a giant Chaplin statue, the entomology of bugs, etc. Life is full of intriguing things to draw and explore.. I also enjoy new experiences; I am always psyched to work on new projects with people.

I’m always willing to go the extra mile for any project even if it’s outside of my comfort zone. There’s always a first for everything, and I am always willing to learn. I always invest 100 percent..

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA’s strength is in its diversity; it is a mix of cultures. As a creative, this is the place to discover different people, cultures, and places. It’s definitely a great place for people looking for a place to put themselves out there. I find it valuable to be here because I can never run out of inspiration in LA.

Of course, that does mean it’s rather competitive, but i’m happy for the challenge to continue growing and find the people who are looking for what I can offer.

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