Our new Lazy Waves collection is leaning into all things trippy and psychedelic, exploring visions of lucid dreams, astral projection and frollicking in forests laden with magic mushrooms. To help us create our kaleidoscopic vision, we reached out to Japan based artist, Wakana Yamazaki, who creates bright and bold illustrations of mind-bending characters who look like they’re living in a surreal liminal space, where they’re both chilled and terrified simultaneously. For the collection, she designed the meditating mushroom man and the totally trippin’ horse that you’ll see across the pieces. To find out where she gets the ideas for these magical creations, we’re having a chat with her and taking a peek into that mystical, artistic brain of hers. Here’s what she had to say.
Lazy Oaf x Wakana Yamazaki
Hi Wakana! What’s the latest? And where are you right now?
I’m currently in my production studio, which is in Chiba, Japan. I work there as a freelance illustrator and produce my works. In July of this year, I held a solo exhibition at a gallery in Aoyama for the first time in two years.
We’re in love with your artwork. How did you first get into illustration?
I studied and majored in graphic design, product design, and illustration at a design vocational school, but I liked drawing the most among them, so I naturally began to aim to be an illustrator. Soon after graduating, I started working as a freelance Illustrator.
What inspired you to form your style? Who are your biggest art heroes?
My deformed lines and colorful work styles are influenced by psychedelic illustrations from the 60's to 70’s and by the comics of Victor Moscoso and Robert Crumb. I like the work of illustrator Seymour Chwast and his picture book published in the 1970s is one of my treasures.
We love the meditating mushroom man you drew for our collection - what do you think his name should be?
How about the name "ZAZEN"? In Japanese, sitting meditation is called "座禅 zazen".
We’re so pleased with the Lazy Waves collection - which pieces are you excited to wear?
I love them all! The Blurred Vision Fleece and Warped Reality Parka are going to be my most favorite items. I can't wait for the weather to get colder.
What does the inside of your brain look like?
When I draw characters, I imagine them in motion in my brain, so it looks like a mashup of all my illustrations. Then when I’m creating, I try to reproduce the character's moves and the world I imagined.
How do you get into the creative zone? Any rituals or playlist recommendations?
Drawing and creative work are a part of my life, so I naturally turn on my creativity when I go to my studio.
Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve ever drawn?
My favorite is a work titled "Retro Game”.
If you could pick one of your characters to come to life, which one would you choose?
I would choose the tiger character. This character can be transformed into various shapes and has a good personality. So I think it would be nice to be a friend.
Which TV cartoon character most reflects your personality?
Although not in a TV cartoon, ALF in an American drama is my most favorite character. He is slightly similar to me in that he is cheerful and sensitive.
What’s your favourite way to escape reality?
I enjoy spending time drawing, so maybe I don't need to escape reality. When I have a bad day, I just sleep it off.