Colourful Childhood in Tokyo

Through the groovy 70s to the bright coloured 80s, my Tokyo child was fill with bold colours like my Hello Kitty rice bowl and my mum’s stripy blouse.

70s mum blouse

This influenced how I see the world and how I design.

Finding Inspiration Everywhere

One day, I made an interesting discovery when I was looking at Kimono patterns. From fish scales to waves, these patterns are borrowed from everyday life. The 17th century Kimono Shokunin found beauty in the seemingly mundane and distilled them into iconic minimal patterns.

Remixing Old & New

I went out to find my 21st century version of waves and fish scales in London — Then I saw manhole covers.

I created patterns by remixing geometric shapes taken from manhole covers, starting from London, then move on to Tokyo and London.

After that I found inspiration everywhere. In store shutters and at the swimming pool.

Overcoming Creative Block

I started to advocate the idea that you can find inspiration everywhere. But with limited input in lockdown, I felt really uninspired. I worried that my creativity was drying up. I felt like a fraud.

Then I remembered a traditional Japanese gardening technique called Shakkei. It means “borrowed landscape”. The artist incorporates a bigger view like mountains and sky into their gardening design. I thought I can borrow my friends’ views from across the globe! And this is how Lookdown Mindscape started.

A Global Collaboration in Lockdown

I asked my friends from Shanghai to New York to Amsterdam to share lockdown their views. Not only their physical views, but also their introspective views.

I collaborated with motion designer Chris Sellar-Meadmore and created a series of moving posters. Emotions expressed eloquently through motion. The clarity in chaos, the emotional rollercoaster, the optimism in uncertain times — The honesty resonated with everyone experiencing the same thing, we felt more connected across the world.

Read more about Lockdown Mindscape

Artist on a Mission to Spread Optimism

I think optimism is a belief that despite the ups and downs we’ll all come out on the bright side. I’m an artist on a mission  to inject optimism into the world with geometric bliss. Hope you enjoy the world of MAMIMU.

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Editor: Sam Johns
Producer: Sophie Smith
Motion Designer: Chris Sellar-Meadmore
Motion Design Support: Joel Vaughan
Audio Mix: Ed Railton with support from CODA Post Production

Lockdown Mindscape Contributors:
Sylvain Lierre (Berlin)
Joe Stitzlein (California)
Jeroen Krielaars (Amsterdam)
Si Liu (Shanghai)
Kyoko Bowskill(Tokyo)
Ismael Ali (New York)
Fangyu Cho (Taiwan)
Carla Almeida (Bali)
Gianluca Cinquepalmi (Milan)
Junko Kofuku (Hong Kong)