Scaramanga values original artists, authors, illustrators, creators and makers, so we were thrilled to meet up of Ryoko, a Japanese illustrator based in Edinburgh.We’ve been fortunate to have collaborated with some real talents such as Jackie Morris & Celeste & The Hare. Our Grant Jeffery, a talented Edinburgh photographer, met up with Ryo to have a chat about living as an artist and her life in city.
Tell us about your work and about yourself:
My work, without a doubt, has a lot of influences from what I have experienced from growing up in Japan. When I was younger I read a lot of manga and I enjoyed making my own cartoons, of which I still enjoy doing today. When I was a teenager I had the opportunity to travel, experiencing different countries and their cultures, until I finally moved to UK in 2000. I think you can see everything I have ever seen in different places, combined with my original Japanese roots shows through my work. Drawing is a fundamental part of who I am and have a sort of love hate relationship with it on a daily basis. I often express my thoughts and feelings through my drawings instead of words.
Apart from drawing I am passionate about cats, coffee, gin, collecting stationaries and Moomin mugs. I also have a diploma in Forensic Science/Profiling and am very fond of Lothian buses. I have just finished working on possibly the longest running exhibition that I have done to date, feels like it’s been going on forever. I displayed a different drawing everyday for 3 years at Summerhall in Edinburgh, which featured 2 of my characters Koko and Paw Paw. You can see their journey here: http://thefunchtime.tumblr.com.
My recent project is a corroboration with Edinburgh based Beer company Barney’s designing a label for their Japanese Sorachi hop. It literally has my face on it!
What draws you to Scaramanga (pun intended!)?
I have been using Scaramanga bags and pencil cases for years now, which I carry around with me all the time. It’s great for storing my essentials such as my sketchbook, pens and my laptop. I also like the company’s individuality and uniqueness. I love the fact the products are tough and in the typical Scottish weather, being leather makes them waterproof and durable with the bonus of the more you use them, more personal they become – which is ideal for someone who is very messy like myself. They have been the best travel companion, too, accompanying me from going home to Japan to trip of a life time to Mexico to my sister’s wedding in Hawaii. They carry my life stories so I am very attached to them.
I first moved to Edinburgh 13 years ago and fell in love with the city instantly. I Graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2008. Edinburgh is my second home. My favourite bit of Edinburgh is the beautiful silhouettes of the skyline and especially the sunset view you see from Royal Mile. The city is surrounded by full of historical features and sculptures. Just walking around, you notice different intricate and beautiful detailed stone curved work on every buildings and corner of the street.
Any recommendations for someone visiting Edinburgh?
My first flat was in Leith and I am still very fond of the area. The Shore in Leith is where I like to hang out. It’s full of great bars for drinking gin, cafes for a good coffee and restaurants for a good seafood. The Leith market is also good for buying yummy local produce.
You can see more of her work here: Ninjapen illustration http://www.ryokotamuraninjaillustration.com/