Mayuko has no formal art training, but has been developing her skills in paper cut outs and making art since 1999.
Mayuko’s artwork mimics a stencil or a print but instead of blocks of ink she uses cut out pieces of coloured paper or photographs to piece together a striking, graphic image. What she pays attention to the most is the balance between the space occupied by the colourful image elements, and the white areas surrounding them. Getting the balance right, she ensures the outcome never looks cluttered or fuzzy to the viewer.
The style imputed to her images very much comes down to her selection of cut out shapes. Nature – including plants, flowers and birds – often comes to the fore and with their gentle curves her images have a decorative feel to them. She creates whimsical characters, and abstract or psychological stories that take place in imaginary worlds.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Mayuko: I became a music fan in my teenage years, and album cover artworks and live show flyers got me more and more interested in design and illustrations.Question: Do you have any formal design training? Mayuko: I am self-taught.Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Mayuko: I live in New York City. I love the diversity and feeling of liberation it has. I work in one of the artist studios built in an old warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY.Question: How do you get your ideas? Mayuko: I get ideas from museums, books, music, dreams.Question: Do you collect anything? Mayuko: I collect bells, stones, and seashells.Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Mayuko: I am interested in music and host a show at WFMU, a community radio station in New Jersey.Question: What is the first record you bought? Mayuko: A film soundtrack 'Nokto De La Galaksia Fervojo' by Haruomi Hosono, when I was 8 yrs old.Question: Tell us about a favorite project you've recently completed. Mayuko: A book cover illustration for a book which was about the grief and loss of miscarriage titled Grace Like Scarlett from Baker Publishing. It was a very good learning experience for me, especially the research on the theme. I am pleased with the result artwork and cannot wait to see it published.Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Mayuko: Commissions from organizations supporting children in need/education.Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Mayuko: I'd look for a job at a community non-profit, or maybe a textile designer.Question: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Mayuko: Ireland, I want to see where Samuel Beckett was from.Question: What is the funniest thing you have ever done? Mayuko: An impulsive trip taking greyhound buses all the way from New York to Charleston, South Carolina. Arrived there in the morning, took the next midnight bus going home. The only person who I had a conversation with there was someone who was apparently from New York.Question: If you won the lottery what would you do with the money? Mayuko: I’d buy some equipment such as a large printer, cutting-machine, 3D printer, letterpress & die cut machine, etc.