Name: Nanae Kawahara
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/nanaekawahara
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! I'm Nanae, living in Yokohama, Japan. Why I can speak/write English because I studied and lived in London for three years and a half. After graduating BA Graphic Design in Japan, I moved to the UK in 2009 for studying at MA illustration course in Camberwell College of Arts. Then I started my career after the course in 2010, I worked for book cover/ZINE/magazine a little bit. Also I often join to art or craft fairs to promote myself. In 2012, I was back to Japan to start my work there. On the other hand, this is a weird thing, I got dogsick (not homesick!) while I was in the UK. My family has a dog called Nana (standard poodle bleed), she is third dog for us and has many doggie friends as almost people in our home area have dogs. By influencing this, I set up DOOOOOGS !! for my first solo exhibition, I made around 40 portraits of my dog Nana's friends and expressed funny events with them.
Thanks so much, Trisha! and everyone who have a look this issue :)
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I started my shop on Etsy from 15 December in 2010. I didn't supposed to think about online shop four years ago, but I realized if I would like to be a global artist and must use internet/online something with my portfolio website. I thought it isn't good if I put only artworks, I would have to supply any fun things to everyone. Therefore, my shop has several style of stuffs. I normally like to make toys (it's sold out at the moment), crafts… these are very helpful for my shop.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
Nanae Kawahara is my original name. Japanese has different characters the one of them is called KANJI (originally from Chinese character. My mom and aunt have NAE in their first names, which means a seedling. My mom - Minae : Mi is beauty - so she is Beautiful Seeding. She wanted to name me with that. Na..from Nanae… actually I don't know. My parents chose it because sound is good.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
No… but it's quite fun to manage my Etsy shop, I love interaction tool to see connection with other fantastic crafty people.
How would you describe your creative process?
The best way is that I stay in my room alone with listening to my favorite music. I need to focus on making anything. And find what I would like to make/describe on my works… I quite think about the working process including the concept.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
music, toys, textiles, fashion, graphic design, illustration…
walking in a trendy town and country side, playing with dogs...
Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
• What shows have you taken part of, and do you have a favorite?
Recently I continue to attend at Design Festa, which is the largest art event in Japan. The event is fabulous! I liked BUST magazine craftacular in London too.
• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
It depends on the schedule. I don't have any special things actually. Last year, for my first solo show, I started to make works six months before. Because I already know how many illustrations and items I should make. However, I'm going to have second exhibition in the end of November though, I'm very rushing for that! I'm now fighting with the time as I have a lot of illustration jobs this month (quite nervous!). I understand it isn't enough to prepare. It's like a game to fight with your schedule and how to prepare yourself.
• Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work
I think good start for my solo exhibition, I'm very happy when people visit and give me the feedback (of course there's not only positive, also negative is there). Then I would like to continue. For DOOOOOGS !!, I want to tell something which I learn from dogs. Although the final point isn't clear, I will show a mysterious life by my first dog Coo-tan for my next show, I guess he was left from his first family.
What is your most cherished handmade item?
Toy stuffs! I love toy stuffs. Although I sometimes make small things, I wish I could make proper one.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
Playing a piano, listening to music, going to see gigs and exhibition, walking around, window shopping…
Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
Ummm… a singer (with doing illustration) ? I had that dream when I was a small girl. But it wasn't serious (just like going to Karaoke!) and I didn't change my original mind thought being an artist.
Five years from now you will be…
Hope I would be more famous! and I would like to work in many area.. want to be multiple illustrator.
Describe yourself in five words:
I can't choose as I'm bad to choice words… artist, dog lover, music lover, surrealist (I hope), unusual.
Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
I listed five songs which I often listen…Love them! :
'In Time To Voices' by Blood Red Shoes
'The fountain' by Veronica Falls
'Blueberry Boat' by The Fiery Furnaces
'Tsukema Tsukeru' by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
'Fashion Monster' by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
I can say please enjoy with your own world. And it would be great if you find your customers and they look happy with your items.