Interview with Harun
Harun is a illustrator presently located in Osaka, Japan. She specializes in cute bright images of monsters. She loves monsters! Her work has been displayed online for companies such as Monster Pinup Girls, Cocopink Lovers and M.I.C. (Miss Independent Clothing) and DYBIH Cosmetics and can also be seen on T-shirts and stickers.
Harun also attends live paint events and conferences. Some of those include the Junx Outside Toy Show, Kyoto Art Festival, and Monster Rumble.
Harun, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about yourself and where you grew up?
I was born and raised in Nagoya, Aichi. Since I got married on last March, I have moved to Osaka and am currently working based on here.
My pieces are inspired by arts, movies from overseas, Japanese Cartoons, comic books (Manga/Anime) a lot.
Were you always interested in art as a child? Did you like to draw and paint at a young age?
Reading comic books, watching Animes have been the one of my favorite things since I was a little, and I have been always drawing or copying those characters. I am still doing the same thing.
Were there artists in your family?
No, I am the first one. However my dad and big sister are good at drawings as well, and my mom is very crafty and her sewing skill is amazing.
Are you formally trained in art or did you teach yourself ?
I went to High school and College in Nagoya where I could learn specially about design. They taught me how to find the fitting expression for my drawings, how to work with computer for my designs.
Your work reminds me of a combination of Ed Roth and Tim Burton. What artists out there do you admire?
Yes, you are absolutely right! I love their works!!! I am heavily influenced by their particular worldview, and also attracted by the huge eyes of their characters. Shigeru Mizuki, who is one of the most popular comic artist in Japan gives me a lot of impression as well. His “Yokai” (means “Monster” in Japanese) are too cute. Changing those “Yokai”, which should be scary, to something lovely, or the delicateness of his drawings are really amazed to me.
Some of your recent work is for online websites. Can you tell us a little about these types of jobs?
For example, I designed the top banner on this website. (www.cocopink-lovers.com)
First, I draw the picture by hand, then scan it to my MAC, edit it by image-editing software. My pieces are edited by computer, but the nuanced drawings by hand is essential.
How do you come up with the concepts for your characters?
I decide the theme from anything, such as personal belongings, foods, music instruments and clothings which are in sight, then create monsters with combining my favorite things, like gross accessories, gaudy patterns, or eccentric hairstyles, and make them cute, fun, but still little scary.
Tell us a little but about your painting at the Junx Outside Toy Show.
Junx Outside Toy Show is the popular, but underground event which has the mixture of sub-cultures including Toys. Many toy figures customized by artists including me who participated the event goes on a display.
In my case, I tried to custom mine with my own character on it so that everybody could recognize it as “Harun’s” . Also, me and other two Illustrators had a “Live Paintings” on the big stage in front of the spectators. Each of us drew our favorite characters or images on three big canvases, after we finish, stick them to one big piece.
Sub-cultuer event made me got some ideas from movies or animiations for my drawings, and added some grim taste because the event was held on Halloween.
One thing you do that I love is your “Paint a Monster” portraits where you do characterizations of people as “monsters”. What reaction do you get when they see their finished portraits?
Some of my friends requested me to draw their portrait like monsters. They were happy to see their faces have been drawn with only one eye, or three eyes, or like zombies. They use those pictures with pretty picture frames for wall decorations, wall paper for their cellphones, profile photo on their own websites.
What do you hope to be doing professionally in the future with your illustration?
I would like to have my own business creating my illustrations to be like a brand name. For example when you see “Harun”, it’s a recognizable logo that everyone knows. Using my illustrations on fashion items such as T-shirts, Bags, Underwears, and ask the toy companies to produce my character’s figures, sell them not only in Japan also in overseas! Designing the CD jackets/sleeves for popular musicians is also one of my dreams. If my own characters could appear in the hollywood movies someday, I would pass out with too much excitement!
Have you ever thought of animating your characters?
I have made a simple short animation with my illustrations when I was in college. I would like to try to produce a long animation someday. I was thrilled to see my characters acting like if there were really alive.
When you are not working what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I try to look for some clues(hints?) which can be used on my work with going for shopping or movies. Also, I often get myself down to the all kinds of art show and events. Seeing those unique, distinct people who would be at those shows is one of the things I enjoy.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Visit my websites! (it’s in Japanese though). Me and my monsters are welcoming you!!!