Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Toshinori Mori ("TM") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
TM : I enrolled in the mechanical department of the university, but thought that it didn't suit me, dropped out and re-entered the graphic design department of a vocational school of design. I learned there for two years. So I haven't learned the specialized knowledge like I would at an art university. After purchasing a personal computer (Mac) personally, I learned how to use Illustrator and Photoshop from books.
TM : I've always liked drawing and crafting since I was a kid. I also understood that I had such a talent by winning prizes in contests. But I didn't think it would be a job in the future. One day when I was living a day-and-night reversal at university, I bought a book with a design that caught my eye, and I was impressed when he got a work of “Ayao Yamana” that had illustrations such as Shiseido drawn there. I entered a vocational school where I was the president. After that I got a job as a designer and became independent and worked on the project in front of me. I designed various things. However, from the age of 50, I started to question the idea of designing to help with consumption. So I started to draw original illustrations. I am currently drawing an illustration because there are people who are happy with this drawing.
TM : I can't say either. I think there was a flow of both. I haven't worked in a blessed environment as a designer. I worked on various projects desperately thinking that I could only do this job to eat. Now I understand that I was born to paint. I was destined to do this job.
TM : I am currently drawing works that will please everyone, but in the future I would like to make more art-oriented works. I think it will be a more abstract work with a more personal theme.
TM : A good design cannot be done just by sitting in front of a desk. Opening the five senses in nature and feeling what it means to be beautiful and what it means to be happy. The role of the designer is to think about how to make people happy.
TM : Good designers work for companies. Distinguishes designer works for the consumers.
TM : I think that a design that feels the designer's intention (I design according to this policy) is an excellent design.
TM : I think this is because I feel "happy and rich" by being able to own these products. I think that "happiness and abundance" is different depending on the person...
TM : If I have enough time, I would like to make an "artistic cat" by cutting out cardboard and assembling it. By being in space, it is a kind of object that can leave everyday life and make you feel "free" for a while. It's for myself, for cat lovers, and for art lovers.
TM : I would like to expand the picture of Tabineko to the actual size, and make a three-dimensional work by arranging each layer with a gap. So to speak, a full-scale "Tabineko" landscape. One can then actually enter the world of "Tabineko".
TM : The person making the product doesn't know whether the finished design will be finished as expected. Of course, I design with all the power I have, but there is no guarantee that it will get high marks. So, I spend most of my day in stoic. I don't want to waste my luck outside of design.
TM : The manga by Osamu Tezuka, which I read when I was a child, was a big influence. When I was a high school student, I once posted an illustration in a motorcycle magazine. I was also greatly influenced by the bike illustration of "Kimitoshi Honma," who was the winner at that time. I was also influenced by the manga artists “Yoshimoto Baron” and “Kazuo Kamimura” who had become college students. After becoming a toy designer, I adored designers who draw cute characters such as "Dick Bruna", "Charles Monroe Schulz" and "Tove Marika Jansson". Also, I was very much influenced by the movie work of "Hayao Miyazaki". However, my current favorite is "Matisse". ^_^
TM : I mentioned "Matisse" in the question above, but I can't say why I like Matisse's work. He says he likes the five senses inside me. I think he's in a "state" where a talented artist can make a tremendous effort and finally get to it. Isn't it because it comes from the work?
TM : As I said, I am attracted to the work of "Matisse". That's because his work makes me feel the essence of art.
TM : I worked hard on various jobs (illustration, graphic design, product design, package design, character design, etc.) each time. That's how I gradually expanded my skill range. I think that deepening various knowledge and experience in this way leads to the quality of the work.
TM : I enrolled in the mechanical department of the engineering department of the university, but dropped out and re-entered a vocational school of design. Therefore, I think that when I graduated from university as it was, I became an engineer for a machine manufacturer somewhere.
TM : I think it's a work to create things and things that make you feel "rich feeling". It contains "love", "dream", and "hope".
TM : I believed it was right to make a work that I was happy with. At one point, many people liked and purchased works that I didn't like. I realized that until then I was a lonely designer. I think that the person who bought it at this time made me who I am now.
TM : When the PC came out into the world, I was convinced that I would use it for designing in the future. After that, I learned by myself how the PC works and how to use various software. Similarly, SNS skills now give individual designers a great deal of sales power and sales power. Designers in the future will not be able to design. How to send it is also important.
TM : When I was in my 50s, I worked as a freelance designer. However, I realized that the requested work left me nothing. There was a lot of ad hoc design work that was quickly consumed. So I thought that I would make something I designed and sell it at an online shop to make a living. To do so, I saved the requested work and made my own work. I was very poor before I could live by selling my work. ^_^ I now think that period was necessary.
TM : I am currently publishing my work online for people all over the world. For designers and illustrators, we are presenting at Behance. If you are a fan of "Tabineko" illustrations, we will announce them on the "Tabineko" official website and Facebook "Tabi neko" page, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr, and Pinterest. We also make announcements on personal Facebook pages and blogs for acquaintances in the area. Anyway, I thought that it would be possible for various people to see by making presentations in various places, and I have increased the number of presentation sites.
TM : The work of making detailed digital illustrations using a personal computer has become difficult due to age. From now on, I would like to make analog tableaus and prints using paintbrushes. I'm thinking of going from a designer to an artist in the future.
TM : To publish a book of illustrations for "Tabineko".
TM : Maybe you are expected to make a new picture calendar every year. First, it's impossible. ^_^
TM : Now, under the influence of COVID-19, dark shadows are pointing to the hearts of people around the world. I think the role of my design is to brighten the hearts of those people.
TM : In the spring of 2020, sake using the illustration of "Tabinneko" as a label is now on sale. In the future, a total of 4 liquors will be on sale, one for each of the four seasons in spring, summer, autumn and winter. I'm excited to see the four lined up.
TM : After all, it is a "Tabinneko" illustration that continues from 2011 to the present. We have a lot of people who are fans and we also purchase works and goods.
TM : From now on, I think that the number of individual designers creating works themselves and delivering them directly to buyers around the world through SNS will increase. Also, I think that the design will be more focused on the part of the person's mind, and the difference between art and design will disappear.
TM : I think I'm heading in my heart. Design that makes you feel "richness of your heart" Designs that feel "love". Design of "emotion".
TM : In the case of Tabineko Illustration, it takes time to produce and ship the work, but it takes about a month to finish one illustration. It feels like it will be completed little by little every day. I can't force it. You can't do anything good even if you force it. I think I have the time needed to get it done.
TM : First, select the original landscape photo. If not, shoot it and go out.
TM : Take your time carefully.
TM : The feeling of living now determines the direction of design. In other words, I think trends determine design.
TM : Currently, whether you make something or print it, the basics are exchanging data. Design expressions are now treated as data. The role of technology lies in the digitization of expressions.
TM : Mac mini and EIZO monitor, EPSON printer PX5V &SC-PX3V Adobe Illustrator&Photoship
TM : Color is emotion, material is seasonal, environment is air
TM : What was your motivation to draw this picture?
TM : How is this made? Why did the designer choose this shape, color and material? Do not design like this for yourself.
TM : I haven't met such a wonderful partner yet. ^_^ I think co-design will be especially necessary in the coming era.
TM : Maybe my brother. It was my brother who brought me a new culture from my childhood. I often imitate what my older brother started, and in the end, I tend to be deeply absorbed in it.
TM : A comic for adults called "Cohabitation period" of "Kazuo Kmimura" that I read when I was a college student
TM : When I received a job request, I offered a service with more proposals than the other person requested. In other words, there are many wasteful parts. However, I think that this useless part has accumulated for many years, which has led to improving my skills.
TM : When I was a university student, there were many students of the same age in the apartment I rented, and I often gathered in someone's room and played mahjong until morning. After that, I dropped out and went to a vocational school in Tokyo, and I never met the members at the time. If possible, I would like to play mahjong again with the same members and in the same apartment.
TM : I applied for this award with the intention of becoming famous and getting people all over the world to know me. For now, it doesn't seem to be famous in Japan yet.^_^
TM : My favorite color is a little orange-yellow. The place is quiet Yamazato. Foods include tofu, eggplant, sweet potatoes, Japanese sweets, and coffee. The season is May of the fresh green. Do you like summer too? Items are bicycles, cars, motorcycles, computers, cameras, chairs. Brands are Apple, EPSON, Nikon, HITACHI, SUZUKI, IKEA.
TM : When I was working in toy design production, a request from a major motorcycle manufacturer came to me for a job called "Toy Designer Thinking Bike". At that time, I proposed a weakman type moped that runs while playing music, but I liked it and decided to make a full-scale mockup of only the outer shape. Before ordering the measures, we first made a simple mockup ourselves. I scraped Styrofoam, covered it with paper, painted it with gesso and colored it with acrylic paint. In the final prototype, a large dummy tape rotates and music plays. It was more of a big bike toy than a moped.^_^
TM : The music you listen to while you work, the cats that ask for rice, and the bicycle that frees you from work.
TM : Of course.^_^
TM : Maybe I'm dead in Millennium.
TM : You can buy my work at this store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/TabinekoJAPAN
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