Last year I was introduced to the work of Benicco through OROCHI. This band toured Europe during March and April of last year, promoting the mini-album -HYAKKA RYORAN- featuring the artwork of Benicco. Because of this, I took a look at the other works Benicco had created. After I asked her if she would be interested in an interview she was honoured. In the meantime, she didn’t go silent with her works. She has exhibited her work several times and she provided artwork for the 風ノ姿花伝ウ (kaze no sugata hana tsutau) by OROCHI. Despite all of this time-consuming work, she did manage to free some time for an interview with AVO Magazine.
AVO: Since not everyone is familiar with you or your works, could you please briefly introduce yourself?
Benicco: I was born in Japan in 1981, graduated from the design section of the Art school of Nihon University. I started my history as an illustrator at a design agency in 2008. After that, I became a freelance illustrator and graphic designer for a makeup brand in 2012. Aside from that, I’m responsible for the art direction of the Samurai Rock band OROCHI. I utilize the Béziecurve method in Japanese paintings with “Romantic modern” as a theme. My art style is stylish and exists of women, fashion, and you have to feel sexy somewhere.
AVO: Did you know what kind of illustrations you wanted to make when you were a child?
Benicco: Ever since I was a little girl, I used to draw portraits of girls wearing my designer dresses. I think I subconsciously started as a designer and illustrator during that time.
AVO: Where do you find your inspiration? Do you come up with the ideas, or do others come up with the ideas?
Benicco: My most important source of inspiration are the objects surrounding me in my daily life: images from the TV, music, pictures in magazines, advertisements and photographs. When I was drawing I didn’t try to see something. Pieces of my memories could help building the new idea. An interesting conversation can push me in the right direction creatively as well, and can lead to a good result.
AVO: Is there a certain style you’d like to use in your works? A signature style that’s recognizable in your work?
Benicco: Like I said I utilize the Béziecurve from the Adobe Illustrator program to draw. I also use techniques from Adobe Photoshop along the side if needed. I try to represent the traditional Japanese art with the lines and textures.
AVO: How much time do you spend on average to get to the end design?
Benicco: Most pieces are finished within one or two days. If the piece in question is very large in size or requires more Photoshop-work it takes three days to be finished.
AVO: What is your favourite colour, and why? Is it used a lot in your work?
Benicco: My favourite colour is the traditional Japanese colour “Midori-ao” (blue) and “He” (red). I like using mainly the traditional colours. Japanese colours have names with rich emotions and we can see their stories. So I use the names as motifs for my piece. Sometimes I use monotone, because it reminds me of the colour of ink.
AVO: When is your preference to work? During the day, or during the night?
Benicco: I prefer to work during the night. I’m also working as art director and graphic designer, which I do during the day. During the night I work on the drawings.
AVO: What has been your favourite assignment thus far?
Benicco: My favourite assignment is the art direction for OROCHI. I really appreciate that they are always counting on me in regards to all the designing.
AVO: Did you ever have any trouble with creating a design, or got in trouble with the time?
Benicco: I always get in trouble with the time when I have a tight schedule with various projects running at the same time. For example: the order of turning in works was disrupted. My process was slowed because of the files being too large. I felt really bad.
AVO: You are connected to the project Blue Roses. Blue Roses was created in 2009. What exactly is the goal of this project?
Benicco: “Blue Roses” is an artists project of 17 “Girls Illustration’ artists. The project’s goal is to expand the “Girls Illustration’. The project has art exhibits in Japan and other countries, and it creates merchandise as well. The “Blue Roses” project is managed purely with the artists themselves.
AVO: Can you tell us something about your latest illustration?
Benicco: I don’t have anything to tell about my illustration. Because the goal of my piece is for people to imagine their own stories in their hearts when they see it.
AVO: What are the things you certainly want to illustrate in the future?
Benicco: I want to draw something like the feeling inside of the humans. I would want to integrate a compromise of the representations of the Eastern and Western fashion without the result feeling like the sum of both because of the use of individual styles, layout, arrangement or some other influence.
AVO: Which tips do you want to share with our readers / beginning illustrators?
Benicco: Draw as much as possible of what you truly like.
AVO: We’ve reached the final question, is there something that you’d like to share with our Dutch and Belgian readers?
Benicco: Me and Teresa, also an art director, illustrator and graphic designer, have created a creative team under the name “Papillion”. A big assignment which we’ve worked on is the art direction of the drama “ONIKIRI-HIME 2” in 2013. The vocalist of the rock band ViViD played the lead role on this. “Papillion” likes to create art which makes it possible to express in different scenes of the fashionable good compromise between East and West, together with the mass of Japanese traditional and modern styles. Keep an eye on the upcoming activities of “Papillion”!
I would like to thank Benicco for her time to answer the questions, and Teresa for the help with the translation. Follow Benicco on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates about her and her new project. And of course her website.