September 19, 2012
Satsuki Shibuya is an LA area artist / designer of handmade goods and an intrepid explorer of the creative process. We first learned about Satsuki when we became one of her many devoted followers on Pinterest, and the instant we learned she was a local designer, we invited her to bring her ware and join us at our pop-up event earlier this year, to which she kindly obliged.
We recently met up with Satsuki at her lovely (and impeccably clean) home studio to talk about her design process, living and working in LA, and to check in on her one-of-a-kind necklace for our shop!
Koshka: How would you describe your typical work day?
Satsuki: Lately I’ve been working on being respectful of my body and basing my day on how I’m feeling; So some days will be filled with sketching and others I’ll be sewing or blogging. When you work from a home studio it’s easy to get sucked into your work and you can forget to take care of the normal things, like eating and resting! So I’ve been really trying to balance work and relaxation, especially since it’s when I’m just chillin’ that I tend to get my best ideas.
K: Your heritage is Japanese but you grew up in California. How did you come to develop such a minimal aesthetic and not have the beachy or Hollywood vibe of LA infiltrate your work?
S: Aesthetically I’m really drawn to Japanese and Scandanavian design because I feel like they have a certain warmth to them. I also go gaga over Finnish designers like, Marimekko. Because LA is so busy and I’m a homebody, I guess I’m just always searching for that cozy homeyness and naturally gravitate towards those design aesthetics.
K: As an LA area designer, do you feel like you fit into the local design/art community here in any way?
S: I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in. I never felt like I fit into a particular group or clique. I appreciate people’s work and I like talking to them and getting to know them, but I personally like to work in my own little world. I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily in a community but I think with the variety of creatives in LA, I can tap into and connect with all sorts of people to get an overview of different creative ideas or ways of handling design situations. I do have a small group of people who I turn to when I need feedback or help with ideas, but we all do different things, like one’s a stylist, one’s a photographer, and one’s a graphic designer / interior designer. I do like being on the outside though because it gives me freedom to roam and experiment with different mediums and not be confined and be known for doing just that one thing.
K: Do you ever get frustrated with the creative process given the constant pressure to produce new things?
S: All the time! Especially with everything being online and so accessible, you always feel like you’re being one-upped and your newest thing is getting pushed back. But what I’ve come to realize is that you really have to be mindful of your capabilities and just work at your own pace. Some people constantly and quickly produce new things and other people just make a few brilliant things once or twice a year. Personally, the way I approach frustration if I’m stuck on a certain project is to step away and look it at different angle, or I try to channel an artist I admire, or I’ll just put it aside or a bit. I don’t think frustration’s a bad thing though because it helps you push yourself to the next level. If things are coming too easily, I feel it’s too comfortable and you may just be designing the same thing and really not pushing your limits.
K: When working with brands or companies are you picky with who you collaborate with?
S: Yes, not because it’s, “Oh I have the right to be picky”, but because I’m very particular about my work being executed a certain way. I have to 100% fully believe in what a company does, otherwise I feel like it affects the work. For me, money is not worth compromising for. For example, I was approached by a big company for a project and they were willing to give me a generous offer, but at the end of the day I knew that if I didn’t feel strongly about it, it wouldn’t turn out that great and I wouldn’t be happy with it even though the client might be. I’d made the mistake of doing so before and I’ve learned my lesson. I understand it’s hard to say no to money and recognition if it’s right in your face, but it leads you down different paths that you don’t necessarily want to head into.
K: Now for a fashion question! How would you describe your personal style and when you go out, what do you like to wear?
S: I love clothes that are comfortable whether you’re in or out, but still fashionable. I love looking at high fashion and admire the women who dress that way, but personally I can’t walk in stilettos to save my life. The type of shoes I tend to like are oxfords or if it’s a heel, it’d be a wooden heel. I love simple shapes, simple lines, but with interesting details. So if the material’s jersey it might have polka dots on it or if it’s a silk top, it’s in a simple square silhouette but with a cut out in the back. I guess I’d term my style “comfy chic”. [We love comfy chic!]
Our exclusive one-of-a-kind Satsuki Shibuya ‘Braid of Love’ Necklace.
More photos from our studio visit:
Satsuki’s ‘Comfy Chic’ Koshka Picks
To learn more about Satsuki Shibuya and to keep up with her blog, visit her website at: www.satsukishibuya.com