Different creatures live in the enigmatic and Japanese-style universe of Izumi Idoia, painter and illustrator.
We can see female, childish or ghostly figures who take us in a different sphere.
Let’s discover Izumi’s creations and background.
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Izumi Idoia. I am an independant illustrator and painter in Nantes. My real name is Basque (my father was born in Bilbao), Idoia means water source. My nickname is Izu, it started in 1999 at Map Gamsau laboratory in Marseille. Then, I went to Japan in 2004 and I discovered the Izu Peninsula and Izumi, a firstname which means water source!!
How would you define your universe?
My drawings and my paintings are often based on female, childish or ghostly creatures and a wealth of plant patterns. It is imbued with dreams, dance, music and japanese aesthetism. I like to work with colors and question the link between body and nature, present and beyond, soft and wild. I also need a deep link with the world of ghosts because this is where my mother have long lived.
Where and when have you decided to launch your activity?
After my studies, I worked for six years as an illustrator and graphic designer employee in different styling departments in Barcelona and I set up my own business when I got back to Paris in 2006. I found an agent, I met many artistic directors and gradually, I received more and more orders from the fashion and the edition fields. I also started to work with my really nice editor : Mon Petit Art!
What have been your background before this launch?
I simultaneously studied architecture and multimedia in Bordeaux, Barcelona, Montepellier and Marseille and lyric art in music. I learned many things but, gradually, it became clear I was not good enough in architecture and I wanted to keep playing music for fun so I didn’t know what to do!
When I graduated, I just knew I didn’t want to work in France so I moved to Barcelona where I found a shared apartment with a couple of painters (happy coincidence) and I did odd jobs by answering to offers I liked. A month later, I was hired by Dresslab (an online art and fashion magazine) by showing my drawings book.
From there, I gathered experience by working for Nomon Design, Agatha Ruiz de La Prada, Jordi Labanda… where I really learned everything: to draw all kind of things in different styles, to create patterns, to use Photoshop and Illustrator, to prepare technical documents for China, to create websites, to program events, to make animations…What a delight and amazing meetings, I’ve loved these six years!
Briefly, I never told myself: ‘I will be an illustrator’ but I followed my instinct and that seems to work!?
How did this passion start?
My family environment was quite creative so I used to observe adults creating, painting, acting…My father and my mother loved to draw, to sing, to visit exhibitions, to buy beautiful books and coloured fabrics. I observed a lot my grandmother’s flowers-collages, my stepfather’s very beautiful paintings who offered me my first watercolor box at 10 years old, it really clicked!
I remember my pleasure was to lock me up with rock or opera and draw during hours, and often singing, it didn’t change 😉
When have you created your first illustration and which kind of illustration was it?
When I was in primary school, my teacher used to hang my drawings on the wall and my friends were happy to receive it as a gift.
Otherwise, my first paid illustration was a series of fashion drawings after a show in Barcelona for Dresslab magazine, in 2000, I think.
How do you organize your creation process ?
I am constantly bubbling so I always have notebooks to doodle (even at night).
The process is the same for my orders and personal projects. At the beginning, I go elsewhere, often in a coffee shop and I start to write words, to sketch things then I go for a walk then I write and draw again… When I have ideas, I go to the library and I look for key images on the internet, it helps me to keep track. I often gather images on a moodboard so my brain stays connected to the idea I have chosen. When I am stucked, I go for a walk again.
It is a sinious process driven by doubt then euphoria, then doubt and euphoria again…
I am looking for inspiration in many fields: contemporary art, fashion, music, science, astronomy, literature… I am attracted by what’s new and by the future, I am not nostalgic nor interested in garage sale.
Regarding my personal creations, I am mostly driven by music to try to make visible the invisible. It allows me to let myself be driven by colourful visions and hynotic dreams. Then, I improvise in an instinctive and and playful way. These are precious moments when I feel outside the world and besides the wide world at the same time, far away from here…I love it.
Where do you find inspiration?
In Nantes, I find it in libraries, in exhibition places, in shows or simply in my garden or my daughter’s eyes. But the most inspiring thing, to me, is Japan (I go back there in April 2017!) and the infinite universe but I haven’t a cosmonaut diploma yet!
To read the next part : Izumi Idoia – 2/3 Know-how
Photos : © Izumi Idoia. Photographies fournies par Izumi Idoia et publiées avec son autorisation.