Araki Koman created the stunning monochrome mural in our creative coworking space, while her character and line illustrations were also adapted to use as large format wallpaper art on our top floor. We recently caught up with Araki to hear more about her background and hopes for this time next year…
I’m a designer and illustrator from Paris, currently living in London. I’ve been drawing since I was young. As a child I drew a lot of fashion illustration, with a lot of colour. But at 16 I had a creative block, because I felt I was not good enough. So, for 10 years I was not doing any art. I was at Business School and I travelled. But while travelling I realised I could have been an artist, because I was meeting creative people everywhere and discovering inspiration again. At the time I was doing a master’s degree in International Marketing, but these people I met were making a living from their art and made me think if I should consider my choices again.
After graduating I worked in online marketing, but I wasn’t happy where I was as I wasn’t using my real potential. So, I decided to move from Paris and do a 9-month Graphic Design course in London. During my studies I was mostly using digital tools. I was happy to recover my creativity but felt I could be happier sketching. In the end it was a simple pen that helped me unlock my creativity. It was sketching with the pen that I found my style.
For the mural on the first floor at This Time Next Year, well, that was actually quite stressful – it was a first for me and previously I’d never drawn on anything other than paper or textile. But it was also an interesting way to work, because the feeling of the drawings where different at a bigger-than-normal scale, while I was using different tools too. I was scared about losing my signature. But I’m really happy with how the mural came out as well, very happy with the result.
When I draw my work it’s in small format, the largest size is on A3. So, it was weird for me to see my small sketches become blown up and much bigger for the wallpaper. Again, I’m really, really happy with the wallpaper. It’s closer to my current minimalist style, closer to the direction I’d like to go in future with my work.
I’m really impressed with the interior design at This Time Next Year, the furniture selection and the design of the space. I especially love the third floor which is very airy and light. It’s a nice place to work as a creative and I’m sure it will be inspiring for the freelancers and companies who will work from there.
And where would I like to myself this time next year? I’m planning to move to Japan this Autumn and will be there for a minimum of a year. I will see what kind of artistic opportunities I will have, but my dream would be to live there longer term.
You can keep up to date with Araki’s latest work via her Instagram, Twitter and website, while you can purchase items from her online store.