Terry’s drawings of people at Starbucks are as important as her comments on them. She’s a Starbucks anthropologist.
MC: What is your relationship to Tokyo?
TS: I was born and raised in Tokyo. I’ve been in Saitama and Kyoto, and I have lived for twenty-one years in Tokyo.
MC: When and why did you start drawing the city?
TS: I have been drawing people while commuting on the train, starting a year ago. I like people’s faces. People who are sleeping, operating a smartphone and are frustrated, or people doing their makeup in public. I am drawing the problems of a contemporary person.
MC: How do you combine drawing with your work?
TS: I don’t. It has not yet led to work.
MC: Tell us about the place that you have selected.
TS: I drew on the train and at the Shibuya Starbucks. On the train I can observe people’s faces from the front and the gestures of people. At Starbucks there are a lot of people of varying age, sex, and nationality.
MC: What’s your favorite Tokyo place?
TS: My favorite place is the station square bench in Jiyugaoka. There are beautiful cherry trees in the spring. I will go out there with a water bottle on a warm day. I like to take my time to watch the families, couples, high school girls, mothers, and dogs.
MC: Who is a reference for your work or is there someone whose work you particularly admire?
TS: I like Katsuki Tanaka. He is a cartoonist, an art director, and a writer. His appeal is his importance of living plainly over making humorous manga. I respect his artwork.
MC: Did drawing change your life and if it did can you explain us in what way?
TS: I have an instinctive feeling for what I see when drawing. I had never thought deeply about “What do I see,” “How do I feel if,” ”Why did I feel so.” I noticed that I was watching invisible things unconsciously. I became able to reconsider my value objectively, so it seems that I taught to myself to draw.
Terry Satomi is an illustrator from Tokyo. She is a graduate of the Department of Graphic Design from the Tama Art University.