Mariya’s innocent but critical view of her surroundings makes Tokyo look Mariya-like. All the things we know are there start to take life within the Mariya rules. Her delicate line and play with open spaces in the page make her drawings truly magical.
MC: What is your relationship to Tokyo?
MS: I moved to Tokyo in September 2014. I had visited the city a few times before, spending about a week each time.
MC: When and why did you start drawing the city?
MS: When I used to visit friends here, I would always be amazed and overwhelmed by the ever-continuing stream of people and the forest of buildings. I like to draw complicated things, so they naturally inspired me to draw.
MC: How do you combine drawing with your work?
MS: In addition to cityscapes and people in general, I draw a lot of musicians. I illustrate flyers and books for musicians and concert venues.
MC: What is it you tried to achieve with your drawings of Tokyo?
MS: Tokyo seems like a pretty crazy place, but there are also a lot of small, old streets that are very interesting. They somehow make me nostalgic. I like to draw places like that because it almost makes me feel like I become part of them.
MC: Tell us about the place that you have selected.
MS: I tend to be attracted to things in repetition when it comes to choosing subject matter. So, I drew a crowd of buildings overlooked from the Mori Art Museum and from the government office in Shinjuku, and a crowd of people in Roppongi. I also drew my room and my friends hanging out in the neighborhood. I see them as footprints/snapshots of my life.
MC: What’s your favorite Tokyo place?
MS: My favorite place in Tokyo is Heiwa Shotengai near my apartment. It’s an old, rather quiet shotengai (commercial street). I like how the air it produces makes me feel like I belong there, even though I’ve never lived there before.
MC: Who is a reference for your work or is there someone whose work you particularly admire?
MS: I’ve always liked the beautiful work of Akira Uno. I also admire Trey Bryan’s work, who is a contemporary artist and my friend.
MC: Did drawing change your life and if it did can you explain us in what way?
MS: Drawing has always been part of my life, so I don’t feel like it changed my life . . . at least it hasn’t yet.
Mariya Suzuki is a Japanese illustrator. She received her BFA in Illustration at California State University of Long Beach. After living in her hometown Nara, she decided to move to Tokyo in 2014. Now you can find her drawing in many cafes, at events, and in music venues.
www.mariyasketch.com | www.instagram.com/mariyasuzuki