As we are sure you already know, we at Utopia Playground love discovering and dissecting the minds of some really amazing artists from around the world. We are back again, interviewing an incredible illustrator, Pedro Takahashi, who we have been following for a very long time, admiring his work from a distance like a giddy fan. When we first got a look at Pedro’s work, it instantly gave off a very somber, melancholic atmosphere to us. At the same time, the surreal scenes which he brings to life are very graceful and statuesque. We love to find art that we can look at and say “I have never seen anything like this before”. And with Pedro’s portfolio, we can say just that. Without further ado, lets jump right into the interview.
Where and how did your journey into the arts begin?
I have been drawing since childhood, but art emerged as an outlet in my teenage years. At age 13 I started learning guitar and spent hours playing in my room, in those moments I could be myself and express my feelings without worry. Later in Graphic Design College, I went back to drawing and went deeper and deeper into illustration and visual arts until I found my own style.
What artistic influences have you adopted to shape your personal style?
Dark art, sculpture, surrealism, manga…I believe these are the biggest influences in my work. Some artists that inspire me: Zdzisław Beksiński, Ellen Rogers, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Takehiko Inoue and Tite Kubo.
What keeps you motivated to create such tranquil, captivating pieces?
I love nature, could spend hours observing the sky, the trees and the animals. The planet we live on is wonderful and full of beautiful things to see, art is a means to create other worlds to be appreciated. I discovered that as an artist I can also create my own world in this immense universe.
Can you tell us a little about your background and culture?
I grew up in a small town and was raised in a catholic family, so my worldview was tightly closed but gradually I expanded it. As I said before, I went to a graphic design college, but I was always reading books about art, psychology and philosophy, which are the areas that interest me most today.
How would you say your surroundings and experiences have helped shape your work?
There were several phases to shape my work, I initially did pen illustrations, they were two-dimensional drawings with thin and simple strokes. After I began to study realism and improved concepts of light, shadow, perspective and anatomy, I copied works of art that I admired as a form of training. At one point I decided to return with the two-dimensional drawing but using digital means to produce my art.
There are a few recurring characters throughout your body of work. Who are they and what do they represent?
In fact, all have pretty much the same face, I usually change just a few details like hair. I have a fascination for faces and since I decided to create my own style, I worked incessantly until I got the “perfect face” for my arts.
What are your opinions on platforms such as Behance, Utopia and Instagram which help the modern day artist reach a wider audience?
These platforms are essential for us artists to gain recognition. If it were not for the internet I would never have known many incredible artists around the world and my work would never have come to you.
Describe a real-life situation or event that inspired you?
I once went to a small town on the coast where there were few people on the beach and the more I walked the more it became deserted, until I got to a point where there was no one. I felt in another era, It was as if I were in a place that the human being had not yet touched with its impurity. Diving into that deep blue sea was like being in paradise, past and future didn’t exist, only that ethereal moment.
Do you have a dream project you would love to work on some day?
I never thought about it very much, but it would be incredible to do a collaboration with some bands or musicians that I admire. I would also like to illustrate books such as Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.
What can we expect from you in 2017/18?
I intend to expand my art to other media than digital. I am setting up an online T-shirt shop in which I will continue my style of art.
The dictionary defines ‘Utopia’ as an imaginary place or state in which everything is perfect. What is your own personal utopia?
Living in some region of the universe of Tolkien or George R.R. Martin. It would be a dream to live on the top of some “middle-earth” mountain where I can see the whole horizon around me and contemplate the beautiful landscapes while I listen to my favourite songs and smoke a pipe!