Today, we are excited to post the second week of Grace Lee’s sketches (done exclusively for Anthology!). This time around, Grace is sharing drawings of some of her most treasured items. I especially love the illustration of her cat clock; I can completely visualize the real thing hanging up on a wall. We also asked Grace a few questions about her life and work in Japan.
When did you start drawing and decide to become an illustrator?
I studied visual communications at university and worked as a designer for about four years before moving to Japan. While working on editorials and advertising, I was really lucky to have brilliant art directors who let me do line illustrations on layouts that needed it. Originally when I came to Japan, I thought I wanted to continue doing design, but decided about a year ago that I enjoyed illustration more. I guess that’s when I made the switch and started to really focus on drawing.
Why did you make the big move to Japan?
When I was a teenager, my sister was a ‘host mother’ to a Japanese home-stay student and we sort of became pen-pals. She would send me bits and pieces from Japan and vice-versa. My brother-in-law also loved Japan a lot, so both of these factors had a huge influence on my moving here. After my first visit in 2007, I decided that I’d like to try living here. It’s a great source of inspiration for work and just such an amazing place to live. Things that are everyday here, are still so interesting and new to me even after two and a half years on.
Do you plan on living there much longer?
I have three more years on my visa, so I’m thinking I’ll stay for at least another two if not the whole three. I love traveling around Japan, so I probably won’t be leaving until I’ve visited most of the places I’d like to see on my list.
The cat clock’s name is Simone (as written on the box) but unfortunately I’ve since had to shut Simone down. The relentless noise her sliding tail was all too much. Eventually when I leave Japan, I’ll be taking Simone with me. She was given to me from my amazing and funny friend Mary. A couple of years ago, Mary came to visit and also bought me my pink fridge.
Blue pouch: This was from my mum. My mum has a whole drawer of these types of pouches. She gave this one to me (with some rosary beads inside) before I left for Japan. I’m not a believer like her, but the pouch and those beads always remind me of how much she believes in me.
Red cuff links: When I first moved to Japan and I didn’t have a lot of money. I needed to buy a suit for a job interview. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Michelle, sent a suit, shirt, and these cuff links over. They meant something to her and she passed them on to me to give me a bit of luck.
I don’t even think my sister knows, but I still have this Thoreau magnet from when I graduated from high school in 1997. Anne gave this to me back then and I brought it with me to Japan as a reminder of why I came.