In Tokyo, Ichijo Hikaru is looking beyond Japanese beauty standards for her illustrations

Ichijo talks to us about her exciting illustration portfolio, which gives space to the incredible diversity of women.

Date
25 October 2021

Ichijo Hikaru is doing things a little differently in the Tokyo illustration scene. With her keen use of the Ben-Day dots and an eye for the woman’s body, Ichijo is an illustrative talent to watch. Although at first look, Ichijo’s pieces often appear to have been Risographed, the work is all rendered digitally. Dynamic and creative shapes come to life in the form of abstract faceless female characters – lending themselves well to sports poses and static action sequences. “I originally wanted to be a graphic designer, so I did some design work at first,” Ichijo tells us. “But during the course of my work, I realised that I was more interested in the illustrations used on posters and packages than in the designs themselves, so I started illustrating.” Graphic elements can still be found in Ichijo’s work, with bold colours and simple compositions often taking the forefront. But, it’s her keen eye for replicating printing techniques on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop that elevates her illustrations to another level.

“In terms of motifs, my intention is to break away from the values of beauty and ugliness by not depicting faces,” Ichijo tells us. The models of her illustrations take up poses that celebrate the nuances of their bodies, giving a slight edge of sexuality to the overall powerful and playful stances. Further to that, Ichijo breaks from traditional standards of beauty by portraying every race and body type in her illustrations, something she says is severely lacking in Japanese advertising. In place of the generic skinny white model template, Ichijo thrives on the inspiration of diversity.

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Ichijo Hikaru: Apartment#109 (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: Apartment#113 (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: Apartment#113 (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

Whilst she remains busy cultivating her illustration practice, Ichijo has recently extended her talents into the world of ceramics. “I started out creating with ceramics just as a way to relax,” she says. “I had been spending a lot of time looking at screens such as computers and smartphones, so I wanted to use my hands to create in the real world in three dimensions.” As Ichijo continued down the avenue of making her ceramics, she began to realise that they were cohesive with her illustration art. Female figures take the form of an incense holder, a flower vase, and more. “My idea of a work of art can fit in with our daily lives.”

As for what’s next, Ichijo is hoping to “play a part in making more creative and better advertisements, packages, and other things that abound in the world,” all the while continuing to grow her large following across social media. Whilst Ichijo is already tearing up the Tokyo scene, we know she has plenty of exciting opportunities around the world yet to come.

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Ichijo Hikaru: Reebok (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2019)

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Ichijo Hikaru: track and field/P (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2019)

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Ichijo Hikaru: Apartment#112 (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: Apartment#106 (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: Tokkuri (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: chill out (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: chill out (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: PANDA (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: FOOT WORK (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: idol (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: idol (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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Ichijo Hikaru: track and field (Copyright © Ichijo Hikaru, 2021)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in May 2020 after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

jl@itsnicethat.com

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