Meet Yasuo-range, the Tokyo illustrator using geometric expressions to transform the nondescript
Yasuo-range has made a name for herself for her unique take on still life illustration, and is pushing forward the genre in new and exciting ways.
- Joey Levenson
- 5 April 2022
The work of Tokyo-based illustrator Yasuo-range is retro in all the right ways. Somewhat Bauhaus and distinctly Japanese, her illustrations take on a life of their own with vivid nostalgic colour palettes and “geometrical expressions using straight lines and circles,” the artist explains to It’s Nice That. It’s all part of the process of fusing the digital with analogue, which Yasuo thrives off. “I am looking for my own expression by fusing the clear shape of a digital work with the taste and fluctuation like analogue,” she explains. “It’s like drawing a work while constantly experimenting.”
After working as a UI designer at a Japanese company, Yasuo-range went on to become an independent illustrator and animator. Producing work for herself has opened a myriad of creative possibilities, and deeply refined the creative process. “First, I make a rough sketch on my iPad, and then I draw the same motif repeatedly to find the ideal deformed expression,” Yasuo-range tells us on how she achieves her unique visual language. “A comfortable shape may be found quickly, or it may only be found after days of rest, and I try to enjoy this process as much as possible.” Sitting on shapes and colours as they come to her is what’s led Yasuo-range to perfect the art of “combining multiple motifs” to find their “connections and overlaps,” where new faces can be seen in the final drawing. “After that, I make a clean copy on a PC and colour it,” she adds. “I'd like to draw with paint someday, but now I'm expressing it all digitally.”
GalleryYasuo-range: untitled (Copyright © yasuo-range, 2021)
“I think I'm influenced by everything I see and hear, especially while exploring old interiors, picture books and used clothes,” Yasuo-range says on what influences her aesthetic. “I can feel the culture of various times and countries unconsciously.” Seeing these daily inspirations unfold in Yasuo-range’s work is a feast for the eyes, as they elaborate in surreal, colourful, yet gentle ways. In her People series, for example, we see varying figures of Tokyo take up each frame in typical Yasuo-range style. “Last year, when I was having trouble with my expression, I stopped drawing compositions and drew a single motif,” Yasuo-range says on the series. “I sought a way to tell a story only through the form of the person.”
People and still life are the motifs that the artist has always drawn since she first went independent, and we can’t think of a better illustrator in the Tokyo scene today transforming the nondescript into something dynamic and beautiful. Yasuo-range also has a solo exhibition coming up in the summer and autumn of 2022, which we’ll be anticipating in the meantime. “This is the first time for me to hold a solo exhibition,” she says in excitement. “And overall as a long-term goal, I would just like to continue exploring so that I can draw in my own unique shape.”
Yasuo-range: people (Copyright © yasuo-range, 2021)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, 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.