Mac on Tokyo: Marika
Tokyo designer Marika was born and bred in The World’s Greatest Metropolis. This made her a perfect choice to collaborate with Maction Planet on a new apparel collection, which adds a new dimension to the our range of Tokyo-inspired T-shirts. Mac, Founder of Maction Planet, caught up with her to talk about her background, inspiration and love of Tokyo.
Maction Planet: Hi Marika. Welcome to Maction Planet! It’s great to be chatting to celebrate our collaboration. Let’s start by talking about your background. How did you get your start in art and design?
Marika : Hi Mac. I’m really happy I am able to collaborate with Maction Planet!
Since I was child, I have always been interested in entertainment like art, music, cartoons and so on. When I had to decide which university to enter, my mother suggested I take a graphic design course in art university. That sounded fun! As I also liked using computers, so I felt I was suited to be a graphic designer. So that’s how I started to study art and design and entered art university.
MP: It is always great to be able to pursue your passions into university. Which university did you go to?
M: I went to Tama Art University.
MP: After graduation, were you able to use your design skills straight away?
M: Actually, even before graduating, I joined a local project group and did some work designing magazines, logotypes and mascot characters. I was able to make use of that experience after graduation.
MP: Your mascot characters are extremely popular! You’ve designed some for a lot of different companies and projects. Can you talk to us about some of your favourites?
M: Thank you. I like “COCOTANUKI” a local mascot character of Setagaya Kinuta. The motif is a raccoon. The colours of that character are only black and white because I like simple and minimalist art and design. Recently I often design portrait characters of sport players.
MP: COCOTANUKI has proven to have great longevity as a character. When did you first create him, and what were the requirements or brief you had?
M: I created him when I was in third grade in the university. There were no requirements. It was completely up to me. I like to design simply shaped and coloured mascot characters like Snoopy and Miffy. because those characters are memorable. There are so many cute characters in Japan, but graphically clean and simple characters are a minority.
MP: Your sports player art is really great. Can you share some images with us?
M: Sure! Here are some of my personal works – Takuma Sato, the champion of Indy 500; Kaoru Morioka, the Japanese professional futsal player; and Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus FC’s goalkeeper .
MP: They all look fantastic! Clearly, you are a big football fan. Which team do you support?
M: I support Kawasaki Frontale.
MP: Our rivals in the Tamagawa classic! I support FC Tokyo!
M:I really like to go to see Tamagama classic match! It’s always so exciting.
MP: Me too! My second FC Tokyo game was a Tamagawa Classic in November 2006 where FC Tokyo won 5-4! What has been your favourite game so far this year?
M: You’ve been a fan of FC Tokyo for a long time! I like the match of Kawasaki Frontale vs Kashima Antlers on August 13th. Frontale played a short passing game and won.
MP: That was a great game indeed! Let’s talk about your designs for Maction Planet. They are all amazing. Can you tell us a bit about your thinking behind each design?
M: All these designs are inspired by Tokyo, the city I was born and raised in.
I Love Sumo: Sumo is a really exciting sport. I want a lot more people to watch it and see the passion, history and culture behind it.
Tokyo Rocks: A Kabuki actor has an electric guitar! Tokyo is a place where Japan’s own culture and western culture have fused, rather like this guy!
Sushi chef: There are a lot of cats living in Tokyo, and they love raw fish, so it seemed a natural combination!
Samurai Salaryman: An original character – a blend of an office worker (a “Salaryman”) and a Samurai. Two characters straight from the fabric of Japanese society!
Which one is your favourite Mac?
MP: I really love them all! They bring a new aesthetic to Maction Planet. If I could only pick one, it would have to be Samurai Salaryman. I think that is partly to do with the fact that I once was a Salaryman myself!
How long did it take you to come up with these amazing designs?
M: About 1 week. Inspiration would hit me around lunch time and that is when I would flesh out these characters.
MP: Let’s talk about your love of Tokyo now. Where are your favourite places?
M: I like Aoyama and Daikanyama.
MP: Those are really stylish parts of town. Why do you enjoy them so much?
M: Both are kind of quiet. There are not so many people. I can have fun shopping at many different kinds of stores.
MP: We also love those areas – they are key locations on some of our tours. Apart from for Maction Planet, what other projects are you working on right now?
M: I’m joining a project to make a magazine in Setagaya area. I design the pages of that magazine and cover. And, in another project, I design clothes for futsal.
MP: Fantastic! You have managed to a large following on Instagram. You have over 4,000 followers! Why do think people are attracted to your work?
M: I think the reason is that my work is not typical portrait art. They are mainly white and only use few colours, rather like pop art and comic characters. People seem to like these minimalist artworks, and they are suited for the format of Instagram.
MP: Well, I am sure people want to see your art for a long time to come. Any final words to your fans you would like to say?
M: Thank you! I hope that will be so! Thank you for all the likes and kind comments. They are always encouraging me. I hope you keep watching and enjoying my Instagram page!
Maction Planet x Marika shirts are priced at ¥3,500 and available at shop.mactionplanet.com.