Up until recently, I worked for an organization that gave me the chance to meet and befriend a number of artists from all over the world. One such artist was prolific manga novelist and all around talent Rica Takashima. Working since the 1980′s, Rica has done everything from television commercials to queer-friendly comics, video games to movies. She took time out of her busy schedule recently to answer a few questions about her past, present and future.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Tokyo, Japan.
When did you start drawing?
I learned how to draw and painting in the Tokyo University of Arts.
At that time, I graduated design degree, so I didn’t draw and paint much though.
What have you worked on in the past?
I worked commercial art industry, TV commercial, advertise for magazine and newspaper.
Game characters for video games and animation films.
I did art director for these in Japan just before I gave a birth in 2001.
I suspended art jobs for a while because for my family about 10 years.
What are your current projects?
Celebrate Women!, Fort Lee Library, New Jersey, March, 2012
Instant gender, Chathama Exhibit Space, New York, November 2011, NewFEST School of Visual Arts Theater, July 2011, Pride March, New York, 2009
Aliens from New York, Aomori Museum of Art, Japan 2010, 2011
And brand new manga “Rica ‘the Kanji TOKYO STORY” is scheduled to be published April 2012
How was New York City influenced your style?
I have learned many difficulties and discriminations since I came here.
Now I want to try writing a new Manga story about immigrant family.
What influences your art today?
Of course Mnaga! and Japanese youth pop subculture.
And Japanese traditional calligraphy. I love B/W ink and brush world.
And something about theatrical…I am not sure but something, maybe.
I was a member of a drama club at art university.
At that time, I worked on theater art.
I got influenced from Shuji Terayama, who was one of the famous writer and director for in Japan.
His style is underground and avant-garde.
What interests you about manga? Why did you get into that scene?
One day my friend who is a editor for a magazine for lesbian, asked me to try drawing a manga for lesbian.
I thought this is very interesting opportunity and just drew the story, RIca ‘the kanji!?( Rica’s feeling) in 1994.
I never thought I became a manga artist.
What future projects do you have planned?
I just started for new art project.
I haven’t decided the name of the project but I got inspire from the song imagine by John Lennon.
The main idea is that many people walk on the street holding Peek-a-Boo Boards.
Favorite manga? Favorite art?
All manga works by Osamu Tezuka.
Keith Herring, my pop art star.
You can find more information about Rica on her website, http://www.aozoraart.com/rica/rt_main_e.html