Kazuya Ichimaru is a fantastic artist who lives in Nara, Japan.  He draws simple and sophisticated figures on paper http://kazuyaichimaru.com/.  His work is very human and poignant.  I wanted to chat with him and he was glad to talk with me with the help of an interpreter.

MICHAEL: Hello Kazuya, I'm very glad that you have a new website.  You call it "The Drawing Project."  Why do you like drawing so much?  Do you also paint on canvas or just draw on paper?

KAZUYA: Hello Michael, The reason why I love drawing is that I feel freedom when I draw. There is no thinking when I draw a line. It is true freedom. I am surprised at myself to see a drawn thing. I like to draw on the paper in a meaning to be free. It does not need preparations. I can draw anywhere, anytime.

MICHAEL: When did you first start drawing? Did you draw a lot when you were a little boy? Why did you draw back then?

KAZUYA: I drew a picture from around three years old. I lived in Germany by work of father then. I did not understand German and a friend was not able to do it very much. I drew a lot of pictures alone every day. Seeing from the outside, it seemed to be lonely, but I was free happily. In addition, I was greatly influenced and was affected by German culture.

MICHAEL: When you start a drawing, do you have an idea about what you will draw? Or do you just let your hands do the work without thinking? What works best for drawing? Pen, pencil or marker?

KAZUYA: When I start drawing, there are two methods. One method, I move a hand without a thought and draw it. And I can keep drawing it with the line as a hint. Another method, I look for a motif of the human body. And I draw it to see it.  It is a line with the vitality to be important to both methods. The best for me is a pen in drawing. The reason is I cannot do a fresh start. And it is to be able to draw a delicate line.

MICHAEL: Where do you think your talent comes from? Do you come from a family of artists? Is your family in Japan?

KAZUYA: My family lives in Japan now. My family does not have the artist. My talent was brought up, it is playing alone in a foreign country. Germany is fantasy for me.

MICHAEL: Where in Germany are you? Berlin? Do you miss Japan? What are you doing in Germany? Are you a full-time artist there? Do you feel connected to Germany?

KAZUYA: It is only four years of the childhood period that I was in Dusseldorf, Germany. I live in Japan now. I feel connection to both Japan and Germany.  I am not an artist of the full-time. I do the work of the designer mainly. It is a lifework to draw.

MICHAEL: What kind of designer are you and where are you in Japan? Do people in Japan appreciate and support contemporary art and artists?

KAZUYA: I am a commercial designer of the product package. I work in Osaka, Japan. The contemporary art does not spread among the Japanese people.  At first, the Japanese people may not watch a picture in a gallery. Michael, the guide of contemporary art introducing on your website is good very much! I want Japanese people to read. I do not do the display in the gallery now. I show work on the internet. I draw a lot of drawings as a concept of the projects. It has high affinity in the internet.

MICHAEL: Have you ever thought about combining your work as a designer with your work as an artist? Sort of like pop art like Andy Warhol? You could do a fantastic job with this! Package labels as art, No?

KAZUYA: No, I distinguish the artist from the designer among me. The designer does public work. Drawing is private work. The work of the design has a client. A client of the work of the drawing is myself. I make drawing, and it is an act of my life to update every day. Why is it important to me that I draw it every day? It is not important that I draw a masterpiece. I draw a line and play, and this is because it wants to record days to pass in an instant.

MICHAEL: Finally Kazuya, What are your hopes for the future and why is art so important to you? Why should people even care about art?

KAZUYA: My wish is to continue drawing in the future. The art leads me (us) freely. And the art can teach me (us) that it is bright that without it, life does not have a meaning. The people can meet the world in different forms through art. I think that is one of the reasons why there is art in all times.

MICHAEL: Thanks for chatting with me in English Kazuya.  Your English is much better than my Japanese!

Check out Kazuya Ichimaru at http://kazuyaichimaru.com/.