MC: What is your relationship to Tokyo?
AJ: I’m a UK illustrator living in Tokyo for the last three years.
MC: When and why did you start drawing the city?
AJ: When I first visited Tokyo over ten years ago, I wasn’t an illustrator or even wanted to be one yet. I just drew things ever since I was a child and visiting a new place is always a great opportunity to draw.
MC: How do you combine drawing with your work?
AJ: For me, it can sometimes be difficult to get the hobby of drawing back into everyday life. After a busy period at work I usually take a bit of a break. This brings time to think of new personal projects and collaborations. Recently I’ve been keeping sketchbooks where I do one drawing a day in. This way I can draw something for me everyday without taking up too much time.
MC: What is it you tried to achieve with your drawings of Tokyo?
AJ: Nothing in particular to be honest. If I see a view that catches my eye then I try to capture it. I like the busyness and shapes of the buildings in Tokyo, so I suppose I try to get that across in my drawings.
MC: What’s your favorite Tokyo place?
AJ: Ueno interests me a lot actually. It’s an old part of Tokyo with lots of little alleyways and markets with tons of restaurants and local hangouts to discover. It was the place I stayed when I first came to Tokyo so it always reminds of that time in my life. Whenever Tokyo becomes a bit normal, I go there and remind myself how excited I was arriving on my own ten years ago.
MC: Who is a reference for your work or is there someone whose work you particularly admire?
AJ: People like Kate Morross, Hennie Haworth, and Linzie Hunter are all illustration icons for me. All for slightly different reasons, but I like the lively and colorful nature of their work as well as the subjects they choose to illustrate. Recently, Fernand Léger’s Cirque has also been an inspiration.
MC: Did drawing change your life and if it did can you explain us in what way?
AJ: Well, it started as something I did everyday as an only child to pass the time and turned into something that become a career for me. It has also let me live in the city I love. I guess drawing has been, and will hopefully continue to be, one of the biggest factors of my life.