MC: What is your relationship to Tokyo?
JM: I come from England. I first went to Tokyo in 2008. I studied there. Since then I’ve returned many times. There is a special atmosphere in Tokyo, especially at nighttime. There is something beautiful about the lights. I now live in Gunma, about one hour away from Tokyo. I’ve been here for six months.
MC: When and why did you start drawing the city?
JM: I started making artworks and animations about Tokyo in 2008. I just wanted to capture the atmosphere and the mood. When I was home in England, I would return to the artworks to remind myself of my time in Tokyo.
MC: Do you draw professionally? If not, how do you combine drawing with your work?
JM: The artworks here are created using a combination of 3D modeling, photography, and image manipulation software. I have always been involved in some sort of artistic media, but I’ve never settled on one specific style. When I was in Tokyo, this is the method I was using.
MC: What is it you try/tried to achieve with your drawings of Tokyo?
JM: My pixelated style relates back to ‘90s video games I played as a child. That visual style is very nostalgic for me. When I create artwork in this style, it’s like I’m trying to capture and preserve a special moment or feeling. So I suppose these artworks of Tokyo relate to that. I don’t want to forget my times in Tokyo; I want to remember them in a warm, nostalgic way.
MC: Tell us about the place that you have selected.
JM: I chose Shibuya because walking out of Shibuya station and seeing the crossing for the first time was an unforgettable moment. I chose the Japanese convenience store because when I first arrived in Japan I was jet lagged and often visited the same convenience store at 4am, tired and lonely.
MC: What’s your favorite Tokyo place?
JM: I like the old streets in Asakusa, especially at nighttime. There’s a warm light, and the narrow streets are lined with happy people eating and drinking. I also like the masses of electricity wires overhead, when I see them I really feel like I’m in Japan.
MC: Who is a reference for your work or is there someone whose work you particularly admire?
JM: The strongest references for me stylistically are the 32-bit graphics of early ‘90s video games. I also love the work of David Lynch.
MC: Did drawing change your life and if it did can you explain us in what way?
JM: I’ve always drawn, so it’s a difficult question. But my life would be very different if I didn’t have the ability to draw and be creative. I would be a very different person.