The intriguing world of Sunae, or Japanese sand art, has not been on our radar, but when we discovered the work of Naoshi, we stood to attention. Not for the materials used by the artist but for the style in which she presented it. Her character-led work has a sense of nostalgia, with a vintage palate and a line similar to childhood illustration books, there is certainly more to the wonderfully bizarre world of Naoshi. Even though her characters appear emotionless, almost static, it is the adventures that they appear it that excited us the most. From outer space to ice cream worlds with rainbow slides and doughnut dresses, guaranteed tomfoolery and an overactive imagination are what the artist’s Sunae is all about.
We caught up with Naoshi about her sand art, how she creates it and discovered where all her ideas come from.
CZ: Can you please tell us what Sunae or sand art is and how do you make it?
N: You begin with drawing an image on Sunae art board (sticker board) and cut according to line with a knife. Start off by peeling the color section and sprinkle the sand on the sticky surface.
CZ: Where does the sand come from?
N: I now buy coloured sand from a store near a sand hill in Japan but I’ve brought colored sand from everywhere from Japan to LA.!
CZ: When did you first get into it and where did you hone your skills and style?
N: I've been using coloured sand since 2004. When I randomly found a Sunae (sand art) DIY kit I fell in love with it - it made me nostalgic about my childhood. When I first started creating my art with coloured sand, it did not go that well at all. I spent so much time trying to make my Sunae style better, which has established who I am as an artist today.
CZ: What three tools of your trade could you not live without?
N: Coloured sand, art board for Sunae and a cutter.
CZ: Can you tell us about your latest book Ice Cream Work? How did it come about and what is it all about?
N: The idea for Ice Cream Work came from the drawing called ‘Ice Cream Walked’ which I created when I was seven years old. I then began drawing this character around 2007 and drawing the 'ice cream' living a daily life in Ice Cream World.
The book is a simple story about how to enjoy life to its fullest.
The character has no limits and bravely faces daily challenges. He also likes to play and relax on holiday. The story features surreal characters living in a world bursting with colour and detail. I hope this book reminds us that everyone has unique traits, which make them special and emphasizes the importance of creativity and imagination in daily life.
CZ: An important part of your Sunae is telling the world about it through workshops and numerous exhibitions, what is your motivation for this?
N: Having exhibitions and holding workshops all over the world helps me convey the joy of sand art. It is a rewarding experiences and I'm so happy to have met a lot of new people. My ambition is to familiarise people all over the world with Sunae!
CZ: What inspires you in music, art, film and fashion?
N: I get a lot of inspiration from art, music, Manga and Conte (short comedy in Japanese). They make me smile and give me happiness, relaxation and motivation all the time!