Conversations: Satsuki Shibuya

We had been aware of Satsuki’s work as a graphic designer early on while we first started our design careers. Then, through the interwebs, we rediscovered her work completely anew now in the form of energy paintings. Just as she does in her work, Satsuki took us on a journey and we were fortunate to witness the transformation.

She is currently working on her new book: “MOMENT”. More information about the book and kickstarter campaign can be found here.


1. I think you had studied design and worked as a graphic designer before. Do you find that knowledge and experience still continues to influence your work today?

Definitely. Although I may not be working specifically as a graphic designer on a day to day basis, the knowledge comes into play on multiple levels, from designing the studio website to painting techniques. I am a true believer of exploring and learning outside of one’s discipline, extracting, and fusing, to allow for new perspectives towards work and life to emerge.


2. Do you approach a piece/project with a consistent process? If so, how do you find the balance between structure and room for spontaneity in your work?

As time progresses, I find the process evolving, with the only constants being staying conscious to the authenticity of the work being produced, the interaction between those I am fortunate enough to work with, and the way in which I share my work with the world. Otherwise, I try to continue exploring, morphing, reinventing, and expanding, to allow for freedom of spontaneous expression when the opportunity arises, although this balance can be quite difficult when the rules of business come into play. Within reason and staying aware of one’s purpose, I continue to approach work not so much as work, but as an extension of my existence.


3. We read that you had only started painting a few years ago, which is truly amazing. Since that time, have you noticed your work shifting, or evolving? Do you see a next stage for yourself as an artist?

I do find myself wanting to paint larger pieces and exploring other ways of bringing to life works that are beyond the 2D format. There is a dream project I’ve been wanting to conceive for years now, which incorporates different disciplines studied and explored — music, design, art, science, metaphysics, spiritual — which would be amazing to create. For now, it is something that I continue to construct internally until all elements align.


4. We noticed you would make trips to Japan from time to time. Is there a city or place we should definitely check out the next time we go?

Kyoto, but specifically Ryōan-ji. This zen temple is known for their gardens, but what I would recommend after walking the grounds and taking in all the sights is picking up a box of their specially made incense sold at the gift shop. There is something magical about this incense and has become a must during my longer meditation sessions.


5. Lastly, if you could have any food you can get in the world on a table in front of you, what would you choose?

I get asked this question from time to time and my answer seems to remain the same — a fruit tart. Sweet, pudding-like custard cream swirled inside a hard, but crunchy, buttery crust, topped with an assortment of fresh fruits and a jello-y glaze to keep all from tumbling off. An orgasmic explosion inside the mouth. If only I could have one right now… or three? (Smile)


6. Aside from design and painting, what do you enjoy doing?

I love lounging around lazily, especially during mid-afternoons, when the sun is in limbo, not quite morning, yet some ways away from sunset, with a book in hand, sprawled out on our couch, catching clouds passing overhead through the window when peeking out, lulled by the sounds of life, which seem far, far away during these quiet moments. It reminds me of the simple pleasures in life and how thankful I am to be alive.

Photo credit:
Satsuki Shibuya, Ian Flanigan, The Dreslyn