Interview with Illustrator, Natsko Seki

19th May 2024

Interview with Illustrator, Natsko Seki

Award-winning illustrator, born in Tokyo, and now in London, Natsko Seki sat down with us to discuss her career and love of art. 

After Completing a B.A. in Illustration from the University of Brighton in 2005, Natsko Seki moved to and fell in love with London. "When I think about my favourite places in London, I prefer those with old buildings. I like how these old structures stand within a modern landscape. When I look at St. Paul's Cathedral and see contemporary buildings like The Shard alongside it, it makes me feel the long span of history even more profoundly. Being in such urban environments gives me a different kind of inspiration compared to viewing buildings individually. I also get excited when I'm walking through the City and suddenly come across remnants of the London Wall."

Whilst living in London, she has worked for several prestigious partners such as Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Louis Vuitton, the Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, and many more. Her art captures a nostalgic wimsey that combines elements of classic British and Japanese styles.

"I feel inspired and excited by the meanings that emerge accidentally when combining multiple pieces, each created through different processes or for different purposes, into a single image. This is why I create using the collage technique. My role as an artist is to control these accidental elements so that the artwork can become a communication tool."

It's no surprise that she has had her work displayed in galleries and published several books. She gave us a sneak peek of her up coming childrens book about London transport, featuring the iconic double-decker bus. Right now, it is being prepared for publishing in Japan this September, but Seki hopes to have an international release date soon.

When asked about why she tends to focus on cityscapes in her work, Seki responded that after living in both Tokyo and London, cities are a "Subject that I can relate to". But she was eager to add that many natural landscapes have now found their way into her portfolio. "At the beginning of my career, I was drawing more cityscapes, but now I feel more flexible."

She started down this journey and honed her craft by having an experience that many of our readers will be familiar with. She was fascinated when she arrived in her new country and wanted to express the wonder she got from experiencing everyday life in another part of the world. "I was just looking for what was different, the buildings, the mannerisms, what they wear, and all that."

She decided to stay in London because "Being in London I feel more connected and open to other cultures and clients, that's the advantage." Europe and even America "feel closer" than they ever did in Tokyo. But "London is not number one", Seki went on to say that she "can find inspiration anywhere". Having lived and worked in cities all across the world for short times, yet always returning to the UK's capital. 

Much of her work tells stories from a city's history, as well as depicting the modern, everyday life aspects. "I'm using illustration as an opportunity to learn" she explained. "I've done illustrations for the City of Bath. They opened a new world heritage centre, and I did maps and cityscapes. That's a permanent display, so that's wonderful...It was a great opportunity for learning the Roman era, and Georgian era. I love depicting costumes, so that aspect was really fun." 

Natsko Seki is preparing for the launch of her new book but is open to any new offers that might come along over the summer. You can find out more about her work at her website

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