IN 2016, Sakiyama introduced us to a new world through her illustrations.
It’s a world that’s made beautiful by its decay.
A world overflowing with flowers, and teeming with monsters.
In total, Sakiyama has contributed to over 30 music videos, and her work shows no signs of slowing down.
She’s worked with everyone from producers with Vocaloid signers like Hatsune Miku, to Sou and ZUTOMAYO, established names in the utaite and JPOP spheres.
We’re honored to have been given the chance to correspond with Sakiyama, and we hope you all enjoy the interview!
Check out our sakiyama YouTube playlist below.
We added all the Music Videos we could find, and recommend you give them all a watch!
Note: This interview was conducted in late 2019, and has been edited for the sake of clarity.
- Hello sakiyama-san!
Would you mind introducing yourself for readers who aren’t familiar?
｢Hello everyone, my name is sakiyama.
I’ve been posting my drawings to social media for 3 years.
Up until recently, I was an office worker who would draw as a hobby.
However, this past April, I decided to quit and am now a full-time illustrator.
Nowadays, I’m often involved in MV (Music Video) production.
My drawings are dark and a bit creepy.
- On your Pixiv you uploaded some of your progress work for the “Humanoid” music video.
Can you tell us a bit about your music video production process?
｢This isn’t limited to just “Humanoid” and “Mabushii DNA Dake,” but I basically just draw what I feel.
When listening to a song, the first impression I get is very important.
An MV is obviously something you watch while listening to music, so I don’t make videos that completely ignore the song.
However, it wouldn’t be interesting if I just explained the song, so I try to use the music to create something new.』
- Ah, I understand.
By the way, do you draw using only a tablet, or do you incorporate traditional drawing as well?
｢I only use a tablet.
From rough sketches to finishing touches, I draw everything digitally.』
- If you had to describe your art or music videos with one word, which word would you use?
｢I’m really sorry, but I’m not sure I can.
I thought about it for a long time, but, in the end, I couldn’t find an answer.
As of right now, I can’t describe them in just one word, or maybe it’s something I don’t want to say.』
- Then, as an artist, are there any specific places you find inspiration from?
The reason I started my creative work, is that when I saw a collection of photographs of ruins, I thought, “I want to draw ruins!”
It’s not only ruins, though. Factories, transmission towers…
Looking at towering, industrial structures inspires me.』
- Are there any specific people or works of art that have influenced you?
｢I find the work of manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto particularly inspiring.』
- In your opinion, what makes a music video great?
Is it the characters? The timing? The message?
｢It’s not about what’s in the music video, it’s about if I enjoy it.
Above all else, if I can get immersed in the world of my work, and have fun drawing, then I think it’ll turn out to be a great music video.』
- “Shakuma Otoko” seems to be a recurring character in your artwork.
Can you tell us the story behind him?
Why is he wearing a bear head?
｢The first time I drew a character like him, I was making a personal manga.
The headgear symbolizes that the protagonist’s memory is fuzzy (or possibly suppressed).
I also just like it because it’s weird.』
- By the way, sakiyama-san, how was COMITIA 129?
Did you have fun?
I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter who have received your goods and really like them!
｢Yes! A lot of people showed up, and I had a lot of fun.
It was a very precious opportunity, to be able to meet people and thank them directly.
I participated in COMITIA for the first time in 2018, and I’ve gone once a year.
I’d like to continue going once a year, because it’s a place where you can freely present what you like.』
- Do you have any advice you could share with fellow creators?
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned as an illustrator and animator?
｢I’m not yet in a position to give people advice, so I won’t.
However, as a person who became an illustrator from a completely different job, I’m very blessed to be able to draw for a living.
I’ve realized that enjoying every single day is the most important thing for me to do.』
- Well then, sakiyama-san, can you tell us about your plans for the future?
What can your fans look forward to?
｢I think I’ll continue to work on MVs in the future.
I want to have fun with a lot of things, without being limited to a single genre.
If everyone enjoyed it with me, that would make me happy.』
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