For our newest Japanese Stationery Pack, we've collaborated with the talented French artist Paiheme, founder of Paiheme studio. Our box features some custome stationery stickers and pouches made with unique designs from Paiheme.
Here's a short interview with Pierre-Marie, the artist behind Paiheme that will give you
(This interview was originally conducted in French, and has been translated by our team.)
Hi, my name is Pierre-Marie and my artist name is @Paiheme! I'm an illustrator/streamer and I do art direction for companies/brands and more broadly creative projects that I work on with a Japanese-vintage style. I stream a lot of my work on Twitch to show my creative process.
A part of me wanted (and probably still wants!) to become a mangaka! But the work required being far superior to my capacities and the desire to be completely independent led me to other choices. I finally went to other fields such as graphic design, illustration, product design (for my own store for example), etc... It's the fact of depending on oneself that I liked in it, I never really considered working in a company. I liked freelancing and it's naturally that I turned to commissioned work for brands and clients at the beginning.
When I was a kid, we used to lend each other mangas in the school yard, then there was a period when I didn't read them at all and when I started to watch anime when I was 18/19 years old, when I went to graphic design school, it was love at first sight. Immediately my interest in Japan was multiplied. Then I went twice to Japan (for a month each time) in backpack mode! It's while driving from Kagoshima to Sendai, that I was really amazed. Both by the activity and the neon lights of the cities and by the sympathy and the welcome of the inhabitants in the countryside. I really miss not going back there since, my last trip there was in 2018.
I'll just say vintage Japanese. In general, I love going to the internet and flea markets to see how vintage items were made to see how posters were printed 70 years ago. It's the fascination with the beautiful in the old and especially in the use and repurposing of old visual codes with a more modern approach. That's how I try to make my design style.
The Takoyaki missile launcher came to my mind during one of my first commissioned works, but the idea didn't come to fruition at that time. As in most of the designs I create, I try to invent a concept: using an element of Japanese culture (in this case food) and combining it with another idea (weapons, mechas) to get a visually interesting and innovative idea.
For the Arcade Machine visual, I wanted to go back to the 80's and the American influences that we find a lot at that time, I think of the whole city-pop trend or the silly TV commercials like Coca-Cola. I love the atmosphere and the energy of the 80s!
My inspirations are very varied even if before I was very inspired by mangakas and illustrators FR and JP: Inio Asano, Katsuhiro Otomo, Fortifem, Druillet, etc... Now I look much more at objects, boxes and their packaging, posters, magazines of the time, etc... And of course a lot of artists on Instagram.
I always start by looking for a theme, a part of Japanese culture that I haven't yet explored. Once I find something I like, I try to integrate an idea to create a new concept. For example, at the moment I am developing a series of clothes and products around Yokai for my store. But rather than having an approach only focused on folklore in a traditional sense, I mixed it with Baseball which is an important part of sports in Japan. By mixing two ideas, you can get dozens and dozens afterwards! Which Yokai will be the best batter? Which one is the best catcher and why? We could even start debates, the characteristics of each monster are so different.
I work almost exclusively on a graphics tablet on my computer when it comes to making drawings. Otherwise I always have sheets of paper and Pilot Sign Pen nearby to make little sketches and note my ideas.
I love the I-C Comic board books from nemus, even for sketching a poster it's super handy! Otherwise as I said earlier, the Sign Pen are really great markers!
Be super curious. We are always better at something when we can naturally maintain our curiosity and this can be a predilection for a theme, a culture, a vision, etc. We cultivate ourselves without even realizing it to the point where we can, for some, develop a quasi expertise of a subject.
Otherwise working hard and keeping the shonen spirit is what I always say during my streams. Drawing and creative jobs are not sprints but marathons, it's about making efforts and persevering by questioning what you know how to do constantly.
Right now I'm working in stream on my next Yokai Baseball clothing capsule. I'm hoping to make some Rhinoshield shells as well, which I've been working with for 2 years.
Otherwise I'm currently working with a suhis futomaki restaurant and on a secret project, for the moment, with some friends. :)
In celebration of ZenPop x Paiheme Studio's Stationery Pack launch, we are giving away up to 300 USD Paiheme Studio's Merchandise of your choice! Join here