Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue, We welcome Tree13, an illustrator from Korea, who active mainly in Japan now. Inspired by anime, KILL la KILL, he was determined to make illustration a career. Although the style of his works changes with time and experience, we will find that they have a strong personal style, and one of the most special and unique elements is probably the culture of the late Shōwa period. At the same time, subcultures, music, etc. are also important sources of inspiration for him. A lot of details are depicted in his works, which make us feel that the characters are exist in the reality.
Who is Tree13?
Tree13 is an illustrator living in Korea, mainly active in Japan in addition to his home country.
He started working as an amateur in 2018 and has increased my experience in 2019 working with Sony Entertainment Korea and Night Tempo.
He is influenced by Korean subculture and Japanese animation from the 80s/90s and has collaborated with various global companies dealing with the fashion industry, as well as music labels.
Nana: Can you give us an introduction about you and your current job as an illusrator?
Tree13: My name is tree13 (Nam13), an illustrator based in Korea and Japan.
I started working as an amateur in 2018 and have increased my experience in 2019 working with Sony Entertainment Korea and Night Tempo.
Now, I am researching my own style based on retro style.
Nana: What led you to the path of illustration? Why did you decide to choose it as your career?
Tree13: After my military service was over, I was preparing my portfolio to work as a designer. However, when I thought that this path was not for me, I saw the anime KILL la KILL and was so impressed that I decided to start doing illustration again.
At first, it felt more like a hobby than a career, simply because drawing was something I was good at and liked to do. Looking back on it now, I think it was all the result of a coincidence of coincidences.
Nana: What processing steps do you usually go through when creating a work or taking a new project?
Tree13: I will start drafting in the ProCreate application on my iPad pro, and once I have a layout that I like, I will work on lines and coloring, then I move the data to the PC environment to adjust the overall color and set the typo layout.
Nana: Could you tell us about some most memorable projects you have done in the past?
Tree13: I think it’s the Sho-wa Group 『昭和アイドル・グルーヴ』series that I created with Night Tempo.
It was when I was still immature and inexperienced as an illustrator than now, so it has a different flavor from my current illustrations in a good way.
Also, it’s when my collaboration with an artist called Night Tempo was starting to get some attention, so it’s a special feeling for me. I was very happy when the actual Landing Page (LP) came out.
Nana: You have done many amazing collaborations such as Maison Kitsuné recently. Could you share us some more memorable collaboration project to us?
Tree13: I would say a pop-up in collaboration with POLLAPO, a product of the Korean ice cream company HAETAE!
I remember working hard on it because the deadline was short. I went to the site in person and saw people enjoying them, which was a good memory for me as well.
I really wanted to do a collaboration with an ice cream product, so I feel like I achieved one of my goals.
Nana: How do you get your inspiration for your work. Has any culture art, music, film or other styles influenced you a lot in the creation of your work?
Tree13: I was influenced by the music, food, and culture of the late Shōwa period in Japan, and I studied animation as well as the works of artists of the time. So I think my early works have more of a Shōwa era retro style than they do now.
Now I have gone beyond that and my works are more influenced by things like audio and furnitures. Not only listening to city pop music, but also listen to jazz and Korean indie music. So I think it is different to be called a retro artist now because what I like changes with time, and my work changes with it as well.
Nana: The work you created are very original and creative, but not too imaginative, and they feel like they exist in reality. Do you pay special attention to this part?
Tree13: I always try to write in more details rather than the things I like. I place things that I have been truly experienced to my work. I think such details are one of the most important elements in my works.
Nana: What advice do you have for the new generation of artists who just starting out?
Tree13: It is important to do what you love to do, but without too many restrictions. I want you to carefully consider whether what you are about to do is something you will continue to enjoy doing. I’m not big so I can’t give you better advices but I am always there to support.
It is important to do what you love to do, but without too many restrictions.