Last week we interviewed designer Sally Zou, one of several global artists who contributed to our new Limited Edition Artist Series collection. This week we’re profiling Japanese designer Kenzo Minami, whose mouse is also part of our new collection.
Originally from Hyogo, Japan, Minami graduated from Parsons School for Design with a bachelor’s degree in product design. He resides in New York City, where he produces work that has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Men’s Vogue and Fashionize.
In 2003, Kenzo was the first artist commissioned to create a mural painting for Nike’s art project space in New York, and he was one of four artists chosen in 2007 to be featured in the FAMOUS CARS + FAMOUS PEOPLE show, along with Andy Warhol, Robert Longo and David Hockney. Keep reading to discover his biggest influence and the three words he uses to describe his mouse.
How long have you been a designer/ making art?
I’m sure if you ask anyone who does the kind of stuff we do, many will say we’ve been doing it “our whole lives.” Officially (or professionally), I was first paid for my work as a TV set designer. At the time, I was still a product design major, so I would say 15 years.
How would you describe your style?
What is your favorite tool or medium?
At the moment, I’m pretty into using colorless acrylic medium for its texture. I’m also having fun silk-screening my designs, as well as printing them on newsprints.
What or who is the biggest inspiration for your work?
Who is your favorite artist or art movement/era and why?
I’m not sure if they are exactly “artists” (though they definitely are to me), but some of my biggest influences as a kid are people like Douglas Trumbull, Rick Baker or Stan Winston, and all the very creative effect work they have done in the field of special effect supervision, production design and film production.
What was your inspiration for your mouse design?
It started off as the bone structure of a hand holding the mouse. I then expanded and combined it with motifs of the nervous network system, biological neural work, architectural structure, pipings, biomechanical wings, primal patterns and so on. I also wanted to keep the feeling of it still being under construction, or in the process of expanding.
What three words that describe your design best?
Biomechanical. Interconnecting. Accelerating.
How do you want people to feel when using the mouse with your design?
That you are connected to, and becoming part of, information networks and architectures.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Work hard. If you think that you work hard enough already, work harder—since someone else out there certainly does.
(Check back throughout the month for more interviews with our mouse artists.)
- Hardware Team