Shojono Tomo is an indie Japanese fashion designer and multi-disciplinary artist, who is well-known at a global scale. This multi-talented Tokyo-based artist has contributed to Nicki Minaj’s most memorable outfits. She has produced illustrations, comics, music, fashion, and more.
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us a little about yourself.
As my name Shojonotomo, which means “friend of young girls”, I am an artist that works with the idea “A child that is a child forever”. Since 2004, I have been creating works under the theme “SKINSHIP BURNY”, a “human El Nino effect” where the child bursts into flames if they don’t feel loved. I have been creating a lot work, using fashion-related items as an outlet and my work has spread internationally.
How would you define your unique style?
Violent yet delicate. A child’s heart inside an adult’s body. A lace with a bomb.
Talk to us about Nicki Minaj’s “Harajuku-themed” outfit and when it will be available in the US?
Usually, Nicki selects items that I have created as art work for her costumes. Each article of clothing has a concept or story behind them. Actually, you can read more about this on my blog. You can purchase my items through my agent Sweet Streets at http://shojonotomo.bigcartel.com/, as well as Royal/T cafe in Los Angeles.
How would you define your city’s fashion?
I feel that Japanese fashion these days involves a lot people not being able to grow up, resulting in excessive kawaii fashion, as well as complying. I feel like people dress in such ways as a counter-action to the every day lives they have to live, where they are forced to live in balance and cooperation with others.
How do you get inspired?
I like to feel the voices and hearts of objects that are usually thought to be lifeless and heartless – such as garbage that gets blown by typhoons, as well as the voices of lonely children.
What are some of your recent accomplishments?
For two years, from September 2009 to May 2011, I was invited to “Kimono Fusion”, a show that was held at an international museum in Sweden. There, I exhibited my “room”, titled “child play”. I created conceptual art, installations, murals and kimonos there. May, I will join the My Little Pony Project in Los Angeles at Toy Art Gallery. Now, I am collaborating with jewelry designer Onch Movement. We are making Snow White themed accessories and so on. These items will be sold at Royal/T is Los Angeles, starting this June 7th.
What are your leisure time activities?
Reading comics, watching movies, fortune telling, talking to others, fantasizing. I am also studying art therapy at the moment.
Thank you Shojonotomo.