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China Kawamura: A Story of Her Artistic Talent

I have been astonished every time when a picture of her drawing comes up on my facebook newsfeed. There is a certain uniqueness and heartwarming feeling to her colorful drawings that attract people’s attention. As a same year student and friend, I am delighted to feature China Kawamura's talents and future goals.

Me: Could you please introduce yourself?

China: My name is China Kawamura. I am a senior at SILS. I am half Japanese and Thai. I was born and raised in Thailand. I moved to Japan when I started uni at Waseda.

Me : What do you study at Waseda?

China: When I first came to Waseda I was focusing on Business and IR, but now I am focusing in Advertising.

Me: What made you change your focus from Business and IR to Advertising?

China: When I was in high school, I was in a debate team. That’s when I started to be interested in IR. I chose to study Business because that was what my dad wanted me to study. So it was kind of compromising between my interest and dad’s interest. But I studied abroad in UK, I got a chance to choose from many Advertising and Marketing classes. That’s how I became more interested in advertising. Last summer I got a chance to do an internship at an advertisings agency in Thailand. That’s when I became more serious about studying advertising. 

Me: I chose you as a campus celebrity because you are very good at drawing and I think for this campus celebrity article, I really wanted to feature your drawings you have done before, and want other people to know and see your philosophy in drawing. Could just briefly tell us about the reasons why you draw and how you established your own style?

China: I first started drawing when I was in kindergarten. My grandpa was working as creative at an advertising agency. He lived with my grandma in Bangkok. Since I was young, I would go to my grandparents’ house and my grandpa would teach me how to draw and sent me to a drawing school. That’s when I realized that I enjoy drawing. In terms of what I draw, it really depends. Sometimes, I just see pictures, streaming in my head and I feel like I need to draw in order to get it out of my head. Or sometimes I watch movies and they inspire me to draw. For example, I really like Toy Story, especially Buzz Lightyear. Sometimes I feel like “Oh I want to draw Buzz Lightyear”, then I go on Google and search Buzz Lightyear features and start to draw. For this Maleficent picture I drew, I drew it when Maleficent was playing in the cinema. It took time for the movie to come to Japan. All of my friends in Thailand got a chance to see it, and Maleficent was all over my newsfeed. I started to really want to draw Maleficent later on. It’s very random.

Me: So would you say your drawings really reflect on what you like?

China: Yes, and how I feel.

Me: Can you tell us a little bit about this drawing? That’s not a character that I am familiar with.

China: I got inspired from a class I took at school called Culture and Context. The professor was asking, “How many selves do we have?” and I found it very interesting because I feel as though I have a Japanese self and Thai self.  When I speak Thai and when I speak Japanese, my personality changes. One day this picture just popped out in my head and I started to draw it. That’s a person and those are her personalities.

Me: It’s like a tree of herself with different faces.

China: It shows each personality of this person and the person likes to use different colors from the same tone.

Me: I think you have a particular style in which you use bold lines to make separations between different colors. Do you have a particular goal for your drawing? Will it be just your hobby? Do you want to expand on it so that more people will get a chance to see it?

China: I like drawing just as a hobby. Sometimes the things I draw depend on my mood. I like drawing people’s organs, eyes, nose, and bones. Sometimes hearts and heads because they are very detailed. I think these types of drawing make me exercise my drawing skills. First it started as a feeling of just wanting to practice drawing a heart. Then I thought just a heart would be too scary, so I put some lines and shapes around it.


Me: Since you are in an Advertising seminar I am assuming you want to work in that field. What kind of work would you want to do?

China: I actually want to be a strategic planner. My drawing skills do not directly serve to be an art director or creative, because they need particular skills and ways of thinking, which I still lack of. I really want to become a strategic planner because I am in a debate society and I really enjoy planning and thinking of strategies. When I was doing the internship at the advertising agency, I got some chances to help the strategic department and I found it very interesting.

Me: How many times would you say you draw in one week?

China: I used to draw often, when I was in my first year, but as the time goes by I started to draw less. Now I am back to drawing again, about once or twice a week. Sometimes it’s just sketching, but when I really want to draw, I can draw for about two to three hours and finish.

(Flipping through her sketchbook to go back to her personalities drawing)

Me: How long did it take you to draw this?

China: One or two hours. I have a sketch of this picture and I combined it with this.

Me: As a last question, do you have some advice for people who want to improve their drawing skills.

China: I used to draw from what I felt only, but when I went to London I got a chance to go to art class and learned the basics of drawing, like measuring proportion. It actually helped me become a better artist. If you like drawing and you want to be serious about it, I recommend taking some classes! 

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