Kawaii fashion? Twitch? The Sky’s the Limit for Tokyo-based Illustrator Maria
Do you desperately want to go vintage shopping in Shimokitazawa but live on the other side of the world? Well, Maria is here to help! The Tokyo-based streamer and illustrator takes her audience on fun nights out with friends, coffee dates and random strolls through Tokyo’s neighbourhoods. The COMM sat down with Maria, aka @intheskymaria, to talk kawaii fashion, ambitions and art.
Please introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Maria. I’m a Chilean IRL Streamer and Illustrator based in Tokyo, and I do stuuuuuuuuff.
Can you tell us how you got into art?
I’m not sure. How does anyone get into art, anyways? I was told that I was always trying to draw since I could hold a pencil. I guess I just like that creative outlet.
Your illustrations usually feature women wearing kawaii or alternative fashion. What inspires your art?
I used to be able to draw landscapes and other things, but having a full time job means less time to practice. I feel like I draw mostly girls that are strong enough to express themselves freely. I want all women to be able to feel like this.
What do you love the most about being an artist?
I somehow don’t consider myself an artist. Yes, I do art for a living but I just cope with my feelings and thoughts through drawing.
What are you trying to express with your art?
Depends. Sometimes I have bottled up feelings (numbness, anxiety, fear, giddiness), sometimes I project things I wanna do but I can’t for reasons. But what you probably have seen is my instagram, which is me being terrible at uploading my work! I have mostly Kawaii DrawTober and Maydo challenges, which are monthly challenges with daily prompts. Not really expressing much with those! Had to draw everyday and it was exhausting.
Tell us a bit more about the drawing challenges you have participated in.
I actually started streaming because of last year’s Inktober. I do mostly digital art but I tend to procrastinate, so drawing every day would be impossible without a little social pressure. I started streaming every day in October and finished Inktober for the first time. I’ve also done Maydo (didn’t finish) Mermay (also didn’t finish). I love creative challenges but a new drawing every day is so hard.
You wear alternative and kawaii styles like Lolita. Tell us about your relationship with Japanese street fashion.
I recently quit Lolita and sold 90% of my things. I still use Japanese casual street styles, but because of Corona it’s been a hassle to dress up. I still love the style though. But it’s not like I fell in love with Kawaii Fashion, it just came in like a wave and took me with all its strength. I was drowned in beautiful freedom and creativeness. There is a Novala Takemoto quote I absolutely love, “Lolitas do not recognize any authority. They follow only the values they have chosen for themselves, regardless of what anybody might say.” Lolita and Kawaii Fashion are signs of strength, choosing how we represent ourselves. I love my style because it’s free and shows the real me.
Do you think you will ever go back to Lolita?
Maybe, it’s not the first time I’ve sold my whole wardrobe and started over. Fashion has always been an important part of my life so I’m always looking forward to my next fashion destination!
You were also featured in the last issue of the Gothic & Lolita Bible! Can you tell us about what that was like?
Going to the Kera Snapshot was a monthly activity with my lolita friends, but the GLB was a rare moment. I was excited to go take the picture (they announce on Twitter where they’ll be and what the theme should be). I didn’t get a big picture but I guess I’m still in it. It’ll be a really good memory.
You are also an avid Twitch streamer! What has been the most enjoyable thing to stream since you moved to Japan?
Honestly? When I just walk the streets of Japan with no plans. I stream because I wanted to build a community where I felt safe. I think my favourite is re-discovering the city I’ve been living in through the fresh eyes of my viewers. It’s an amazing feeling, like everything is new for me too.
From Nara, to Osaka and Enoshima—you’ve visited a lot of places in Japan. Tell us about some of your favourites.
Kyoto is a classic beauty. There are so many things to discover and it’s just so interesting to get lost in the antique Japanese architecture and all its nature. I love the mountain areas, so I guess Kansai is my favorite in general.
What are your goals and dreams?
Right now I’m working hard on getting Partnered on Twitch, and I’m so close to meeting the requirements. I feel like as I grow older I just want to have stability and feel secure. I’m very happy right now but I’m working a lot on myself. I was recently diagnosed with anxiety disorder and PTSD, so this year has been a huge step for me to self care and improve my quality of life. I want to be better and kinder to myself.
Any last words?
Please take care of yourselves. If you go outside, remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and drink lots of water!