Tokyo-based artist, Maria Sakurai, is known for her Impressionistic depictions of animals and people using unique colour palettes and jagged lines. Born in Japan in 1996, her love of painting guided her into a career in art while she was still at school. Her current practice includes participating in group exhibitions, creating illustrations for magazines, and live painting.
Where do you find inspiration?

I always get inspiration from things other than painting, such as movies and music. For example, with music, when I hear a slow, gentle melody, I imagine a big, soft, gentle character, and I paint with that image.

What are your top 5 TV characters from when you were younger?

Casper the Friendly Ghost
Jim Carrey
The Grinch
Giant Peach
Small Soldiers
I grew up in a very rural area so only only had access to the old movies that the small video stores had. So I spent my childhood watching old movies

What's your favorite thing to draw?

I love the expressions on their faces.

Can you give a tip for any young aspiring artists reading?

Painting is a lot of fun, but sometimes it can be a bit of a headache. I am sure that anyone reading this text had that experience. If you can't come up with a good idea, try doing the opposite of what you normally do. For example, try using a color you don't usually use, listen to music you don't usually listen to, or talk to a child in class you have never talked to before. Hints are hidden in unexpected places. If you paint from different perspectives and learn different ways of thinking, you will enjoy painting even more.