Imoto Sayuri (Painter)


English | Japanese

Beginning at the age of 10, she began drawing people such as Japanese celebrities. It was difficult, but she devoted herself entirely to her craft. Sayuri’s art teacher was her sister, who was consistent in her dissatisfaction. Her older sister never praised her. “The composition is not good.”, “The line is dirty”, she would say. Sayuri would become upset with herself.

During school, drawing became Sayuri’s way of finding belonging and self-expression. She couldn’t talk confidently with her classmates, so drawing became her tool to communicate. Classmates often said to her, “What are you drawing?”, “You are so good!”. When Sayuri entered high school, art class was no longer offered. Her means of communication had been taken from her. She didn't know how to make friends and felt disconnected from her peers. It was at this time that Sayuri turned inward. Alone in her room, she started to sing songs. Sometimes she vented anger and sometimes she got into star singer’s part. She hadn’t talked to anyone for a long time. One day, when she looked at a mirror, she was surprised that her eyes looked similar to that of a dead fish.

After graduating high school, she went to a music school. After that she worked at a shop. Her sales skills were getting better; however, she felt stressed that she was following everyone else's rules. She so desperately wanted to follow her own dreams. When she looked in the mirror, her true voice became very prominent. It was at that point that Sayuri returned to her true passion, art.

What Sayuri liked to draw was “people”. It was both motivational as well as stressful, but it allowed her to regain her confidence in herself. She still felt self-conscious at times; however, now she had her art again. Her art eventually helped her break her habit of self-consciousness. As she explains “color of face” throughout. “Everyone has their own charm” gazing at it…..try not to miss ….color and color….then she began to love the person inside of the pictures. Her confidence continues to grow. She finds belonging in her artwork as well as loving friends and people.