WATANABE Ruri (illustrator)
Ruri was born in Aichi Prefecture.
She was a little absent-minded as a child; she ate slowly, got lost easily, and was always leaving something behind. That was not because she was in another world but because she was busy chasing feelings in her inner world, putting emotions before words.
From that point up until now, her mission has been to precisely find and express her core self.
In her childhood, she moved a lot and went to three different elementary schools because of her father’s work. To find something that could not change even if the environment changed, she immersed herself into reading and drawing.
At the age of ten, she was taken to a hospital with an unexplained high fever. Fortunately, she completely recovered in a month but was baffled by the reality that some children helplessly died quite young in the child ward.
To combat the sense of emptiness, the only thing she could do was to keep drawing pictures.
After growing up, she attended university majoring in American literature. Then, drifting between the fantasy and reality, she moved to Tokyo to enter graduate school.
There, she was stuck studying literature and had difficulty in getting along with professors and schoolmates. Being deep in depression, she suddenly started creating a series of abstract images called mandala. The images drawn freehand with a superfine pointed pen showed her subtle and profound world. With this creative force, her state of mind and reality had changed slightly over time.
Soon after, she quit school and, after studying translation at a technical school and gaining some work experience, she became a translation proofreader.
Some years later, in a bookstore, she happened to find a book on Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung that said, “mandala (meaning “circle” in Sanskrit) is a spiritual symbol that is spontaneously created as a work of art in a process of self-healing.” She was surprised to find that the same happened to her.
Through this mysterious experience, she was attracted by the power of unconsciousness. By connecting herself to the power, she pursues a wide range of creative activities from poetry to illustration to picture books, believing that by visualizing one’s imagination, one can access the true state of being.