(J.Endo – Getty Images, 05/05/20) – Ada Yokota describes herself as a body-positive activist, model, and illustrator. I met Ada at the end of last year through one of our Tokyo-based contributors who was casting her as a model for their body positivity project. We started talking and it turned out that she was an illustrator who was interested in exploring her creativity around the concept of body positivity and women’s rights. Looking through Ada’s portfolio, I found that although she was relatively new to illustration, she had natural talent and a keen eye for color and space. I challenged her to create a total of one hundred new illustrations on her battered iPad and set her a goal to purchase an up-to-date device with the money earned from her royalties. To keep her motivation up, she gave herself the task of completing one illustration a day.
For this particular series, I advised her to focus on what’s happening in the world and build off what she’d created in the past to relate to the current situation around COVID-19, healthcare, social distancing, and personal hygiene.
While we used to have our one-on-one brainstorm sessions over coffee or lunch, we’ve now shifted to virtual sessions on Zoom or Instagram messaging, in which we share our favorite illustrators’ work – Coco Davez, Eiko Ojala and Malika Favre among many others – our favorite guilty pleasure tv shows like Queer Eye, Terrace House and Abstract: The Art of Design, and chit chat about life in our new reality.