Artist Interviews 2021

By Julia Siedenburg

JUURI, a beautiful and very talented muralist with japanese roots, is not only focused on street art and canvases but also on the present and future of art, NFT’s. You can see and feel how connected she is to her birth place when you look at these vibrant pieces that mainly focus on women's heads and faces. Complementing elements that support the subject Rarely are seen alone. They always have some flowers, symbols or even birds to be by their side and make those murals even prettier.

I wanted to learn more about her style and more importantly her story as an artist, and as a human. So here it is:

When did you first discover your talent and love for what you do?

I have been creating art my entire life, selling my first painting at age 13 and having art shows ever since. In university, I studied graphic design and fine art. But I never knew about murals until I was asked to paint one for a city initiative in 2014. I fell in love with everything about it instantly.

What do you feel when you make art?

Being physically far away from Japan (my original home) makes me feel lonely sometimes, and the way our world is often stresses me out. But when I make art, I feel totally at home, as if I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to. It's like therapy for me!

Is there a message you are trying to covey through your work?

I'm honored to show Western audiences a glimpse of Japan. Often our problems get worse when we focus only on our immediate geographical area. Learning about other cultures and travel is so healing, so I'd like to convey that feeling of freedom and curiosity in my work. 

Describe your process?

I usually start with a story or quote that resonates with me. My favorite themes are kabuki plays and Japanese history or folklore. I then think of a color palette or general feeling, and then I take reference photos and get to sketching. Once I like the sketch, I try color schemes in Photoshop. After that, I'll start on the actual project. My pieces are always very planned out and organized.

Tell us a little bit about your background and childhood. In which way did it shape you as an artist?

I was born in Japan and lived there until I was six. (We moved to the US after that.) I have so many wonderful nostalgic memories of all aspects of Japan. Both the bustling city of Tokyo with its insane train stations and dizzying neon signs... and the countryside with its dark mysterious forests and scenic mountains. I try to incorporate these feelings into my art. However, they are such a hard thing to capture! That is what challenges me to keep trying and making more art. 

Which of your pieces is your favorite and why?

I think my favorite mural is "Fortune Favors the Brave." It was my first mural, but also still one of my biggest! From that piece I learned that I wanted to do murals for the rest of my life, so it means a lot to me. 

Is there a different style or medium you would like to try and why?

I'm so interested in fashion so I'd love to work with a designer to make apparel or accessories. I've tried to do it myself a few times, but it would be better to collaborate with someone who specializes in it! 

How do you define an artist?

Anyone who creates something in order to elicit a feeling from someone else. The medium doesn't matter. 

Which artists do you look up to?

Street artists Whole9 and Royyal Dog, Digital/traditional artists Sam Rodriquez and Kelsey Beckett, and Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo. 

Is there an event or project you are particularly proud of?

I'm proud of all the murals I was able to paint all over the US and overseas. It feels so surreal that my artwork lives on in all these places! That's why I love taking part in mural festivals. You experience so many new places and make lifelong artist friends, all while giving something incredible to the communities that they can enjoy for years. 

What is your goal for the future? What is next for you?

If COVID clears up, I'd love to have a show in Tokyo at the end of 2021. It's my goal to start working more in Japan and perhaps staying there for several months out of the year to do so. I'd also like to keep traveling to more exotic places to paint murals. A volunteer on one of my murals once said "this is a beautiful way to spend a life." Those words have stuck with me forever. It truly is.


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