• Current Converstation | Painter and Illustrator Aki Yaguchi

    Current Converstation | Painter and Illustrator Aki Yaguchi
    Words | Emma Annand 


    Aki we are so happy that the Southwood wall now has your beautiful illustrations on it! We love it and so does the rest of Napier Street – so many people have stopped to take photos and comment on it. It’s the perfect fit for our store and the Fitzroy neighbourhood. We would love to chat about your art with you. So, let’s go to the beginning of your story- you were born in Japan and then came to the Gold Coast with your family when you were a wee two-year-old. Do you think your upbringing and surroundings have influenced and/or inspired your work?

    I definitely think so. My childhood is a huge influence on my work. I was always conflicted growing up with how I should identify. Because I am half Japanese half Australian, I had a hard time fitting into either category (not that I ever had to). I think my artwork is an exploration of that. It is a visual representation of a culmination of experiences to do with race, identity and imagination. 

    Your illustrations now take many forms in fashion, print and street art. Can you tell us a bit about how this evolved?
    I think I’d always imagined myself being multifaceted. When I was in high school, there wasn’t one particular creative outlet that I had decided on. I never wanted to have to choose. I started out illustrating, but would often experiment with other mediums. Things like burners on wood, or paint on glass... After that, I think I realised that there were so many ways to apply art, and that it could be appreciated anywhere. 

    Artists and makers sometimes say that their craft is a necessary form of self-expression which helps them process things. Do you kind of relate to that?

    Absolutely. I think sometimes for myself, it can be used as therapy. Time to reflect. Often, I come up with new ideas while creating something. It’s almost like constant forward movement comes from constant practice. 

    You came to Melbourne in 2017. What was that transition like? Do you think moving to Melbourne influenced what you produced in any way?

    The transition was quite isolating at first. Confusing... I didn’t know very many people. I was staying with two of my beautiful close friends who let me live in their lounge room while I found my feet. 

    I think Melbourne was incredibly daunting, especially after I’d lived most of my life in a very small town. It felt so big and I felt quite alone. If there has been any significant way that Melbourne has influenced my art, it was the realisation that I really had to work hard to pursue my passion. Everyone here is chasing their dream. I wasn’t special. It made me push myself. 

    It seems Melbourne has a really supportive artistic community. I think in general it’s an interesting time to be an artist. For a long time, I think the bilateral aspects of being a maker of any kind was the creative process and the business side of it. Although nowadays there seems to be an additional third factor, marketing and media - which is linked to being a business but definitely seems like a beast of its own. What are your thoughts on this? 

    The marketing and media side of being an artist to me, is synonymous with the “business side”. That said, I find it quite fun. 

    I grew up when Instagram first started. It was a thrill to post up a picture I’d drawn... I think the feeling is still somewhat there. It feels more businesslike when I do it now because I understand marketing, but I genuinely enjoy being able to share my artwork to people who may not be able to see it firsthand. 

    I think the media and marketing side of being an artist (particularly Instagram), has been pivotal to my career so far. Although some people may say it’s a pain (I often feel the same), I can’t help but be thankful that I can use it.


    Our Southwood wall has been filled with the colourful fragments of Melbourne artist Aki Yaguchi's imagination! Our beautiful mural has drawn people together and been the start of conversation between many strangers.

    We often get the joy of collaborating with stylists, interior designers and architects on local projects. This week our team have been going through images from a shoot from the stunning WoWoWa home with great fervor. The very talented Ruth Welsby styled the light-filled, optimistic, Italian influenced space with some of our favourite Southwood pieces. Check it out below! 

    We don't just go lust over beautiful design all day every day...we have filled our showroom with so many luxurious winter throws it almost makes us not lust after summer at all! From mohair, alpaca, bamboo/cotton and fine merino, winter doesn't seem that dreary when you're wrapped in a soft and cosy throw. Treat yourself. 

    From us at Southwood X


    Il Duomo
    Architect | WoWoWa
    Stylist | Ruth Welsby 
    Photographer | Martina Gemmola

    This small residence really packs a punch - it's fun, optimistic, functional and lures one into the good life - light and bright lunches of wine and mussels. Ornate Italian tiles, the vaulted ceiling, the terrarium-like courtyard and the colour scheme of pink, white and green could have you mistake your location for Vernazza rather than Carlton North. With clever use of lightwells for natural and inconspicuous storage spaces, WoWoWa have created a home that defines the balance between function and form. It's not surprising that Il Duomo has just been listed as a finalist for the inaugural Design Files Design Awards. The charming and talented Ruth Welsby styled the home using some Southwood pieces that sit in the space as if they were part of the original design. This home feels surprisingly big and the perfect kind of festive!


    DC HILLIER | MCM Daily

    Online and print magazine
    Below images via DC Hillier Instagram

    Have you ever stopped to wonder who on earth actually makes your favourite design Instagram accounts?  Well, we did. We found a photo of an enigmatic looking character in a cap looking at the camera with doe eyes, so we scrolled further. DC Hillier is writer and editor of "MCM Daily - a magazine for Mid Century Modern design enthusiasts." DC turns out to be an excellent curator of  "various styles that make up the modern design of the 1930's to the 1960's...from the clean minimalism of the German school of Modernism to the sculptural expressionism of the Italian school..." His Instagram will have you repeatedly hitting "save" and "like", but then you go along to his website in an excited flurry and realise there is an abundance of useful and inspiring content  - from profiles and interviews on architecture, interior design, furniture, makers, photographers...etc...etc...grab a coffee for your daily commute and give the smooth DC Hillier some time, we KNOW you will skip along to work feeling design inspired. 
    By Kristina Dam

    Kristina Dam Studio is known for their sculptural, minimal designs. The Grid series is yet another example of this. Made from perforated steel, the Grid cabinet is available in 76 L x 45 W x 132 H cm, the Grid sideboard comes in 160 L x 36 W x 72 H cm and there are also shelving options. The cabinet is topped with beautiful black marble, the doors clip closed by a subtle magnet function. With it's transparent, minimal design, the Grid Series is understated, cleverly formed and timeless.