Talking to Mika, you quickly get a sense of her: she exudes quiet confidence and it is clear that she is exactly where she needs to be, doing the job that suits her perfectly. I wondered if she had any plans to return to Asia, or whether she was planning to remain in the US for the foreseeable future.
“New York is my home now. I love Japan, and always will, but my experiences in America have really shaped me and I see myself as staying long term. After my time at FMCC, I transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology and focused more on illustrations and crafting a career in a specific area of artistry that I had been attracted to at school.”
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I wondered the reasons for this choice – why New York?
“Well, the sensible answer to that is that it was a part of the SUNY schools’ group, so I could transfer the credits I had already gained and develop in my chosen field, and as an existing student it was a cheaper option as I was already ‘on the books’. The real reason though…it’s NYC! The city had a huge appeal for me, and I love it. I feel as though I belong here, like this is my city. I love spending time in the galleries of Chelsea and there are so many to choose from, and I love visiting Central Park and gathering my thoughts. I also made the move to the City from upstate with a friend, so it was cool to be exploring together and coming to such an iconic, metropolitan area and starting out on a new adventure. For such a small island there’s so many amazing spaces – there’s something happening all the time, something new to do every day.
The city is an inspiration, even now as a working artist I am inspired all the time. Riding the subway, something simple like that, I find so much material. I actually do a lot of sketches on the subway – people watching, capturing little moments I see.