Mieko Mochizuki Swartz, the owner of Monsters Galore and artist-in-residence, has been fond of monsters all her life.
When she was little, she used to wait for hours in the back yard to see if there would be an alien spaceship popping out of the sky. At night, she stared into the dark through the window to see if there were any ghosts passing by. Sadly, none were visible.
The first movie she ever went to see without adult supervision was The Exorcist. She was appropriately taken by the head-turning scene.
When she became a fully-grown adult, she found herself still thinking about monsters. She liked them more than handbags and shoes. She absolutely adored The Incredible Hulk. She daydreamed of stomping around Tokyo as Godzilla. There were rows and rows of monster-related books on her shelves. She wondered if this was the reason she felt she wasn't quite fitting in, but instead of giving up on her interests, she decided to give in.
Years have passed since then. She is delighted to be able to share the fruits of her obsession with the world.
Mieko is a native of Tokyo, and is currently living in foggy but lovely San Francisco with her American husband.
To contact Mieko, please use this link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mieko's paintings are fully digital. She uses a Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator on a Windows machine. Most of them are never drawn on paper, even during the rough sketching stage.
She grew up on a steady and plentiful diet of Japanese commercial art. When she credits stuff like wrapping paper and Nagani-en's ukiyo-e cards* as source of her early art education, she's dead serious. At one point, one of her desk drawers was overflowing with bits and pieces of saved wrapping paper that she couldn't throw away because they looked cool. If you've spent any time in Japan, you know what we are talking about. The wrapping paper there is incredible. Other influences include manga, TV commercials, magazine ads, flea markets and so on.
* For those of you who don't know what in the world ukiyo-e cards are, think of the little plastic toys that came in cereal boxes, only these were baseball-card sized miniature ukiyo-e pictures.
And just to make sure, no, making digital pictures doesn't mean one gets to tell the software to draw or paint automatically. Mieko paints them, line by line, color patch by color patch, just like a traditional artist would, with digital tools. It takes a long, long time, but it's faster than embroidery...
Well, it better be.