Artist’s Profile: Mitsue Haya

Artist Mitsue Haya is originally from Japan and is an animator, illustrator, sculptor and  all around creative artist… she even writes stories!

Mitsue also created the character “Nana,” an Official Selection at Annecy 2003, and helped bring to life the  character design of “Mini,” a character that helps grow small plants.

Mitsue started as assistant of Fusako Yusaki where she worked on the Swiss TV series “Peo.”  She has since been directing and animating several short films for Crackartoons Studios and  recently participated in the creation of the stop motion animated short “Defectuosos” for Articula2.

Mitsue is currently collaborating on several projects with Curious Hat, including our Eye Paint MyDiary App.

You can read more about Mitsue on her website.

Looking at your work, it ranges from animation to drawings, sculpture to handmade objects. I feel like your creativity never stops!

Do you have a preferred technique?

I like trying different techniques, I don’t know which one to pick. Aside from a specific technique, I like the feeling of handmade things.
Usually, I choose based on the subject of the project because I always  like to experiment with new options. In my notebook there are many new ideas waiting to be realized and I don’t know yet what will happen to them!

I was surprised to see your collaboration on a video installation created by Limiteazero as part of the Homo Sapiens exhibition at the Palace of Exhibitions in Rome. Can you talk more about the experience?

It was a very interesting collaboration and I’m happy that I was part of such an important exhibition. This time my task was to animate in a realistic way. My characters, prehistoric men and life-size monkeys, would take the visitors on a tour of the exhibition, walking them along in an interactive installation.

I wonder how many people walked with my Homo Sapiens?

How important is your home country, Japan, in your work?

I grew up in Hokkaido, surrounded by nature and I love a lot of the simplicity of Japanese design. I believe that my home country is present everywhere I try to insert nature and simplicity in my work. Memories are key to my creativity and I like to think that in my drawings or sculptures you will find a good mix of Japan and Italy, the 2 countries where I lived.

You are working now with Curious Hat on iPhone and iPad apps.What did you find stimulating in this project?

The main new thing was to figure out how the character would react to the child’s touch and create something new that is both funny and magical. I’m also very excited to think that, thanks to the wide distribution of this media, children everywhere in the world will enjoy my characters regardless of the  language they speak.

Eye Paint MyDiary is the name of the app you are working on for Curious Hat. The Eye Paint series has been designed to engage children with the real world around them, using it to capture colors and patterns.You added your creativity and experience and transformed it into a funny and curious experience for children of all ages.
The drawings you created for MyDiary are a continuous surprise. Can you tell us how the project started and how it evolved into an app?

MyDiary was originally born as a collection of sketches where the characters experience strange situations during their daily life.
The drawings are like pages of their diary where they tell us about their funny lives. For the Eye Paint project we added animations and small surprises that the child can find while painting, going deeper into the world of MyDiary.

Did you play with Eye Paint MyDiary? And did you play it with a child?

Yes, it was very funny to see the reaction of the kids when touching the characters. It was great to see a young child running around in search of the best colors to use and asking her mommy to paint together.

How important do you think  it is to develop a visual language in  early childhood development?

Given that we are surrounded by many images and screens, it is very important that we help the child to choose and build a personal visual taste. What I liked right away in the Eye Paint project, was the idea of using the visual language to engage children in an active way. They not only observe but they are also stimulated to think and explore their environment going beyond the boundaries of the screen.

The creativity in children is infinite and it’s up to us adults and creative people to find ways to stimulate it.

Download Eye Paint MyDiary here and have fun playing with Mitsue’s work.

Thank you Mitsue for this interview and for becoming part of the Curious Team. Can’t wait to create more Curious things with you!!!