KOBO Seattle | since 1995

Interview with Artist Mari Ichimasu

April 12, 2023

Interview with Artist Mari Ichimasu

Seattle artist, and author Mari Ichimasu creates delightful portraits of our favorite feline fur friends. Art prints and her book are available for purchase online and in our brick and mortars.

Read our interview with Mari, and learn more about her connection with Japantown and how she finds inspiration.

EVENT: Mari will be signing copies of her books on Saturday, April 15th, 3:30-5:30, during the Sakura Matsuri in Japantown. Come on by and say hi!

Where are you from and what do you do?
Mari: I am from Ichikawa, Chiba Japan, and moved to Seattle permanently 14 years ago. I'm an artist and like to do many things, but currently, I'm working on a stop-motion animation piece called Sanpomichi and selling my illustration artwork while raising a five-year-old daughter.  

KOBO: What is your connection to Japantown?
Mari: My very first job when I moved from Japan was at the Panama Hotel Cafe. I spent a couple of years with the community and met many people. 

KOBO: Who are your biggest artistic influences?
Mari: Michio Hoshino is one of my big influences. He is a Japanese photographer/author who lived in Alaska and captured many beautiful photographs and wrote books. He is one of my big inspirations to start the journey of my travel cat watercolor series. 

KOBO: What inspired you to pursue a career in illustration/art?
Mari: Making my imagination/inspiration come to life is my passion and that’s how I like to express my emotions and feelings. I don’t really think of myself as pursuing a career in art. I do it because it’s more of a compulsion. I also like many things, too, and whatever I feel like doing is my next project. 

KOBO: How do you spend your free time? 
Mari: I like feeling relaxed, such as drinking my favorite beverages, meditating, and being in nature. Also, I really enjoy playing guitar, fiddling, singing, and jamming with my favorite people!

KOBO: What advice would you give to an illustration/art student?
Mari: Keep following your heart. Trust your guts and goosebumps.

KOBO: What are a couple of your bucket list items?
Mari: -Busking, touring with music 
-Explore Sound Healing 
-Finish my animation project!