When we opened the doors to our store in Shibuya, Tokyo we were lucky enough to do so alongside two good and trusted Japanese friends, Tomoko and Hiroki. Spending half of their time in Japan and the other half in NZ, they’re a couple of those people who ‘know a person’. One of the their many connections was an illustrator, and not just any old illustrator, but the super talented, down-to-earth illustrator, Yusuke Hanai.
Yusuke Hanai was born in Japan in 1978. At the age of 17 Yusuke gained a new found passion in art after discovering the Grateful Dead album cover artwork of legendary artist Rick Griffin. In an effort to capture the spirit of Rick Griffin, Jack Kerouac and the '60's counter-culture movement of San Francisco, Yusuke left Japan for the United States in 2003 to study illustration at the Academy of Art College, San Francisco.
Yusuke's artistic breakthrough occurred at the '06 Green Room Festival in Yokohama Japan when Laguna Beach based Wil Pennartz, owner/curator of The Surf Gallery was so impressed with Yusuke's sign painting that he invited him to participate in '07 The Happening in New York City. Expanding his illustration and fine art vision beyond his nostalgic roots, Yusuke continues to capture the hearts of many people worldwide.
His artistic works have been exhibited in Australia, Brazil, California, London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Yusuke is currently living in Japan, where he continues his artistic endeavors as an illustrator/fine artist.
Yusuke’s a busy guy, but we managed to ask him two questions:
What’s your morning routine; what’s your favourite toast topping? Do you eat straight from the breadboard standing in your undies, or sit down with a plate? Light or dark roast? Filter or espresso?
Butter. I'd like it to be light roast, crispy outside and nice and soft, fluffy inside on plate.
I like espresso coffee but I drink french press at home.
What does your illustration style say about you?
It's hard to say... I'll leave it up to people. How everyone sees it.
Originally made solely for Coffee Supreme Japan, we’ve brought back a very limited amount of Yusuke Hanai for Coffee Supreme t-shirts and tote bags. You can grab yours here.