Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

art doesn’t save people’s lives (but it can do other things instead)

This is a portrait of a young man I created back in 2006 for a Christian magazine. This young man, who loved mountains and nature, unfortunately lost his life too early to drugs.
When I initially created this image, the father of this man contacted me because he liked the image, and I sent him an enlarged color print to put up on his home wall.

While my assistant and I were organizing flat file a few months ago, among a big pile of old work, I found the original b/w drawing. I thought of the father, but I couldn’t find his contact. Then last week, he e-mailed me out of the blue, because he wanted to show me a photo of the print up a wall in his new house. He said he made sure to hang the print so it is the first thing people see when entering the house. Thus I got his home address to FedEx him the drawing where it should belong.
This morning I got the most touching thank you message in my inbox. It really made my day.

I believe in power of art, and importance of it. At the same time, I always think of art as, “yeah, but it doesn’t save anyone’s lives” .
It doesn’t, but art does certainly make our lives richer. At least, it’s good to know that it does.