Kenzo Hamazaki

We chat with Japanese-born Kenzo Hamazaki about his dream to design shoes in memory of his dad, having faith in yourself when developing your style, and that time he drew all over the family photo album.

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

This is a story I don’t really remember because I was around 3 years old. My father told me I had a “problem” and I wasn’t allowed to have any pen or pencil because I used to draw everywhere, especially on walls.

He said once he left me alone in the living room for some minutes to pick something in the kitchen. When he came back I had a sharpie in my hand and the family album on the other and I drew on all the photos. Now everyone is holding flowers. Hahahahaha

What’s the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

I was in South Korea as an exchange student and part of the program was to be an intern in a company. I got a job in a small business that works with art museums and my project was to design the website. However, after some weeks my boss got a dream job proposal and she closed the office and moved. In the end, I was hired by the company that was coding the website. It was a data science startup with only 3 people and they needed a front-end but in the end, they hired me and I didn’t know why. I had to learn a lot in a few days especially coding, and in the end, the project didn’t happen because I didn’t know how to integrate the front-end with the back-end. That internship made me discover that I was able to learn quickly, that language is a barrier but we can manage, but the most important thing that I learned was that it is ok to fail.

Design work by Kenzo Hamazaki The Design Kids interviews Kenzo Hamazaki work-2

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

Hello, how are you? My name is Lucas Kenzo, but call me Kenzo. Only the creditors call me Lucas. Today is hot, right? I was born in Japan and currently live in São Paulo. I'm a designer and illustrator. In my work, I'm all about feelings shown through colors, textures, and movement. I love to see how people react when they see something that I create.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

I would love to work with fashion in the future, create some fabric prints, clothes, especially shoes! I always dreamed about entering in a shoe shop with my dad and saying: "Look, I designed that piece." My father was a shoe enthusiast and he passed away a few years ago, it’s something that will be amazing to accomplish.

Design work by Kenzo Hamazaki The Design Kids interviews Kenzo Hamazaki work-4
Design work by Kenzo Hamazaki The Design Kids interviews Kenzo Hamazaki work-4

the most important thing that I learned was that it is ok to fail.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I was trying to express my feelings in a way, and drawing was the path that I saw. I keep drawing and drawing and suddenly something appears. We have to have faith in ourselves, this also fits into our work. If you want to be an illustrator, keep drawing and try not to give up, even if a few times it seems hard and things do not work out. Our time will come. Sounds silly but that’s my advice for others. And don’t worry about style, is something that will come naturally.

What are your three must-read design books, blogs or podcasts and why?

Books:

Design your self - Karan Rashid

This book was very special for me because it shows a different perspective to live as a designer. When I got it I was worried about my future, especially because I didn’t know if I would be able to pay my bills working with something that I love.

How Poster Works - Ellen Lupton

At first, is a very inspirational book because it has amazing references, but the main goal of it is to think “What means to see?”. With this book, I learned a lot of composition and special perception.

Book of symbols -

This book is great because it has so many symbols, references and it explains what they mean. It’s amazing that sometimes it quotes poems, and other times it explains the different perceptions culture-wise. Is great for when you have clients for different countries.

Design work by Kenzo Hamazaki The Design Kids interviews Kenzo Hamazaki work-6
Design work by Kenzo Hamazaki The Design Kids interviews Kenzo Hamazaki work-6

Where to find Kenzo Hamazaki online.

Website: behance.net/kzhz

Instagram: @kz.hz

Twitter: @kzhzx

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