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Something & Nothing

For the curious

Naomi Otsu

Naomi Otsu started following us (on Instagram, not on our way to buy coffee). She said she loves our Yuzu Seltzer, and we said we love your illustrations, and she said why don't I create an illustration of your Yuzu Seltzer. Perfect.

Naomi is an illustrator based in New York, her work is uplifting and positive and puts a great big smile on your face. We talked to her about her love of lamps and the importance of music to her process. She also made a playlist for you guys - its perfect for working at home, laptop open, seltzer in hand.


Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Naomi Otsu, I am a graphic designer and illustrator based in New York!

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Can you tell us a little about your history as an illustrator and creative. Where did it start and when did you decide this was your path?
My mother was an artist, and somehow that skill and curiosity for the visual was passed down to me. I always knew I would be in the art field from a young age. I do wonder sometimes what I'd be doing if I wasn't creative, but it's truly the only thing I know so it's hard to imagine.

New York, Tokyo, New York - how has growing up in Tokyo influenced your work?
I think living in dense cities my whole life has pushed me to strive towards creating the same characteristics of detail, grit and layers in my work.

There is a positive energy to your work and you talk about finding the fun and playfulness in everyday life (which we love) - what’s bringing you joy these days?
The warmer weather has brought me a lot of hope and joy for the future. I am VERY excited to be outside...

I love lamp, you love lamp - which is your favourite lamp?
I have a lamp problem. I love all my lamps. My most cherished lamp is this Italian Toucan lamp from 70's. Something that I've wanted over a decade and received as a present from my boyfriend this past year. I also love my Noguchi lamp, makes me feel like I'm back home.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Some of your work is incredibly detailed, how do you stay focused? And are you good at jigsaw puzzles?
Music helps. Headphones always help. Sometimes I catch myself sitting in silence for hours as I work, promising myself I'll put something on in the next five minutes. I am very good at jigsaw puzzles, but I get obsessive about finishing them as soon as possible - so god forbid I start one, all my plans are out the window.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Tell us about the playlist you created for us and how important music is to your work / mood / play?
I created a playlist that features motivating instrumentals, something that you can put into the background and not get distracted by when writing emails. (A problem I often have when I play my fave tunes).

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

What podcasts, albums, exhibitions, tv or books are currently inspiring you?
I recently went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. They currently have a Yayoi Kusama exhibit there, and that was fantastic, especially when paired with the flowers that were in full bloom. I find that reconnecting to my surroundings and nature has always given me the energy and inspiration when I feel I need a little boost.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Tell us about something.
I used to have obsessive hobbies as a child. There was a period where I was an avid bird watcher - and as a result I have a nice drawer of facts tucked away in my brain when it comes to various bird species. I also obsessively collected stamps (I still have them) and then moved on to being obsessively online/learning to code (like many of us did) during the early aughts.

Tell us about nothing.
I like making playlists as a hobby now - but it's nothing serious... yet, but you can follow me on spotify as I curate more lists. :)

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