When Tim Burton’s 1992 dark fantasy, superhero action film, “Batman Returns” hit theaters, it was beyond glorious. When Michelle Pfieffer strutted out in her Catwoman suit for the first time, we couldn’t take our eyes off her and we LOVED, when Danny DeVito waddled down in the sewers of Gotham, talking to his penguins.
Critics were impressed as well because it was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup), as well as two BAFTA awards. Needless to say, Batman fans loved it and still do to this day.
Dark Hall Mansion has tapped into the considerable talents of Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu to pay tribute to Burton’s film and the end result is two sensational prints. If you are not familiar with Yuko, take notice. Her client list is impressive to say the least and includes: Time, Nike, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Paramount Pictures and DC Comics to name a few.
Aside from creating unique, highly desirable art, she has also been a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in NYC since 2003. Yuko uses Japanese calligraphy brushes specifically made for Buddhism manuscript writing and no, you can’t get them in the USA. (Even if you could, let’s be honest, she would STILL be way better than you.)
One thing you should know about her, and this comes directly from her website, “Please do not mix her up with another Yuko Shimizu. This Yuko did NOT create Hello Kitty.”
Dark Hall Mansion is so very pleased to welcome leading contemporary artist, Yuko Shimizu, on for DHM’s latest officially licensed, limited edition print release, “Batman Returns,” in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Entertainment and available this coming Tuesday, May 31st.
Dark Hall Mansion has had this project in development with Yuko for quite some time so it’s most gratifying to finally be able to share her unique vision with fans. Form the varied Batman films DHM offered, it was “Batman Returns” that most appealed to Yuko as illustrator along with colleague, Claudia de Almeida, on as designer.
Yuko’s two striking individual prints offer a standard edition piece reflecting not only Gotham’s protagonist, but its topsy-turvy, almost surreal world, along with Yuko’s striking variant edition which finds her favorite character from the film, “Catwoman,” surrounded by feline companions and a reference or two to characters fans will instantly recognize.
Yuko’s meticulously detailed and highly stylized illustrations well compliment Claudia’s layout and logo design in creating two prints those same fans won’t soon forget. In addition to DHM’s “Batman Returns” standard and variant edition prints are two select foil editions where the foil substrate reveals itself within various areas of each print creating a select, dynamic and reflective edition.
All officially licensed Dark Hall Mansion limited edition “Batman Returns” prints go on sale this coming Tuesday, May 31st, at 12:30 PM PST on their OFFICIAL STORE PAGE.
Artist: Yuko Shimizu
Standard Edition of 225
24″ X 36″ Screenprint
* Foil Edition based off Standard Edition Image: Limited Run of 15 – $150
Artist: Yuko Shimizu
Variant Edition of 125
24″ X 36″ Screenprint
* Foil Edition based off Variant Edition Image: Limited Run of 15 – $150
We got the chance to catch up this extremely busy creative and asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say.
BLURPPY – Give us some insight to who you are and how you got started in art.
Yuko Shimizu – I am a Japanese illustrator based in New York. I have been in the industry for close to 15 years now. I quit my corporate PR job in Tokyo after more than 10 years of working there, moved to NY and studied art for the first time at School of Visual Arts. I received MFA in illustration there, and illustrating since.
Blurppy – After looking at your official website I was beyond impressed by your client list, art offering, teaching, books, etc. How do you find time to do it all?
Yuko Shimizu – Thank you for your kind compliment. To answer your question, I honestly don’t have enough time for everything. I often don’t see my close friends for a long time because I get stuck at work catching up on deadlines, etc.
I have an amazing assistant, who is a young illustrator, Yohey Horishita, who is helping me tremendously. He does all the shipping, and office stuff I don’t have chance to get around, running errands, and even help me color digitally on Photoshop. he had helped me with Batman posters as well. I don’t know how to meet all my deadlines without him.
– You have been teaching since 2003. How did that come about? What do you enjoy most about it?
Yuko Shimizu – It is my alma mater. The chair of illustration department was my instructor as well. When I graduated and got work permit (I was an international student, and we only get work permit after finishing a degree), he hired me to teach a summer high school class. It was like a test. I got along with high school kids well, and he heard the reputation, then he offered me a class to teach in college level. I have been teaching since (though I did take a year off this school year so I can speak at conferences and teach illustration workshops abroad).
Of course, giving back to them what I have learned from other instructors, and what I have learned actually working is very important aspect of teaching. But another thing I like a lot about teaching is that it keeps me from getting old. Not in the sense of I won’t age, of course I do. But young people are the future, and it is really important to have close contact with those young people. I teach them a lot, but they teach me a lot in return, which they don’t really know that they are contributing to my learning experiences as well.
– Whose art are you drawn to these days?
Yuko Shimizu – At this point in my life, I am kind of over looking at art in the same/similar industry. We, as professional artists, have to keep reinventing and trying out new things, so I try not to get too much information from what is happening in the field, which may cause myself to get influenced by current trend.
I do try and look at other forms of art. I have been reading a lot of books, for example.
Blurppy – Rumor has it that Catwoman is your favorite Batman character. We LOVE your interpretation of her. What is it that resonates with you about her?
Yuko Shimizu – I like Catwoman, because she is feminine, but also very independent and strong female character. I specifically like Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman so much more than any Catwoman played by different actresses over time. She captures strength and weakness of the character really well. And her existence is very feline-like, both in her look and in acting. If you ask my opinion, nobody tops that.
Speaking of which, “Batman Returns” is my ultimate favorite Batman film. There are so many characters you can relate to, I adore Penguin, his inner sadness is so real, and would have made a poster of him too (but of course, it may be a bit of an odd choice). Story, mood, set designs, costume, lighting…, everything about it I love. I watched the film first time in a long time to make these posters. I was surprised I thought it was still a great film after all these years.
I never grew up reading Batman comics, so though hardcore comic fans say this is not exactly true to the original Batman comics, I still think this is the best Batman movie. I am entitled to my opinion, right? 😉
(Original variant edition artwork – Yuko Shimizu)
Blurppy – Speaking of Pop Culture, what is your favorite movie that you have seen this year and which film are you most anticipating for the rest of the year?
Yuko Shimizu – I like movies, but I don’t watch movies much. I have to go through very strict schedules to finish up all my deadlines, so the last thing I want right now is to go to a theater at certain time, and sit there for two hours. I know it sounds strange, but it is my phase. The only movie I have seen this year’s Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. I love his vision, and I try to bring myself to the theater when his new films come out. But because that is the only movie I have watched, I shouldn’t say that’s my favorite… thought I liked it a lot. Tarantino never deceives your expectations.
On the other hand, I have read close to 20 books this year so far, so I can say which one is my favorite so far. Orhan Pamuk’s SNOW. I read it earlier in the year, but scenes and conversations in the book keeps coming back to me and let me think about it. Great read.
Blurppy – Given how extremely busy you are, what do you do when you are not working?
Yuko Shimizu –I try and go out of country, whenever I have a chance. Right now, I go speak at design conferences, or teach illustration workshops. I don’t choose where I go, they chose me, and if the offer fits in my schedule and interest, I go. When I am in NY, I can always find some work to do, so detach myself form where I am is a real good way to inspired, relax and recharge. I get to meet people I wouldn’t meet otherwise, so that is a bonus.
Of course, I can’t travel all the time, so on every day basis, I try and take at least Sunday off, even if I can’t take full weekend off, and try to stay in the area without taking subways to go somewhere else. It’s my relax day. I do house errands,or go running, but I also spend some time on the couch, or on a park bench when weather is nice, and read. I try to read as broad range of books as possible, especially novels from cultures I am not familiar with, can sometimes be challenging, but very rewarding.
We wanted to send a HUGE thank you to Yuko for taking the time to talk with us as we know she is incredibly busy. You can get more info about her, see her impressive portfolio and see what she is up to via the following links.