Manila-based illustrator Ella Lama has previously did charming wonders with the Lomo'Instant. This time, on a recent visit to Tokyo, she drew some iconic Japanese illustrations on the Lomo'Instant Automat Playa Jardin and Bora Bora. Let's catch up with her and stay tuned for a special giveaway!
Hi Ella! Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
Hello! My name is Ella Lama and I am an illustrator from Manila, Philippines. I like hand-lettering inspirational quotes and drawing objects from everyday life. I also design paper and novelty goods that I sell locally.
How was your trip in Japan this time? What's your favorite place?
When I went to Tokyo last May, it reminded me of how much I like traveling to Japan! Although I come from Manila, my country's city center, the vibe of Tokyo feels so different and so refreshing for me. I love how everything is super organized and it was easy for me to navigate new places even though my Japanese is very limited (and when I say "very limited" I mean I only speak a handful of common phrases, haha!). I was also able to meet up with friends who are staying in Japan long-term.
On this trip, I revisited my favorite spots like the Shinjuku Garden and the Senso-ji Temple area. I was also able to explore new neighborhoods like Ebisu and Nippori, and Yokohama as well. Of course, as an artist, no trip is complete without dropping by Sekaido!
My most memorable experience during this trip was going to Kamakura and Enoshima Island. I decided on a whim to take the hiking trail from a temple to the Giant Buddha. I didn't see a lot of people on the trial, and it dawned on me that I did not know how to say "help!" in Japanese in case anything happened to me hahaha. Thankfully I survived and went on to see Enoshima. I loved walking around the island and spotting fat cats sleeping on the premises.
I’ve heard that you joined Design Festa 2017 in Tokyo for the first time, how was it?
It was such a nerve-racking experience but I enjoyed it tremendously! I was quite nervous because I didn't know how I would interact with fair-goers because I did not know the language, and I was also not sure how they would respond to my stuff. Luckily, a friend of mine volunteered to help me out, and she served as the interpreter between me and people who were interested in my work.
I wanted to expand the market for my brand, and joining Design Festa was a fun way to do market research. I learned so much about what kind of art style and subject matter appealed to the Japanese audience, and I am excited to apply everything I learned in my upcoming works.
What inspires you to draw?
I like staying home, so I am very much inspired by scenes and objects from everyday life--tea, books, paints, lounge chairs, food, pets, etc. I also like traveling and doing things alone, which allows me to take my time looking at my surroundings and noticing tiny details, like the veins on a leaf or the patterns on the floor or the sweater of the grandpa I sat next to on the bus. I keep mental snapshots of these moments and incorporate them in my illustrations.
Any big dream that you want to make it happen in Japan?
One of my biggest dreams is to live as an artist abroad, and it would make me sooooooooo happy if I get the opportunity to do that in Japan! :D
I also dream of having more collaborations in Japan, like maybe to work on spot illustrations for Brutus magazine, or washi tape designs for M.T. , or a special curated line with Holbein . A girl can dream, haha!!!
What’s your first impression on Lomo’Instant Automat? Since you’ve drawn on Lomo’Instant before.How did you decide what to draw on this one?
I've seen the Lomo'Instant Automat in action, and I like that it takes the guesswork out of shooting photos, making sure that the photo-taking process does not interfere with enjoying the present moment. I also like that it is compact!
Since I was nervous about my participation in Design Festa, I decided to do some research on Japanese symbols for luck and good fortune. Carps and cranes always came up in my searches so I drew them on the cameras. I also incorporated traditional Japanese patterns in my illustrations.
Since I've drawn on a Lomo'Instant camera before, I wanted to see if there would be any changes to my drawing style. I wasn't expecting a big shift in my style, but looking at the old and new cameras, I was surprised to see how different they turned out!
Does it have a name?
I am really bad at naming things, hahaha! I can't think of anything in particular, but I would choose names that are related to the season of spring. For me, Spring means new beginnings and the blossoming of new possibilities, and that's how I felt when I was drawing on the cameras.
Which Lomography camera do you want to draw on next?
What's your plan for the coming months - or this year?
The coming months will be very hectic for me because I have to start making products to sell for the holidays. I am also taking multiple art classes and working on new stuff for my online portfolio. I hope I can squeeze in another trip to Tokyo before the year ends, keeping my fingers crossed for that! :)
Lomo'Instant Automat Bora Bora Giveaway
We are giving away this beautiful Lomo'Instant Automat Bora Bora for Philippine residents!
Congratulations to @ mnq_illustration, the winner of this giveway! We will be messaging you to get your address.