Today I'm over the moon to be featuring Risa Kadono. A Tom's Studio ambassador and incredible calligrapher based in Kyoto. Find out about her and her process in our interview below:
Risa is a Modern Calligraphy Artist based in Kyoto, Japan. She collaborates with many luxury brands as well as teaching Calligraphy lessons. We love Risa’s elegant and precise style.
Please can you give me an introduction about who you are and what you do?
I started learning Japanese calligraphy at the age of five and continued until college. I also loved writing letters with a fountain pen, so this experience led to my current interest in calligraphy.
After that, I took a break from writing letters, but in 2018, I discovered modern calligraphy and fell in love with it. Focusing on writing with a pointed pen, I was taught by calligraphers in Japan and overseas. And until now, I have continued to learn while having fun.
As for my work, I hold modern calligraphy workshops and lessons, provide works for companies, and handwriting calligraphy services for brand events and others.
・How and why did you start calligraphy?
I got married in 2018 and wanted to start something new when my living environment changed. At that time, I found modern calligraphy on Instagram. It was a study of "writing" that had much in common with my favourite Japanese calligraphy, so I thought I could continue to enjoy it.
When I first participated in a Modern Calligraphy workshop, I felt an excitement that I had never felt before because of its sophisticated beauty and the fun of expressing myself creatively. Since I was planning my wedding, I first tried to make simple paper items. There were many days I started practising early in the morning, and before I knew it, it was getting dark without me realising it.
So this is where my calligraphy journey began.
・What appeals to you most about what you do?
The charm of handwritten art such as calligraphy is that you can freely express your sensibility in a message. And since writing letters is part of daily activities, it can be enjoyed as a familiar art.
In the past, I worked in an environment where there was no connection with creativity. Although I longed to create something on my own, I thought I needed a special talent.
Through calligraphy, I have received inputs that stimulate my sensibilities from various people and things. Now I feel happiness and fulfilment in expressing myself through letters.
Furthermore, through my work in this digital age, I am pleased that people feel special because of the warmth and artistry of handwriting.
Calligraphy is not widely known in Japan, so I would like to continue my activities and share the beauty of this art with more people.
・If you had to start again, what advice would you give yourself?
I may have taken a long way, but I never thought of starting over again since I’ve always valued my feelings and kept learning from the artists who write in the style I love.
If I had to give one piece of advice, I would suggest finding a teacher who can teach you the joy of writing and a community where you can have fun. Then, explore typefaces and styles that are lovely for you.
Having fun is an essential element that supports the continuation of good learning.
(In my own practice, I am having fun surrounded by beautiful people, so I may not have to worry about it).
・What are the best resources you’ve found online or elsewhere that helped you get started?
Currently, I am holding lessons in Japanese. Still, I am sending out videos on my Instagram reels, so please take a look if you are interested. Also, I would love to send out workbooks and flourish tips in English in the future, and I look forward to doing that with you all. Regarding location and time, we now have different available learning methods, such as face-to-face, online, and workbooks; I recommend learning from an artist who writes in a style that matches your taste.
My works are on my Instagram (@risa_calligraphy) account or my official website (http://risacalligraphy.com).
・Who are the artists/individuals that inspire you most and where can we find them?
What is your favourite quote to write and why?
There are so many, it is difficult to choose, but the ones that inspired me the most are Suzanne Cunningham, Lauren Saylor, Belienda Chim, and Ksenia.
They are also posting their works on their respective Instagrams, so please take a look if you are interested too. I love the beautiful, uniformly sophisticated and rhythmic, freely expressed work. I receive a lot of inspiration from it.
It is also an important input to cultivate one's own eyes by looking at many great works of art, so I want to continue to refine my sensibilities while encountering incredible artists and art.
As for my favourite quote, I often choose words that convey a sense of connection, kindness, and positivity. In addition, the choice of words affects my characters, so I can write better with words that make me happy and inspired.
Tom's studio affiliate code: RISA_CALLIGRAPHY