The Story Behind: Tokyo

Mandala The Story Behind

The only mandala I've designed to date that rides off one circle as a base, with every single ring that makes Tokyo what it is, being built off the last. No additional circular outlines, just raw intricacy, delicacy and depth. 

Now this one for me was a new sort of challenge - "can I create a mandala that doesn't have more than 1 base circle involved and if I do, what the hell is it going to look like?" It's weird sometimes looking back trying to remember what went through my head at the exact moment I decided to pull off a design, but some of the most significant pieces actually do stick around over the years.

It was labelled part of my 'foundation collection' because actually, this one was one of the very first that brought me to where I am now, and to date it's still a bestseller - and it looks amazing on cards but of course I'm biased. 

Tokyo was just me and the pen, and minimal thought into what was going down next, it was a free-flow of movement that just kind of happened. It sounds weird but for me it's actually quite hard sometimes to work from just the one base circle and to keep building off the last layer because I hate for my work to seem repetitive and 'samey' and circles just help to add that extra bit of definition, even if sometimes it comes across as 'premature'. It was defining delicacy in my work, teaching me to trust in building that next layer and finding ways to make each layer it's own without just being a series of leaves or bubbles one after the other with no significance to the layer. 

It kind of reminded me of a snowflake at points, particularly the outer ring where it wasn't a flush circle and had small spikes, but for how fine the lines were (originally drawn in a 0.05mm and 0.1mm uniball fineliner), all I saw were snowflakes in my head as I kept progressing and it slowly became a form of inspiration to finish the mandala without a perfect circle - just because it started that way, it never meant it had to finish on a flush one too.  

So why the name? Before we start thinking Money Heist - this was designed way before I even knew Money Heist existed, although Tokyo in there was an absolute badass of a character and she's still my favourite (alongside Denver and Rio who to be honest was one of my favourites). But no, Tokyo was labelled paying tribute to Japan's flag - the single red circular emblem against a plain white background.
Now although my Tokyo looks nothing like the flag, the idea of the name stemmed from there. Since there were no other additional circular bases or rings within the mandala, it felt as though everything was riding on this one starting point, one focal point. It was the perception in my head that led me to name it.

Insight into me - I've had a love for Japan since as long as I can remember - the culture, the people, their meanings to life, THEIR ART! (HUGE Manga fan - even managed to wangle it for my GCSE art). I've always wanted to travel there and I vowed that if I could, I'd move their for 6 months to learn how to draw manga traditionally - this plan is still in my head, and I'll still do it someday because Manga cartoons are what brought me to love art in the first place, well, that and my cousin brother Harvey who always drew cartoons too (we both loved Dragonball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon = our foundations for art). 

For those who wish to, you can shop Tokyo online here.
You can also check out the timelapse of the piece below!

Thank you for reading & keep your eyes peeled for future piece meanings being shared across the blog and also socials. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and even your own interpretations in the comments below or if you wish to let me know privately - I'm always social on emails and my social media channels. 

One love - Simmy. x

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