This month we had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa Taniguchi, a multidisciplinary designer from Vancouver with expertise in product design, creative direction, graphic design and lettering. Lisa works with clients globally and across industries, her broad skillset is driven by her love of creating and balanced by her strategic thinking. Her lettering art features bold letters and introspective words - always believing in the power of being kind.
We are so honored to share a little bit of Lisa with all of you! Learn more about her work, her values and her day-to-day in the blog below.
PP: Tell us a little bit about yourself (you, where you live, your family, your career)
LT: Born, raised and living in beautiful Vancouver, BC! By day, I work as a design director in the health technology space. I’m also a lettering artist that has worked with clients like Zappos, GoFundMe, and the Government of Canada. My most recent accomplishment has been completing a 3000+ square foot mural last month with Otilia Sabina and Victoria Sieczka as part of Vancouver Mural Fest.
As each year passes, I resonate more and more with Dana Tanamachi’s motto of “live a quiet life and work with your hands.” Creating has given me so much joy - especially during the pandemic. Whether that’s lettering, painting, pottery, or something else, I love creating something from nothing.
PP: Tell us a little bit about your journey as an artist. We would love to hear your story – how you got started, where you are now and all the ups and downs in between.
LT: I didn’t even learn about graphic design until my last year of high school. To be honest, I’ve always felt like a fake; it’s not until this year until I even considered myself an “artist” and not just a designer. I’ve never taken a painting class and hated the one drawing class I took as a kid. I can’t draw anatomy and I don’t know any painting techniques.
Only in the past three years have I really taken lettering seriously and only in 2021 that I’ve gotten steady client work that I enjoy doing. It took me awhile to find me style and voice, but I feel like it was because I needed to know myself better before really expressing myself in a way that resonated with others. And it’s constantly evolving, just like me. Lately, using my creativity to run fundraisers for important social causes has really fueled my fire.
PP: Share a little bit about your daily life – what does the typical routine look like for you?
LT: I love starting my mornings slow with a homemade tea latte. My day job keeps me pretty busy during the week, but I try to carve out enough time for painting, drawing, and creating just for fun. I’m definitely a homebody, but I also love biking, taking in sunsets, and cafe lounging. I’m also a massive nerd and love things like D&D and FPS games!
PP: Where do you find inspiration these days? Is there anyone in particular in your life who inspires you?
LT: It sounds so corny, but the creatives in my little Internet world. I’ve made friends over Instagram that I’ve never met that are doing amazing things and putting out inspiring messages into the world. Also, books. Love going to book stores and finding gems - both new and second-hand!
PP" What is the last book you read? Favorite musician/band you can’t get enough of?
LT: I’m currently reading Japanese Language, Gender, and Ideology. It’s a pretty academic book, but it’s fascinating to learn about how Japanese language perpetuates gender stereotypes. In lieu of a musician/band, I’ll recommend the book The Dream of Water by Kyoko Mori. For those with an immigrant identity that they sometimes struggle with (like me), I’d highly recommend!
PP: How has the past year and a half affected you emotionally, physically and within your work? Can you share any rituals or practices you use to stay afloat that you’ve learned along the way?
LT: As with so many others, it’s been tough. I’ve been lucky and privileged that I haven’t been overly impacted, but it’s hard to think of all the lost moments and opportunities.
Something that has been uplifting for me is creating just for fun. Sometimes that’s experimenting with acrylic, making clay earrings, or whatever else! It’s something I’ve really embraced over the pandemic. Using my creativity for good by fundraising for causes important to me has also been very fulfilling.
PP: Can you share the most recent act of kindness you witnessed? (or that was shown to you)
LT: I recently went through a difficult loss at the tail end of a massive mural installation. The two artists I was collaborating with (Otilia Sabina and Victoria Sieczka) were so supportive and kind. They gave me space and time to deal with my grief. I am so grateful for that.
PP: What are your professional and life plans for the next year? Any words of wisdom for those of us who are also creative small business owners, striving to lead more intentional lives and build something beautiful?
LT: To be honest, I don’t have many plans! I recently went through a “what am I doing with my life” moment, so I’m good for a little while. My only certain plan is to visit family and friends in Japan for a month or two once it’s safe to do so. The pandemic has shown me how fulfilling a life of creating can be, how important it is to surround yourself with love and support, and how much good one person can have in the world.
There will always be ups and downs and twists and turns. The best way I’ve navigated it is by being honest (but kind) with myself, always improving my craft, and supporting (and being supported by) other amazing creatives. And realizing that even the people I look up to have imposter syndrome and bad days!
PP: Where can we learn more about you and your work? (website, social, etc.)