Don't hold back on an idea, don't save your idea for later. Just give it out... When you save it... you never push yourself to come up with something better than that idea, because you know it's there.
Whether he's designing large-scale murals for the Ace Hotel, or limited edition backpacks for Eastpak, Kenzo Minami links all of his endeavors with a sense of structured, internal logic. Tying creative versatility with a dedicated vision allows Kenzo to grow and expand, while nurturing a signature aesthetic. Intention is key: Kenzo develops a unique formula for each project, but he is never afraid to veer from it to follow his instincts.
Getting his start in TV production, Kenzo took an intensive day job to cover his rent and gain experience. After a full day of work, Kenzo put his ambition to use and spent nights in the empty studio working on personal projects.
One such project was a sticker he designed to quality test a printer. A "test" that was so strong it wound up in the hands of a Nike executive, and landed Kenzo his first commissioned mural. Soon, he was making his own line of t-shirts, while still being asked to front special projects for high-profile brands like Reebok and Microsoft. It was not long until a Dunny he designed for Kidrobot found its home in the permanent collection in MoMA's Architecture and Design collection.
For Kenzo, every small project can lead to something huge, something unprecedented. He urges aspiring creatives to put ourselves out there and create, because we never know who will stumble upon our work and recognize its potential. Most of all, we never know how far the bounds of our imaginations go until we push as hard as we can for an even better idea.
Stories & Surroundings
“This is a tiny model of the 70 meter tower, 'The Tower of the Sun' by the artist Taro Okamoto. The tower was built for Expo ‘70 in Osaka. When the Expo ended, all the stadiums and structures were dismantled in order to eventually become Expo Commemoration Park, but they chose to save this tower. It’s remained there ever since.”
“These are the notebooks that I sketch and write my ideas in. I used to use a bunch of 3” x 5” cards - I would write, sketch, and doodle random ideas and designs on them. Once in awhile, I would take them out to review them, shuffle them, and combine them, so I could physically edit them. I still do that, but since those cards get all over the place, I started using these notebooks for more coherent ideas.”
“I cannot even begin to describe how much impact and influence The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams had on me. I always tell people that as an ESL (English as a Second Language) person, there are a few things in life that are worth learning the English language for and this is definitely one of them. The first time I read his book, it rewired my brain and changed how I looked at the world.”
“I have a large collection of ties that I wear often. I almost always wear a tie when I fly. I look my most proper when I am traveling. I dress this way out of respect, but it also makes a man's life easier when wearing a tie in public places and going through customs and security. People just give you more respect and, generally, better service. Traveling becomes a collection of the first and possibly last impression you give to people you encounter along the way, so you might as well leave the best impressions, as well as show some respect.”
“After watching The Goonies, I tried to build all the gadgets that Data built in real life. And this eventually evolved and morphed into what I do today, even though they might appear to be different projects. My whole life and career has revolved around me trying to be Data from The Goonies.”
Directed by David Kruta Written by Caroline Ryder