Inspired by vintage collectibles

Art is just as necessary as eating or sleeping for Junko Mizuno, a Japanese artist recognised by her paintings, comics, toy designs and illustrations inspired by 70s and 80s Japanese pop culture. Today she’s living in the US, but we met with her to find out just how it has been to design a glass figurine with IKEA.

“I’ve been making art naturally every day since I was two or three years old. I love everything about art. As a relatively underground artist, I had never thought a company like IKEA would be interested in working with me. The offer made me really happy and excited!”

Junko, and eight other creatives are featuring hand-blown glass figurines for this year’s upcoming IKEA Art Event. Like many of the other artists, it’s Junko’s first time working with glass as a creative medium.

We worked by exchanging emails, sketches and photos just like I always do with toy makers.

“It was an interesting process, and I learnt a lot. We worked by exchanging emails, sketches and photos just like I always do with toy makers. Since it was my first time designing a cast glass figurine we had to discuss and change a lot from my first drawings.

“If there’s anything I wish I could’ve done differently… I would have wanted to visit the factory in Målerås, but unfortunately, my schedule didn’t allow for it at the time. But all in all, it was very interesting and I’d love to do it again if I ever have the chance to.”

The final design? An owl girl.

“I wanted to make a simple, but beautiful figurine inspired by vintage collectable figurines and toys from late 60’s to early 70’s. I had two ideas, an owl girl and a lion girl. IKEA liked the owl girl and I named her Nocturnal because I’m a night person and also I worked on the design at night, too!”