With each new issue of our magazine we feature handpicked artists in our magazine as well as in our banner space gallery her on our website. Our second featured artist for the Imagine Education issue is the fun and colourful candyland of the creative duo Sas and Yosh.
ABOUT SAS AND YOSH
Sarah Bellisario and Yoshie Allan. 38 X 2. Designers and Illustrators. Live in Hitchin, Hertfordshire UK, with hubbies and families.
Tell us your story?
Sarah and Yoshie grew up on opposite sides of the world in the UK and Japan.
I was born in the countryside of north east Japan, with natural drawing gift. In my childhood, I would spend all day expressing my imaginary world onto paper. I dreamed of being a Manga comic author until I was 11, when I had my first dog Koro and became an animal lover and decided to be a vet.
When I grew up I went to the university to be vet in Central Japan but soon realized I was more interested in making clothes. I completed a night course in sewing and pattern making at a fashion college alongside my vet studies for 1-2years, then I quit my uni and went to a fashion college in Tokyo.
I studied fashion for 3 years at ESMOD and when I graduated, I worked for a fashion company as a designer assistant and learned about the fashion industry, but soon I started feeling that I would like to be a freelance something...
So I started my illustrator career in 2006 and after writing and illustration childrens picture books was lucky to have them published in Japan. While I enjoyed my work and travelling around the world to get my inspirations I met my husband, who is from the UK. Many things have influenced and changed my route in the past but thanks to it all I’m now here in the UK with my lovely family and enjoying my artist life and work with my special design other half Sas!
Growing up I was always obsessed with collecting things and filling scrap books. I loved anything colourful and covered in pattern and drew all the time. Though nothing has really changed there.
In my early 20’s I did lots of travelling and have been hugely inspired by motifs, designs and nature from different countries and cultures. I Still love creating scrappy travel journals, and hoarding unusual objects from my travels.
I lived and worked in London for 6 years before returning to my hometown where I spent 10 years sharing my love of art with kids teaching art in independent school and FE college.
I decided to go back to University a few years ago and did an MA in Children’s Book Illustration and decided it was time to turn my passion into something that I could do every day! That’s when I met Yoshie!
How did you end up doing what you do?
Yoshie and I had a mutual friend who thought we would get on well and introduced us to each other in early 2014. I don’t think she ever would have thought what an amazingly wonderful thing she did in getting us to meet up. We pretty much fell in love with each others work right away and started hanging out together. Four months later Yoshie suggested we start a business together, and Sas and Yosh was born. The idea was that every illustration and design would be a collaboration. Drawing on both of our strengths and experience, and creating our own unique illustrative look.
We spent the summer designing and creating patterns, researching stockists and choosing products and officially launched in Oct 2014 with our own homewares range of wallpaper, teatowels, mugs, aprons and prints.
Since then we have continued to work on new products and also create bespoke and commissioned design for a wide variety of clients making web illustration, logos, textile design, magazine illustration and much more.
What's the best part? As we collaborate on all our patterns and designs the most exciting element of our work is seeing what we do with each others illustrations. Its thrilling to give your work to someone else and to let them create something from it that you would never have thought of.
The worst part? As we both have kids under 6 its frustrating not having enough time in the day to do more work! Also never having enough money to instantly turn all our new designs into new products.
If you weren't doing this - then what would you be doing? Something infinitely less creative and exciting!
What makes you very happy? Sudden inspiration, sunny days and drawing and our cool kids.
What are your future ambitions? We really want to continue to expand our own wallpaper and homewares ranges and to keep working on exciting collaborations with other clients and designers. We are also working on creating bespoke one off digital wallpapers for individual clients and would love to create wallpaper for restaurants or boutique hotels.
3 words that capture the very essence of your artwork? Colour, Pattern, Quirkiness
3 most important things to you when working? Our shared google folder, 24 hour messenger contact (drives our husbands mad!) Each other!
3 best sources of inspiration? Patterns from everywhere, different cultures, our overactive imaginations
Why is art important to you? It's everything! Creating art is what makes us who we are. Without art, life would be colourless, less beautiful and less inspiring.
Favorite subject in school? ART!!
Best teacher and why? Mr Mallet my amazing art teacher….taught me never to give up on a piece of work…”Work through it girls!’
Things you miss about going to school? Hanging upside down from the climbing frame everyday.
Things you don't miss about going to school? Homework
Best thing you learned in school? How to make friends
Worst thing you learned in school? I hated Maths because I was terrible at it but other than that I generally loved school.
How will school be in the future if you get to decide? Less homework and more emphasis on art as an important core subject, after all the arts are one of our biggest job markets!
Favorite subject in school? English, Art and Music.
Best teacher and why? Unfortunately I didnt meet any special teacher when I was a teenager at school, but back in my childhood my day nursery teacher and my primary year1-2 teacher were the best teachers who really understand me and always encouraged my writing and creative side.
Things you miss about going to school? Making my own manga (comic) magazine monthly that I passed to all my classmate subscribers.
Things you don't miss about going to school? Homework and Tests.
Best thing you learned in school? ‘Everyone’s view is really different’
Worst thing you learned in school? Teacher’s non-creative teaching in the afternoon classes… All we had to do was fight against our sleepiness!
How will school be in the future if you get to decide? Make every learning based on so much fun and creative activities, more exploring in/out of school.
Sas and Yosh did a beautiful illustration for the 10th issue of our magazine and you can download a free coloring sheet version of it via this link. Don't forget to share it with us if you or your kids take on the coloring challenge.