Ceramic artist. Magazine editor. Fashion designer. Branding expert. Acclaimed author. How much talent is too much talent?
For Tokyo-born, San Francisco-based creative powerhouse, Akiko Tsuji, the limit does not exist. From running a design and publishing studio with her husband to publishing a style/art magazine to counting with the likes of Yohji Yamamoto in Japan, Paloma Wool, Maman NY, and even the City of London amongst her clients, the evidence speaks for itself. She recently took a break from her latest project, creating a line of hand-painted clogs in collaboration with Troentorp Sweden, to chat with us about her inspiration and idols.
Of course, the first thing we wanted to know was where someone so multi-talented finds inspiration to create. It should come as no surprise that the woman who can seemingly do everything is inspired by everything. “I have a broad view on things that inspire me,” she says “from architecture to writing, to films and artworks to simply people I see on the street. I am mostly looking for a spirit of true personal expression and a personal sense of identity.”
More specifically, Akiko explains that she’s inspired by the challenge of creating something intentional and unique that people authentically connect with, “I think much of that element of a more personal relationship to a product has been lost in a world of hype, commercialization, and overproduction. It’s refreshing to discover something soulful and deeper. Things that are more considered and more individual generally inspire me the most.” Like her role models (and dream collaborators) Issey Miyake and Lucie Rie, Akiko’s dedication to creating with care and purpose is a hallmark of our creative process.
Akiko aims to give inspiration as much as she seeks it. For her, the goal is to produce works that make an impact. “There is a sense of freedom and personal confidence that I hope to bring to anyone who considers my work,” she explains. “I would hope that someone who chooses their own path and just simply enjoys and loves life would be equally appreciative of my work.”
Well, we thoroughly appreciate Akiko's work. So much so, in fact, that we partnered with her to create the Akiko Tsuji x PAX Collection. While supplies last, you can choose the tone you want to set for your sesh with a PAX 3 or Era device featuring one of the 4 new, limited edition Akiko Tsuji mood-inspired illustrations. Check out the exclusive designs and what inspired them below:
Did this design unlock a core memory for you? Good, that means it’s working. The design pulls inspiration from the Japanese City Pop sound as well as the pattern art of Memphis designers like Alessandro Mendini and Achille Castiglioni. The result is an aesthetic that’s whimsical, delightfully chaotic, and distinctly 80s.
“I imagined merging the two worlds visually, somehow without losing the vitality that I was after, but with the challenge of using only a single color.”
A single note is pleasant, but harmony is a vibe. This design features light, digital shapes floating in a vacuum of calm, blank space. These elements are distinctive on their own, but together, they form something more complex and satisfying. Reach for Harmony in those moments when everything comes together and you feel in sync with the world around you.
“I most often visualize things in abstraction. Much like the abstract sculptures and objects I make using ceramics and garments, I created a set of digital sculptures for this. Sort of a digital-folk aesthetic.”
Unbothered. Majestic. Cats are and have always been a whole mood, and this feline design is no different. Inspired by the image of a relaxed tabby cat perched elegantly in a garden, licking her paw, after catching a mouse on a nice sunny day, this furry friend is the epitome of leisure. Cat is the perfect companion for when all you want to do is absolutely nothing.
“I often incorporate animals in my work. A cat seemed so perfect for the PAX device as cats give off a chill vibe!”
She’s powerful, she’s confident, she’s here for good vibes only. She’s Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, abundance, and stability. While the design features her signature long flowing dress, classic wavy Grecian locks, and iconic olive branch, she’s also been reimaged with wings that make her stature even more striking. Goddess is the go-to when you’re feeling confident and strong.
“I'm generally drawn to goddesses of different cultures and since PAX is the Roman goddess of peace, I decided to draw her. I've added the wings, and a wholesome cornucopia by her feet while focusing on depicting the peaceful aura in her expression and gesture.”