LCS INTERVIEW :: Junichi Tsuneoka


Have your illustrations always been a fusion of Japanese pop culture and U.S. Urban culture?

Earlier in my carrier, I did one poster with my illustration (it was a lot different from what I do now) and I showed it to my friends in Japan. They liked it because it looked “American”. When I showed it to people here, they thought it looked “Japanese”. I didn’t really mean to make it either American or Japanese looking. So I thought it’s interesting how I just naturally take those 2 influences together without knowing it. I guess it just built up by living in 2 different cultures. From then on, I have researched what makes it Japanese or US look and try to learn from it. Over the years, I realized I respond more to Japanese pop art and US urban art than anything else. So my illustration has become more and more a fusion of Japanese pop culture and U.S. Urban culture.

From your days at Modern Dog, which designers were the most influential with regard to your work?

I was very fortunate to get hired by Modern Dog. Everybody there are world top class designers. I was sitting side by side with Robynne Raye, Michael Strassburger and Vittorio Costarella so I can learn a lot from them just by watching; being there and they were also great at teaching, guiding and supporting. So my biggest influence is from these 3 designers. My carrier and even my life don’t exist without these incredibly talented people. They treated me as equal to them and they let me handle responsible projects in earlier days already. That made me a lot better artist and I never thank them enough. I got to meet many artists through them too. Since Modern Dog is such welcoming place, it seems that people always come back, visit and hang out. Former Modern Dog clue such as George Estrada and Mark Atherton are also very talented designers and I never worked with them but I was very glad to get to know them and they were very influential to my work as well.

Who are your favourite artists/illustrators alive today?

I like Nate Williams. I actually met him through Modern Dog too. His work is amazing and very original. I wish I could be where he stands someday. He also gave me a lot of great advice when I was about to start as solo. I also like Robert Hardgrave (Farmerbob) He is also local Seattle artist and very original and very encouraging having such an artist in my own community.

Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?

I have mostly shown at local galleries and one of my work was shown at Kong gallery in Mexico City. I hope to show at outside of state galleries more. Galleries like, Receiver, Fifty24 or any gallery has understanding in illustration/commercial art. For local galleries, Blvd gallery and OKOK gallery. I would like to have a show there at some point too. Also, eventually I would like to show in Tokyo so that my family and a lot of old friend can visit and see my work.

Are you involved in any collaborative projects at the moment and is there anyone you would like to work with?

I will be a part of Sketchel project. Art Bureau zine issue 12 has my illustration both on cover and inside (will be out this October). There are many others actually, Think/Faest, Thisisamagazine, 800zine, wurst gallery and a few others. I would love to do collaborative projects as much as I can.

What’s next in the pipeline for Studio Stubborn Sideburn?

I would like to do more and more work to be seen and work with many different type of clients. I’d still like to do gallery shows and hopefully more nationally from now on. I am also thinking about building Stubborn Sideburn apparel/goods brand.


Again I would like to thank Robynne Raye, Michael Strassburger and Vittorio Costarella who are still supportive. I would like to thank all the people who has been supporting me and giving me great opportunities.

Manga or Graffiti?

I grew up with Manga culture but never done graffiti. I think there are a lot of things that are common. I would love to do a graffiti mural work if I have a chance (legally).

Cats or Dogs?

I have a 3 year old Rat Terrier. (Looks like Jack Russel Terrier) His name is Croquette (pronounce like Ka-Ro-Kay).A croquette is a food originally came from Europe and imported to Japan long time ago and had been customized. It is basically a deep fried mashed potato ball.

I don’t have a cat but my dog is about a cat size.

Junichi has a new show called:

Bi Bim Pop
New works by Junichi Tsuneoka

Opening Reception
THR, Sept 7th 6-10pm
the show runs through Sept.
2018 1st Ave
Seattle WA.

You can see more of Junichi Tsuneoka’s work at

Interview posted by theApe

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Darren Di Lieto

Darren Di Lieto is the founder and editor of The Little Chimp Society. He created the LCS in 2005 as an illustration news portal to promote the illustrators and artists who bring joy to our everyday lives. Since then the LCS has grown into a publisher, hosting provider and events organiser.

1 Response

  1. genesse says:

    very cool artwork. thanks so much for showcasing this. Good luck to you Junichi on your show!

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