We Who Seek: Kyle Moriwaki
We recently corresponded with Kyle Moriwaki, an art director, designer, and illustrator working in the entertainment industry—and we asked him to share how he’s wearing some of the latest Seek styles. Read on for a conversation about his art, his process, and some great advice for creatives—or anyone pursuing a passion.
1. Let’s start at the beginning—when did you first fall in love with art and design; how did you come to pursue it professionally?
I don’t recall ever falling in love with art to be honest. It was just something I always did. My parents still have boxes filled with drawings I made dating back to when I was around five... possibly even younger than that. I loved drawing old Japanese monsters. Tanks and Helicopters. Then, around middle school, my focus shifted to people. Anatomy was increasingly becoming very important to me. That went on all throughout high school where I experimented a lot with charcoal, ink and clay.
It wasn’t until college that I started applying my illustrative skills to design. I majored in Communication Design and learned a lot of fundamental rules that I would later apply to my professional work in the entertainment industry. I now specialize in photo compositing, illustration and design for TV and movie posters. I love it because it hits on all my favorite aspects of art and design.
2. You’re based in New York and in what ways has living here affected your outlook?
Yes, I’ve been living in Brooklyn for about 14 years. It’s all been said before, but this place just drives you as a creative person. It’s endless. There are countless museums, restaurants (cooking is another one of my passions), parks and beaches. Everything I love having around me is here. My fiance and I just recently bought a car, so that has opened up all opportunities there are to explore this incredible borough and the ones surrounding it.
3. Can you walk us through your creative process?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve never really put this on paper haha. I typically am given a brief description of a show or movie. A discussion is had between me and the creative director as we start the brainstorming process of how we want to visually represent the show or movie while also telling a bit of a story through the art. I then go into photoshop and sketch up some ideas. Once a direction or two are chosen, a photoshoot with the talent is scheduled. Those photos are then brought into photoshop, and I build a number of “comps”, taking the original chosen sketches and expanding on them, trying slightly different directions with each. After the final comp is chosen, I go back into photoshop and “finish” the comp. This involves retouching, extensive lighting work to the talent/scene and any illustration to fill in the gaps
4. In addition to your work at AMC, what other projects are you working on? Are you working on any personal projects?
I also create music under the name Ahuva. A lot of experimental electronic work that I don’t really release, I just upload to Soundcloud. I still draw and sculpt often. I also now have an iPad Pro which I started a portrait series with in Procreate. That has been ridiculously fun.
5. What’s something you’ve done or created that you’re particularly proud of?
My family and I have always been huge Amy Sedaris fans, ever since Strangers With Candy. She came out with a show on truTV (which is where I worked before AMC) and I was chosen to art direct and help design both Season 1 and 2 artwork. I was able to visit the sets, help direct Amy for the photoshoots and work very closely with the agencies who helped piece together the final artwork. By far one of the most peak moments of my career so far.
6. Is there a particular artist or designer that has been influential to your work?
I grew up with Drew Struzan movie posters throughout the 80’s and 90’s. He’s always been a favorite of mine, especially since all of his work was illustrated. As of recently, I have been absolutely in love with Miles Johnston’s illustrations. So incredibly inspiring.
7. How would you describe your artistic style? And how about your personal style?
Compositionally my artistic style, as of recent, has been much more on the simplistic side. It really all depends on what the show or movie are about. One piece of art can be super grungy, dark and moody, while another piece can be bright and light-hearted. But one thing I’ve been focusing a lot on is photo retouching, especially on humans. I go crazy getting an image of talent to look beautiful and polished.
8. Where do you go or what do you do when you’re seeking inspiration?
Honestly... Pinterest haha. There’s so much on there to get inspired by. I also frequent Behance for design/illustration inspo and IMP Awards to browse through poster art of recent movies and shows. Really great stuff on there.
9. What’s the most recent book you’ve read and felt moved or inspired by?
I mostly buy art books to get inspired by. Bird by Andrew Zuckerman is visually stunning.
10. What’s the best advice you’ve received so far and who did it come from?
I actually watched a YouTube video a few years ago that was an artist talking about the best advice HE’S ever gotten from someone. It really spoke to me as I found myself with the same problem he had. Basically, I focused on trying to do too many things, trying to excel in more skills than I could handle and eventually feeling discouraged in my inability to do so. But the advice was to focus on just one thing. Do it over and over and over again. You can still dabble in those other things. But your main focus should be on that one thing. I’ve been applying that to my skill as a photo compositor, specifically in the retouching department. Since then, I’ve seen a big increase in my level of work. It’s been very rewarding.
11. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a new craft, but is afraid it's "too late."
If you truly see yourself drawn to that craft, reeeally wanting to learn more about and grow with it, then I don’t see why it would ever be “too late”. Make stuff. Don’t be afraid to put it out there. Get advice from others in the same field. Keep making stuff and be open to experimentation. You might stumble on a new way to do things that no one has done yet. The key is drive though. If you see yourself losing it more and more, then it might not be the thing for you.
12. What are you seeking more of this year?
Road Trips and travel.
13. Can you share an upcoming project you’re excited about?
My mom and I are working together to design my wedding invitations and save-the-dates for next year. Her beautiful handwriting coupled with my illustrations. Her mother did the same for her, so I’m very grateful she was into the idea of carrying on that tradition.
Kyle is wearing the Page Shirt in fawn, matcha stripe and navy indigo stripe.
Photo credit: Celeste Sloman