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This is a portfolio for Playlab, Inc. by Sky Kawano.

My name is Sky Kawano and I recently graduated from the BA Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. I also attended The Cooper Union in New York City for study abroad. Growing up between The Lake District and Kyoto, I was surrounded by a lot of traditional crafts which became the foundation of my art education. The duality of being mixed race is at the core of how I ideate because a lot of soul searching stemmed from finding visual and cultural links between the UK and Japan.

Painting supplies weren’t accessible to me as a kid, so I expressed myself through pirated digital tools. Being an active member of the Minecraft creative community was why I self-taught After Effects and created motion pieces. This experience inspired my final year project at CSM which focused on appropriation and alegality as a means of making new work (ref. Daisy’s Anatomy). It’s important that digital resources aren’t inaccessible, so that everyone can fairly contribute to the collective culture.

As someone that grew up between two cultures, I learned very quickly that preconceived notions of a set way were extremely one dimensional. There’s this need to hold onto “common sense”, but when you put too much emphasis on that and then move into a foreign environment, it becomes obsolete — fluidity is the key. Coming from mixed Asian decent, Bruce Lee was one of my main role models growing up. The sentiment of his that I held close was, “If you do not have a style, if you say: Well, here I am as a human being, how can I express myself totally and completely? Now that way you won’t create a style, because style is a crystallisation.” It resonated because growing up I’d always been at odds with the rigid structures around me that couldn’t facilitate the complexities of a multiracial identity. This became a personal doctrine that allowed me to break through glass ceilings. Instead of having confidence in a set way, I gained confidence in myself to be able to create in any situation regardless of circumstances. My goal is to facilitate this in my own personal practice, hence why I’d love to learn from you. What I can offer is a natural fluidity in my approach and thinking, a level of courageousness that can push those around me and an aptitude for navigating complex and quick-changing situations. From the interviews that I’ve watched of yours, I know I’d be extremely compatible with the culture you’ve built. I didn’t think there was a creative space that embodied the same values that I have, but when I found your studio I realised how much more was possible. What gravitated me towards your work was that it never felt derivative. It shows how considered your ideation is and I know that I’d fit well in any team that has that level of commitment to the process.

I’m very independent, resourceful and love solving problems. When searching for design solutions, my brain instinctively works in terms of 2 and 3 dimensional motion. I know I can find a creative and original approach to bring static concepts alive. I’ve also explored, performance, physical computing, coding and sound art in experimental projects that have influenced how I work.

For the whole of 2021, I’ve worked on multiple collaborative projects and found that I thrive in environments where I can bounce off others and push the talented people around me. I’m an extremely reliable team player and I’m looking to be as actively involved as possible. This opportunity is foremost a learning experience and I can guarantee that it will translate into exceptional work.

Issey Miyake: “My design is no design.”