Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

age is just a number, trust me when I say this.

reposting from Instagram, in case this may help. I seldom talk about my exact age, but I came clear to help out some people…
🎂Age is just a number. Trust me when I say this. I just turned 55(!) 🎂
I started the first year of art college at age 34, graduated at 38, by the time I started making a living, I was already 40.
Especially at the beginning, I was worried if clients finding out that this ‘fresh new talent’ is actually old, they won’t hire me. I soon realized, in illustration, clients only care about two things: 1)your work 2)you are nice to work with.
They never ask your resume, degree, grades, age, and seldom care about your gender, race, or nationality (unless they are looking for someone very specific for a project). Basically, nobody cares who you are as long as you deliver.
I didn’t come to art school till 34, because 1) I was young and lost and I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do with my life. 2)At age 30, I wanted to go back to school, but I realized I didn’t have enough $$$, so I needed to work extra 3+ years 3) which actually gave me enough time to really think of what I wanted to do. And, you know what? It worked out. Every life experience I ever had to get here really helped. I swear I won’t be doing this if I started art earlier.
🎂
So, never let your age pressure you not to pursue what you want to do. You are younger now than next year. And, if it is taking a long time to reach your goal, you will always have more time so keep going. If you got a degree but struggling to land on a job you want, never feel like you are a loser because you have to do something else to survive now. I ended up doing my ‘day job’ before coming to art school, 11 years in the corporate world. I hated it, but guess what?, I learned everything I need to run my freelance business from that time I hated the most.
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Happy birthday to me and to everyone who has to have weird COVID19 birthdays. I bet we will look back later and find that we have learned some serious resilience during this time. 🎂
Photo by my very talented photographer friend Makoto Ishida.