In 2008, the Mai Hiro brand was created as a joint venture when Nakanari came in contact with a local Orlando artist; Soujohn. Since then the brand’s focus has been on strong character design and illustrations. While welcoming all opportunities for collaborations with other artists and companies Mai Hiro’s vision is to bring its unique and innovative style to all possible forms of media.
The world of Mai Hiro is full of unique repeating patterns and bright colors which help our creations take on their own interesting lives and storylines. Each of our original characters has an imaginative background story and adventures that allow us to express a full range of ideas. Nakanari serves as project and creative director with brand collaboration in toy design. While Soujohn serves as the brand art director and PR rep. The goal of Mai Hiro is to provide freshness with their art work and designs.
Nakanari born in Taiwan, creator of “Misfits of Nakanari” and show director of B.B.Birdy’s Funny Club series, brought the idea to have artists bring their 2D artwork to 3D artwork on blank canvas toys.
Nakanari created and partnered with various artists to bring their artwork to reality (2005 – Crossover Show “Gallery Nucleus/LA ad Rotofugi/Chicago”, 2007 – Project Vinyl “FX Show Toy” with partners in Me Llamo Jellyfish, 2008 – Technobabble “myplasticheart/New York” with Dave Quiles).
Nakanari and artist Soujohn created a new brand called Mai Hiro. The Mai Hiro brand focuses on strong character design and illustration. Nakanari has a distinct style, uses clean graphic lines and shapes, with a soft pastel palette framed by contrasting thick bold black lines. Nakanari prefers to showcase his artwork on canvas using the flat colors technique than to play with shadows. Nakanari’s Eastern Oriental culture is infused into his artwork.
Nakanari has exhibited with other well knows artists and brand like Kidrobot, boblbe-e,The Dirtycream, KusoVinyl, CarzyLables and has exhibited in America, France, HongKong, Taiwan, Singapore and Spain.
Soujohn is a Florida based artist. Originally of Panamanian descent, and born on a military base in Fort Knox, Kentucky. His many travels lead him to taking up his home in Orlando, and there he decided to hold it down for the O-town.
Soujohn is the second half behind the creative force known as Mai Hiro, serving as the brands art director. He is well known for his…. well nothing, really, he’s pretty much the secret weapon in the Mai Hiro arsenal. However, while hard at work developing and refining Mai Hiro’s artwork, since co-founding the brand, he’s had time to develop some of his own musings.
His work is influenced by other artists he works with, and who he feels are leaders in their own genres. His canvas works are greatly influenced by his partner, Nakanari, but not so much in color and design so much as being asian themed. Each of his works focuses and character movement and body structure. Most of his designs and characters are composed of black and white, and that is mainly to focus on the overall design in contrast to pleasing color palettes.
As he continues to create, one can only guess what directions his designs will take to.
Nico Lucido is a studio artist and fabricator from New Jersey. His role in Mai Hiro is exclusively preliminary and conceptual design.
Check out more of his work here.
As a child, Susan had a strong connection to music and melody. She would freestyle songs and beats. In high school she started taking music more seriously, writing her own material while juggling duties creating projects, events, and the production of her graduating class’ yearbook. In 2006 she went to college and started a brand called “Shining” to showcase her illustration abilities. In school she used free time to work on freelance projects including graphic design, logo production, posters, installations, and murals. She also was actively participating in music production as a vocalist and song writer. In her third year of college she finished her first stop motion project and participated in the GEISAI 2009 exhibition by Takashi Murakami. In 2011 after graduating, her first job was at Light Up recording studios. In 2012 she designed her first App Game “Cacul + Calculator”. As of now, Susan works for one of the largest music record companies in Japan, Avex as an assistant producer. She works with musicians and recording engineers in the studio, at live events, and on anything relating to the field.
Check out more of her work here.