A Little Something about Me

Hi, my name is Hikaru Just. I'm a US-based Japanese artist.


    I draw alien babes and their world on an iPad. I sometimes use traditional media, such as alcohol-based markers and Posca to create my babes. I love the challenges of both traditional and digital art.

     

    My Childhood, A Weird Kid? 


    I was born and raised in southern Japan.
    Ever since I could pick up a pen, I've always been creating.
    I'm even surprised by some of the illustrated stories I wrote/ drew when I could barely form correct sentences in writing. I feel like creativity just came naturally to me.


    I also used drawing as a coping mechanism. I spent the first few years of my life in an abusive and unstable home caused by my dad and his alcoholism. Even though those were some of the hardest years of my and my mom's life, I felt happy whenever I was in my own world creating.


    As a child (and even now), I loved staring at artworks for hours, often ones with very intricate details while creating stories to go with them. When I was old enough, I started coming up with made-up counties, languages, and so on... I'm so grateful to my mom for letting me explore my creativity and "weirdness" without judging me.

     



    Fortunately, I was never bullied or anything, but I was always the weird kid. Some people thought I was "childish" for still drawing or writing stories when I was in elementary school. I felt I couldn't fit in. I always felt like I had to put on a mask of a completely different person when I was out just so I wouldn't be an outcast.



    Because of my mom's influence, I was introduced to western art/ pop culture from an early age and I loved it. She studied abroad in the US and traveled here a few times. She also had a job where she met and became friends with foreigners living locally. I feel like I definitely had the privilege of growing up in a mixed cultural environment in one of the most homogenous countries out there.


    One of my favorite artists was and still is Lisa Frank. I was extremely intrigued by her color pallet; something you wouldn't see often in Japan. As a child, I was also always looking forward to getting cards from my aunt who is a Japanese American living in California. Greeting cards in the US seemed more colorful and just felt so fun and happy.

     


    When I was a little older, I went to Egypt on vacation. There, I discovered their traditional art. I was completely mesmerized. When I look at my drawings from that time, I definitely see some inspiration from this wonderful experience. I also credit it for shaping the person I am today.

     

    Denying Myself 


    Here is something a little unique about me; I went to a boarding school in high school. It was pretty fun. I then moved to Tokyo upon graduating and lived there for about a year before I moved here to Utah.




    Even though all I did in my childhood was draw and create, I never thought it would be a realistic career choice for me. I felt I subconsciously separated my identity as an artist from who I was outside of it and I would never be accepted as an artist.


    That said, I never studied up until middle school, but I became pretty passionate about studying English and I even went to study abroad in Australia while in high school. Around this time, I stopped drawing completely.


    I had dreams to become a famous singer as a child (I guess I thought this was a realistic enough career goal. lol), but once I had to think more seriously about my "future", according to what adults said, I grew interested in using my language skills for a job.


    After I moved here, I became certified as a TESOL teacher and a qualified medical interpreter. However, nothing I tried felt "right" or brought me purpose.



    Around that time, I was also stuck in a hyper-conservative college I chose sorely for the cheap tuition and I was completely miserable. I felt I was denied and criticized for speaking my truth and standing up for what I believed in...

     



    I felt my identity was denied.
    I was going to just take a semester off to refresh my mind, but I never went back.

     

    Now That I Found Purpose, I'm Never Looking Back


    During my break, I started drawing again. I still remember how liberated I felt and it made me cry.

    I felt truly like myself when I was creating.

    I was no longer trying to deny who I was.

    I was no longer living for anyone, but myself.

    I was finally pursuing my true purpose.

    This is when DROPOUT was born.

    I want my artworks to be a safe place for YOU to be YOU, explore your imagination and creativity and I want my merch or any products to help express YOU. I know how hard it can be to just exist and to be true to yourself in a world full of negativity.
    I want my artwork to inspire you to love yourself a little more today.

     



    You are special. There is only one of you in the whole universe.
    I hope my art puts a smile on your face.