Maki Shimizu

Portrait Maki Shimizu
Maki Shimizu [© Anja Müller]

The comic artist, graphic novel author, and illustrator Maki Shimizu was born in Tokyo in 1981. During her school years in Toride, she took lessons in art, painting, and printing techniques. She studied fine arts at the University of Tsukuba where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in printing techniques, in 2003. She then completed a graphic design degree at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in 2006. She was a member of the Musenstube art studio community in Berlin-Neukölln between 2007 and 2013.

Her first graphic novel »Adagio N°1 – Alltag in Berlin« [2011; tr: Adagio N°1 – Everyday Life in Berlin] reflects her life as a freelance artist in Berlin: work in the studio community, life in the shared apartment, her private life, etc. The alter ego and main characters of the graphic novel are the tomcat named Adagio and a mouse named Maki Maus. The story continues in »Adagio N°2 – Im dunkelsten Winter aller Zeiten« [2015; tr: Adagio N°2 – In the Darkest Winter Ever]. This time, the two protagonists must survive 80 cold days in a shared apartment with Thomas the turtle and muddle their way through everyday life between colds, visits to the sauna, and nightmares. Shimizu’s concise ink drawings in »Adagio N°3 – Mindvollness« [2017; tr: Adagio N°3 – Mindfulness] also follow the tomcat and mouse on their journey towards mental health and peace of mind. After a burn-out, they learn a lot from Berlin’s healers about the relationship between body, mind, and soul. Shimizu’s most recent graphic novel »Über Leben« [2021; tr: About Life] is also set in Berlin and again follows the story of Maki Maus and Kater Adagio as they deal with the difficulties forced upon the creative community as a result of gentrification. Again, Maki Shimizu works with ink and charcoal, which she uses even more expressively this time. »Der Tagesspiegel« wrote that »The therapeutic and the destructive are closely linked in ›About Life‹. Raising questions, making us think, reflecting on human experiences and social conditions – this book does all that. But it also brings subtle humour and an affectionate view of the city and its inhabitants.«

Maki Shimizu was a lecturer at the Technische Kunsthochschule Berlin between 2013 and 2016 and has held comic workshops at numerous schools. As a visual artist, she focuses primarily on urban and everyday scenes and has participated in art festivals and in the design of books such as the »Urban Sketchbook Band 1« [2017]. Shimizu was shortlisted for the Stiftung Buchkunst’s »The Most Beautiful German Books« award and received a comics scholarship from the state of Berlin in 2019. Maki Shimizu lives in Berlin.

Date: 2022