Hello Sandwich, Hello Tokyo! | Guest post by Ebony Bizys
I started Hello Sandwich blog in 2009 as a place to record the things that inspired me; a little place to save everything so that I wouldn’t forget. The name Hello Sandwich referenced some of the Japanese-English I had seen on previous trips to Japan. Here, you’ll often see things such as “calorie off”, “let’s lunch”, or “level up”, and I wanted to reference this quirky use of English.
When I moved to Tokyo I began recording my daily life here, in a way as a diary for myself, and also as a way to share the experience and journey with Hello Sandwich readers. I would post on Japanese packaging, daily trips to the supermarket, cute exhibitions, bike rides, Tokyo suburb reviews, and snippets about craft projects or workshops I was hosting.
Japan’s quirkiness and the fact that it was completely different way of life made it extremely appealing for me in a kind of fantasy-land way.
The local design scene in Tokyo is incredible. Although it’s a mega metropolis city, the design, expat, and niche craft community here is beautifully connected. Here in Tokyo there is no shortage of events / happenings / openings / exhibitions to inspire you at any given time. Having this community of amazingly talented and creative people in my life has inspired me and pushed me to work harder with my own practice. I’m passionate about collaborating with friends and brands that inspire the Hello Sandwich aesthetic and feel this is an important part of being able to expand anyone’s practice.
In my case, having a blog really helped getting the word out and build a way for Hello Sandwich to grow. Social media outlets such as instagram and pinterest were a fantastic way for clients to clearly see my vision and what I stand for and this, in turn, helped to connect me with the right people. Some of the projects that have come about out of the organic and natural documentation of my daily expat life in Tokyo include collaborating with mt (Japan’s popular masking tape brand), hosting workshops at Japan’s department stores such as Tokyu Hands and Isetan, producing Hello Sandwich editorial for Japanese books and magazines, making textile prints for Romance Was Born and having opportunities to collaborate with some of my favourite brands both in Japan and in Australia.
I’ve also had the opportunity to make three books, the latest of which, Hello Tokyo by Australian publisher Murdoch that was released in September 2015. Murdoch were fantastic in that they really let me put my own voice to all aspects of this book, allowing me to direct everything from the pagination, design, styling, projects, chapter breakdowns, and even selecting the right paper stock and gold foil for the cover.
The book is like a hard copy of the blog, with stories about living in Tokyo, projects to create a cute Tokyo-inspired lifestyle, and pages on collaborations and past projects I’ve worked on.
I was able to select my team here in Tokyo, including my photographer, stylist, food artists and assistants. We shot Hello Tokyo over approximately 10 long days at the studio, and then I photographed a lot at my own studio, such as the how-to-make shots.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video:
And some behind-the-scenes images (for more, head here):
Making books is one my most favourite parts of my job. It’s a way to combine all of the components of publishing that I love and skills that I learnt both at COFA (College of Fine Arts) and on the job at Vogue. This also means that I get to work in the photography studio with my photographer, Boco-chan. I feel most alive and at home when I’m on a shoot. One of the most fantastic things about loving your job is that I don’t have any problems staying motivated or inspired. I’ll come off an extremely tight deadline, sometimes one that has brought me to tears I swear that I am ‘never making a book again’ or ‘never making a zine again’ but then that same night in the shower I will start thinking ‘maybe in the next book I could include this…’ or ‘okay, what’s next’. At any point in time I have a never ending list of projects that I’m eager to start work on.
I hope you’ll enjoy Hello Tokyo!
Hello Sandwich (Ebony Bizys) is an Australian / Lithuanian artist, designer, photographer and blogger based in Tokyo.
Before moving to Tokyo in 2010, Bizys worked at Vogue magazines for 11 years, most recently in the position of Deputy Art Director at Vogue Living. Since moving to Tokyo, Bizys has Art Directed books, hosted solo exhibitions, designed a Japanese fashion website, been commissioned by Vogue Japan to make artworks for their publication, collaborated with Japanese masking tape brand mt, collaborated with Romance was Born on a fashion range, styled for various magazines, trend reported for various companies and has written articles for magazines such as Qantas Magazine, Vogue, British Airways, Inside Out, Real Living and Frankie. Bizys was invited by Tourism Antwerp to photograph the city for promotion in 2014.
The work of Hello Sandwich has appeared in many books and magazines, and she has been featured on both TV and radio.
Bizys has released three books which have been translated into six languages. She records her daily life on her Japan + Craft + Photography blog ‘Hello Sandwich’.