Interview with Chika Higashi, Head of Coci la Elle (Part 2)


In this second part of Premium Japan’s interview with parasol artist Chika Higashi about her acclaimed brand Coci la elle (the first part is here), we explore Higashi’s own attitudes towards the creative act as well as her first book, Kasa.

Kasa_04-minPhotograph: Shin’ichiro Fujita

Absorbed in painting—a “self that isn’t anyone”

Coci la elle’s parasols are made in many ways, but here’s a representative example. First, Higashi and her staff gather fabric and parts for a batch of parasols. Next, they commission their team of umbrella artisans in Kyoto to work on the batch until they are at the point where the handles are ready to be attached. Higashi then paints designs or pictures on the white fabric of the parasol. After this, her staff attach the handles that suit each design best, and the parasols are done.

“When I decide in advance what to paint, I don’t really like the results, so I try not to think of anything as I work. I love the incidental stains caused by drops of paint, and I’m always hoping to work without interposing my consciousness as far as possible. Sometimes I become so absorbed in painting that I suddenly realize that six hours have passed [laughs]. I think those times, when you can be not a mother, not a woman, not a painter or a parasol artist, just a self that isn’t anyone, are very happy.”


Next page: “Facing the creative process with sincere serenity