You have probably seen her work on the sides of buses, adorning buildings, in movies and digital media, but what you may not know is that Kumi Matsumoto is the incredibly talented graphic designer, typographer, printer and all-round creative behind this imagery.
From the four metre tall “P” at the entrance to Petone, to Met Link buses wrapped in Kumi’s designs, to the graphic design work behind some of the Japanese inspired imagery featured in the movie Ghost in the Shell, Kumi Matsumoto is a young designer pursuing her passion.
Kumi’s work is fresh, modern and full of colour. Her Japanese identity and culture is brought to the fore in her designs and work.
Graduating in 2015, Kumi was recognised by her tutors and fellow students as the top student winning two awards. Straight after graduation Kumi worked for Weta Workshop on a short term contract in the painting and model making departments producing work for The Great War Exhibition at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park Wellington, and fantasy/horror movie Krampus. This was followed by a stint at Matchbox Gallery where she worked on exhibitions and where some of her work was featured.
What followed next was an incredible opportunity to work for international film production company Stone Street Studios based in Miramar, Wellington. There Kumi worked in preproduction, graphic design and the wider set of Ghost in the Shell, including designing and making costumes and props.
With its Japanese roots, Ghost in the Shell provided the ideal opportunity for Kumi who became the cultural advisor and translator to “Beat” Takeshi Kitano – famous Japanese actor and director who played the part of Daisuke Aramaki, chief of Public Security Section 9 — and boss of the cyborg cop heroine played by Scarlett Johansson.
“This was my first time working directly in the film industry,” says Kumi. “It is incredibly fast paced and you get to work with hundreds of people applying your skills to many different roles and functions. I always wanted to work in the film and entertainment industry and this came about because I live in Wellington and because of the skills I have.”
“I love creating beautiful design, and I have been able to work on really great projects like the Wellington Children’s Art Exhibition where art was exhibited in Sakai City Japan this year and will be again in 2018.”
During her studies Kumi was able to develop not only her graphic design skills but also her knowledge of typography and printing with digital media and print becoming the two majors of her Creative Degree.
“The tutors worked with me and helped me to learn how to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team which is often required when you are working. Certainly my film experience backed this up. They also referred me to jobs which meant I had work experience when I went to enter the job market.
“Building up your portfolio, joining exhibitions and putting yourself and your work out there gives you exposure and enables people to experience your work first-hand. I have been contacted by people as a result of them seeing my designs at exhibitions or on my website.”
Kumi is now working as a graphic designer and in marketing for multi-design award winning New Zealand company phil&teds. This involves working on not only the phils&teds brand but also Mountain Buggy and mokopuna. "I love this job. I get to work with people from all over the world. I am doing photography, design and creating motion graphics for social media."
Kumi’s website is www.100percent-kumi.com
Digital Media and Visual Arts will be two of the majors available through the new Bachelor of Creativity to be offered at Te Auaha in 2018.