Seven ages of a creative: Sho Shibuya

The New York-based designer and artist has experienced an organic career involving work at major studios and, more recently, recognition as a painter. Here, he explains why creating meaningful work matters more than age

For this special project, we talk to 12 creatives and designers aged 19 to 87 about their experiences in the creative industry, their hopes and dreams, the changes they have witnessed during their career so far, and what further developments they hope may come in the future. Here we speak with designer and artist Sho Shibuya, aged 37

Designer and artist Sho Shibuya was studying architecture and interior design at vocational school in Tokyo when a friend taught him how to use Illustrator and Photoshop. With this new set of skills unlocked, Shibuya soon found himself designing posters and stickers for his friends and family as gifts. From all the positive feedback he received, he decided to dedicate more of his time to graphic design and spent the next few years working and improving his skills.

“​​It’s tough to open the first door. Maybe it’s harder for people like me who are self-taught,” Shibuya tells CR about the start of his design career. “At the beginning of 2005, I had applied to many design studios and agencies, but I never heard back.”

As a result, his first job was for an architecture company in Tokyo. “After work, I kept working and applying for design jobs. Ten months later, I finally got an opportunity to start as an editorial magazine designer at a small publishing company in Tokyo,” he says. “I worked hard and survived by sticking to my motto – ‘learning by doing’.”

Top: Plastic Paper books, from Plastic Paper, 2019; Above: Portrait of Sho Shubuya by Grace Lin