John Hathway is perhaps most known for his exquisitely detailed, immersive and information-dense works of art portraying cityscapes which retain some of the familiarity of our existing world yet introduce new layers of reality which blend science and magic, as well as his character designs of beautiful girls.
A truly multi-talented artist, he is also involved in creating and designing everything from novels, games, products, hardware, robotics, software and animation. His background in physics, science and technology informs his creations both on a theoretical and practical level.
We had the opportunity to interview John Hathway about his background, his vision and his upcoming work:
grape Japan (gJ): When did you begin drawing illustrations and what motivated you to begin?
John Hathway (JH): I started to draw in junior high school and gradually increased my activities thereafter. In junior high and high school, I went to an all-boys’ school, so I learned about the opposite sex through girls’ manga. This inspired me and I aimed to become a girls’ manga artist, so I began drawing in that style.
At the same time, I also began to develop an interest in UFOs and other technologies appearing in science fiction. I studied all the way up until the time I became a physics researcher, at which point I began drawing illustrations with themes of physics, science and technology.
gJ: Do you have any illustrators or artists you were influenced by?
JH: I don’t have any in particular, although I think I am influenced by Studio Ghibli anime.
gJ: Is there a common background setting for your Mahōchō 魔法町 (“Magic City”) series?
JH: Originally, I got interested in the anti-gravity phenomenon known as the Hutchison Effect, and studied physics based on my own experiments. As a result, I imagined that physics and the human psyche could possibly have a certain relationship to each other. Assuming that physics and the human psyche are connected through some kind of mutual relationship, it becomes possible to imagine a new field of science called psycho-physics. To give a concrete example, if telekinesis existed, and if it could be objectively analyzed and given applications in psycho-physics, humans might develop devices to amplify telekinetic energy, thereby allowing anyone to move freely in three-dimensional space as if they had super-powers.
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