The sun was certainly shining on the press conference for the Anzu Bejewelled exhibition in Tokyo. With the help of a lovely interpreter, Ellen was asked lots of questions by the journalists. Here are some of the questions and Ellen's answers:
What inspired you to start Anzu?
After visiting Japan and seeing the incredible hand-painted silk of the Geisha's kimono and all the beautiful packaging on the products be it tea or sweets, I felt inspired to paint again. When I came to choose a company name, I chose the Japanese name for apricot, Anzu.
an example of kyo-yuzen silk
What inspires you to paint?
There are lots of things, but to name just a few - the English countryside and afternoon tea, vintage couture especially Balenciaga and Poiret, the glamour of 1930s films and amazing jewellery collections be it the Romanov jewellery in the Armory, Moscow or the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
stunning piece of vintage Balenciaga couture
What is your favourite film? Anything by Alfred Hitchock or Wes Anderson. I love the style of Hitchock, and the quirkiness of Wes Anderson in particular 39 steps, North by Northwest, Life Aquatic and Rushmore.
detail of the train, which was especially painted for the Wes Anderson film Darjeeling Limited.
And finally given a drawing pad, Ellen was asked to quickly sketch her favourite thing in Japan. She drew Sakura (cherry blossom) as it is the season there now.
the latest Sakura 'weather' map, showing the progression of blossoms moving from warmer Kyushu up to northern Hokaido.