Welcoming Emil to our BK team!

Welcoming Emil to our BK team!

Hello our lovely BK friends. I am so glad to introduce you to our newest BK team member, Emil! He started working with us last September when we were all upside down in the studio fulfilling 2019 planners and journals. It has been such a fun ride to hear his design inputs in all the upcoming design projects at Baum-kuchen, to watch him connect with our community through his gentle personality, and get to know him more about what inspires him as well as all the cool creative projects he is working on when he is away from BK!

Please grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and browse through a story by Susan who has spearheaded us to interview Emil!

Emil, welcome! We can't wait to see how we can grow together:)


Emil was on a long road trip with his partner Catherine when he got an email from Wakako asking him if he would like to connect and talk about a part-time opportunity at Baum-kuchen. (Apparently, Ame had recommended Emil for BK and Emil had no idea.) While driving, he and Catherine had just been talking about starting to look for part-time work that would coincide with his freelance business. Getting Wakako’s email was a surreal moment for Emil. He had considered asking Ame about BK a while back, but thought it to be a small, family business and probably not an option. 
Emil was nervous when he met for a formal interview with Wakako and Frido. His experience in the past (big corporate organizations and small companies that took advantage of him) had made him leery. However, within a short amount of time, he could tell that Wakako and Frido cared so much, not just about his skills, but what he could bring to BK as well as his own needs (like his schedule, freelance biz, life). They all stopped to consider and discuss whether joining BK would be a good fit for Emil, and then the future was decided.
It’s been a little over three months since Emil has joined BK. He describes those three months as “hectic” (travel + new job + current freelance workload). He really likes having a place to go vs. being at home and finds that it helps manage his time at home better.
Joining BK has helped him balance. Emil immediately felt a connection with BK and the team – the way they operate aligns with his personal view: appreciate life, people and objects. For Emil, this is very different than what he experiences through his freelance projects. At BK Emil is able to reflect on the art HE wants to make. He enjoys the connection that BK has with the community and with the artifacts BK shares. 
“I feel lucky to be here. I appreciate how BK values my time and ME. It makes me want to do my best and ensure I am of value to BK.”
Emil grew up in Japan and moved to Las Vegas at ten years old, a cultural challenge for him in the fourth grade. He met his partner, Catherine, in the 6th grade. They quickly became friends and stayed BFF’s through high school and college (in California). Emil has been living in LA for a while now, with Catherine and their dog Chopper. His family is spread out around different parts of the US and Japan.

Emil feels a deep connection to LA, the city and the art. He’s inspired by music, fashion, plants, and museums. Not to mention Catherine, his friends, and everyday life.

Emil is a freelance illustrator who has worked on a variety of projects from private commissions to advertising illustration. He especially enjoys showing his paintings at galleries where the open-ended prompt or theme allows for different artists' interpretations. One of his most memorable moments was when he showed some of his works at the opening exhibition of the Orange County LGBT center art gallery. Emil did his thesis on the topic of gender and sexuality, and continues to enjoy creating works that explore ideas of self-expression and identity.
For his art, Emil prefers gouache, watercolor, and ink. The thick, opaque texture of the gouache pulls him the strongest. When using fountain pens, he likes to use ink that has nice shading.
“I like walking around museums. Seeing historically important artwork in person feels like a more clear connection to the time and person involved in creating the work. It reminds me how powerful a bit of media on paper or canvas can be.”
One of his personal hobbies is journaling (obviously!?). Picking up hobbies didn’t happen until after art school for Emil. He’d been so focused on improving his work that when he graduated he’d lost a lot of his passion. He started journaling to get back in touch with his mental and emotional health.

Emil’s analogue system is used as a planner, wallet, sketchbook and personal journal. It is comprised of his daily carry (Jibun Techo Biz MINI - B6 Slim) for monthly and weekly planning. It is kept inside his Olive TN, along with a BK sketchbook insert, Travelers Factory fabric insert by fourruof, and Kaweco Sport Cappuccino fountain pen. He uses a Hobinichi Cousin as a stay at home reflection and mindfulness journal. As well as a dot journal designed by Catherine for work plans and notes. (You can find a similar sketchbook designed by Catherine here!) His TN is customized with a wabi-sabi emboss and TSL leather pockets - small corner pocket and wallet pocket - through BK Truly Yours service (if you are interested in BK Truly Yours, please send us an email).
For Emil, his system helps organize his tasks and thoughts. Because of the freelance work he does, he has a really unpredictable schedule that changes often. Writing it out helps him keep up. He tried to use digital tools but finds that analogue tools commit to his memory better and he personally connects with what he is writing.
Emil says that his biggest change for 2019 is the compartmentalizing of his work and personal journal. His goal is to better track his hours since he can sometimes lose track of time working on multiple freelance projects.
“I’m also looking forward to writing more reflections and notes on my mental health. Journaling has helped my mental health immensely but I’m always looking for ways that I can be the best version of myself.”
His other hobby is nurturing his houseplants. He began to keep plants to feel more connected with life. He and Catherine also took up swing dancing last year when he felt physically stagnant. For Emil, these are important ways for him to keep grounded with his sense of self and happiness.
“I believe that before you can know others and make them happy, you have to really put in the effort to know yourself and what makes you happy.”

The process of building a life where you can be in love with others, yourself, and living is what a life well lived means for Emil.
Emil shared: “In five years I see myself traveling and connecting with art directors, clients, and galleries on a worldwide. I also see myself finding meaningful ways to share my passions in a community. Ways like teaching, opening a shared creative space (like a studio, cafe, or gallery), and continuing to collaborate with BK! Most importantly though I see myself living and eating well with Catherine and Chopper!
Working as a freelance illustrator has been a wild ride so far. It can be tough, but I like the unpredictability. Even if I can't see ahead, it feels like I'm on track to building a life that is fulfilling and interesting!
You can find Emil at:
Everydayemil @ Instagram
Emil's Website

BK Products mentioned or shown in Emil's story:
Jibun Techo Biz MINI B6 Slim
Travelers Notebook Olive
[BK Notebook] Sketch
TN Refill / 005 / Free Diary
TN 2019 / Customized Sticker Set
Hobinichi Cousin
BK Truly Yours - TN Customization (please email karma@baum-kuchen.net)
Interview by Susan Kennedy


  • Erin Fairchild: February 14, 2019
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    So glad to meet you, Emil! So glad you joined the BK team!!

  • Judi: February 14, 2019
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    Emil is the perfect addition to the BK family! I’m always delighted when I walk into the store and he is there. Hmmm….I guess I feel that way about every person at BK, so obviously, Emil is a perfect fit.

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