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The story of how I affirmed my superficial self and my art was born

Today, I will talk about why I am drawing "stippling" as people often ask me why.

I believe, above all, that art is not something you learn, but something makes you think about and enjoy.

I stick to a very specific technique, but I personally think we shouldn't put a limit on what we want to express other than the technical point of view.

I hope this will be one inspiration for you as you consider your own artistic expression.

My attachment to superficiality

When I think about how to describe my drawing, I feel like "Graphic" would be the best word.

I have an obsession with the surface textures of objects and I love to express it through my own artistic filter. But if I try to find a word that applies to my obsession, the word is also "superficial" seems to fit. But the word "superficial" is usually used with a negative connotation.

I have a background in sculpture, and people are often surprised when I tell them that. This is because most of the drawings drawn by sculptors have a sense of three-dimensionality and depth.

My drawings are more like graphics. In fact, I consider my drawings to be like hand-drawn graphics since I also do graphic design work.

When I was a student, even in sculpture class, I loved to tweak the surface texture in my own style once I had a certain rough shape, rather than working on further shaping the form- which is the most important part of sculpture. As a result, I was always yelled by teachers, but I just couldn't stop doing it because that was the work that put me in the "zone".

As for what kind of art I liked, I was more into Japanese Ukiyo-e(*1) or Tadanori Yokoo(*2) posters than sculpture. Ukiyo-e and traditional Japanese paintings are by far the most detailed and neat compared to other art of the same period in other countries, and I am impressed by their delicacy and expressiveness.

Graphic design, poster art, and illustration are somewhere between fine art and fashion, and I find them stimulating to my childlike and playful mind, and I like their sophistication. I feel like two-dimensional works convey a sense of condensation of the creator's worldview in a more limited dimensional space than three-dimensional works, and I like that.

*1: The most famous Ukiyo-e by Hokusai Katsushika

Painting by Oi Katsushika, a daughter/his first assistant of Hokusai

*2: A poster art of Tadanori Yokoo

I also was definitely influenced by growing up reading manga in Japan. Not only as a little kid but also I got obsessed with horror and other subculture manga when I became a teenager. They are a big influence on me. There was an atmosphere in the Japanese fine art community that did not recognize manga as art when I was in Japan (I don't know about it now), but in my personal opinion, manga is a great, original Japanese art of which they can be proud. Anime has finally risen in status over the past 15 years or so since it's been more recognized around the world, but I think that manga should be recognized even more. Japanese manga is truly rich in variety, and I think manga's ability to "pull you into the world" is amazing.

Chibi-Maruko Chan by Momoko Sakura

Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighborhood Stories) by Ai Yazawa

Garakuta No Uta (Poem of Junk) by Osamu Tezuka

Zouroku No Kibyou (Zouroku's rare disease) by Hideshi Hino

Binzume No Jigoku (Hell in a bottle) by Maruo Suehiro

Nejishiki (Screwed) by Yoshiharu Tsuge (right)

I also am always struck by the beauty of the soft textures of plant surface, the beauty of animal eyes and fur, the strange patterns of sea creatures, the droplets of water on a spider's web, or the deep wrinkles on an old man's face, etc...

The surface exudes the interior.  I'm not talking about a simple matter such as a person has beautiful skin has a beautiful heart, but a mixture of expressions, character, nature, the years the object has spent in the environment, and so on, which appear on the surface as a texture.

I do not want to easily judge or separate them as good or bad, but rather I combine the story and emotion that spreads through me when I see the object with the concept of Yin and Yang philosophy, and I want to output it to the world. It is out of this desire that I make my art.

Facing complexity and art

For many years, I have recognized my "superficial" side of myself as "bad. I went to the trouble of enrolling in a sculpture major because I wanted to "fix" that. By the time I entered an art college, I was able to capture the shapes of objects much better, and my technical issue was resolved, but what I felt there was that "I still like surfaces and two-dimensional art." After graduating from college, I came to New York. I began working in the fashion industry, the extreme end of the "superficial" spectrum. Everything I saw was exciting and fresh, and every day was like a party in its frenzy and excitement. I learned a lot of both good and bad things and I really enjoyed those days, but after a 10-year blank, I got the desire to create my own art, rather than working for someone else.

In the past seven to eight years, I have been working in the both field of graphic design and illustration, which for me is somewhere between art and fashion. The technique of "stippling" or "pointillism," in which I create a single image by connecting microscopic "dots" - that represent the "beauty" I feel, including imperfection and grotesque beauty- allows me to fully pursue my obsession with the surface. It is also a good training to "focus on the present" to make sure each dot is in the right place, because each dot comes together to create shadows and values, eventually becoming an image. Dotting is not suitable for impulsive types, since it is such a minimal act and you must be aware of the act. In stippling, your drawing wouldn't be a successful one if you draw while "kind of" hitting the dots. I believe that "focus on the present" (= dotting) is the way to create your future (= finished work) that you are happy with, which also applies to the way you live your life. It is a daunting task, but it is very pleasant when you fall into the feeling that you are creating your own world little by little, checking each moment as you go along. The feeling is similar to making embroidery. Once a drawing is done, I often scan them and combine them on the computer to create another image. I simply enjoy this series of work :)

A mindset to turn my complexity into a strength by daring to pursue it

Drawing and making graphics with my drawings is very therapeutic for me. Drawing allows me to transform this characteristic of my obsession with the "surface," into something positive.

I can honestly admit to myself that I am often "superficial" and I like it, but I can digest this complexity into something that I find beautiful. Whether people like it or not, over the past few years, my drawings have gradually become my own way of expression, with some minor changes. I look forward to seeing how my work will change in the future, as all types of expression change gradually as they grow and change :) Creation is life itself, and life should be enjoyed. As a socially awkward person who doesn't like competition or being grouped together with others who have similar thoughts, art gives me freedom and the comfort of knowing that it is okay to be myself. I want to continue to live my life while having fun and pursuing my own personal love.


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