Shinji Murakami’s work springboards from the philosophy of Gunpei Yokoi, the famous inventor of Nintendo’s Game Boy, Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology. Withered technology in this context refers to a mature technology that is cheap and well-understood. In contrast, lateral thinking refers to finding radical new ways of using such technology. Yokoi held that toys and games do not necessarily require cutting-edge technology; novel and fun gameplay are more important. Murakami does not believe that profound human understanding has necessarily caught up to the explosive evolution of modern computer technology. Still, the pixelated expressions of 8-bit video games at the root of his work are one withered part of this evolutionary process. Murakami interrogates lateral thinking of this pixel. Working in wood, alkyd paint, and LED light, Murakami focuses on communicating his ideas to a broad audience. With the precision of a master craftsman, he renders universal motifs – flowers, puppies, hearts – in minimalism and pop, re-interpreting the aesthetics and context of each genre and reassessing their role within contemporary art. His practice is an ongoing search for simplification, removing more and more unnecessary elements and moving works into more ephemeral formats.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I love two great pop artists, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and they are two of the biggest influences on my work. I am a self-taught artist who never attended art school or took any special classes. In my early twenties, I found a series of TASCHEN books in a bookstore for about $10 and bought books by those two, Mondrian, Picasso, and Basquiat. In those … Click here to read more
Through COVID cocoon, acclaimed Japanese artist Ogino brings a new perspective to NYC
“My painting is so to say an accumulation of questions about different elements, forming many layers.” – Yuna Ogino
Artist Yuna Ogino is one of the most acclaimed artists of the new generation of Japanese artists. By developing a distinctively striking style, her works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Yuna Ogino (born 1982, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. Besides traditional medium, the multi-talented artist has also expanded her boundaries beyond painting by expressing artistic value into textiles, books, and performances. Yuna’s innovative style has been awarded and praised in public collections and spaces. With inspirations from ikebana flower arrangements and Japanese gardens, she weaves lights and colors onto the blank canvas, bringing to life her thoughts and memories. If you have followed her work, you know her painting technique is full of joyful color and intriguing lines that represent both the strength and vulnerability of plants and insects. She turns metaphorical representation to maternal richness with a refined design that continues a gorgeous tradition of Japanese decorative society.
But the COVID-19 imprisoning experience was turning Ogino to a new dimension and forcing her to see human struggle in the whole. The outbreak forced her stay at home life to become a central focus, with little emotional connection to allow her to see humanity and suffering without gender, age, and race. This newfound understanding of we (the whole world) are all suffering under the pandemic changed her palette and inspired her to produce figurative oil paintings in a 7-foot-high canvas. They are debuted at Mizuma & Kips Gallery (324 Grand Street, New York, NY, November 10th – December 7th, … Click here to read more
Kaoruko’s painting process pays homage to both traditional and contemporary Japanese artistic methodologies by using water-based paint (acrylic), gold leaf, sumi-e (traditional calligraphy techniques), ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock prints) and silkscreened kimono patterns on canvas. By juxtaposing all these similar yet separate elements, Kaoruko weaves together narratives of the young and old, the bourgeoning and bygone to deliver poignant paintings that straddle cultural, sexual and geographic beliefs and stereotypes of feminine identity at a crucial time that is rewriting the narrative on what it is to be female both here and abroad.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
How did you become a professional artist?
I was a Japanese pop singer when I was a teenager. Based on my experience of playing the “kawaii (pretty/cute)” character in Japan, I still keep expressing the beauty of women in the art world.
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
I am currently inspired by the unique Japanese traditional crafts such as “Washi”, traditional Japanese paper, “Aizome”, Japanese indigo dye, and “Arita-yaki”, Japanese porcelain.
How is your work different than everything else out there?
I incorporate the Japanese culture, like Japanese paintings and manga with my works. I use a method of drawing in 2D with a “Mensoufude”, fine pointed brushes and using a 200-year-old kimono pattern into a silk screen to make it look like a collage.
When is a piece finished for you?
When I start drawing my work, my inspiration talks to me. Coincidence calls for the chance. Various colors and ideas are born by that voice. When the conversation stops, I finish the work.