Stellar work from Jen Lobo and a great turn out.
Good times at Hellion tonight. December marks 3 years for Hellion Portland. It has been good, bad, insane and fantastic. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Here is the math.
8 consecutive years curating in Portland, 7 years in old town, 3 as Hellion and 2 books.
Number of shows, not sure – over 100 in Portland, 5 in Tokyo and 4 in San Diego.
So much more to come.
In the main gallery we have Desire Path with Jen Lobo.
Also tonight. Poet of Geometry book release with Cole Gerst.
UFO907 and Madsaki collaborated on a show at Clear Edition in Roppongi, Tokyo at the beginning of this month. Very convenient location, only a couple blocks from my new apartment. UFO907 and Madsaki were roomates in New York and this show revisits the days when they worked together in NYC.
Nonnow Naruse had a solo show at Hellion Gallery earlier this year. While I was in Tokyo I had the opportunity to visit her home to preview the work for her upcoming show. ”Frenzy and Life” opens on November 26th at the Art Complex Center of Tokyo.
After a long train ride I showed up in a Tokyo neighborhood that I have never been to before. Her apartment was overflowing with new work. Nonnow’s art is influenced heavily by Japanese mythology and traditional Japanese elements. If you are in Tokyo, go see her show in person.
Tadashi Ura’s new show, “Blessings” opened at Le Deco gallery while I was in Tokyo a couple weeks ago. Shibuya is my haunting ground and I was happy to hang out in my old neighborhood for an art show. Tadashi’s artwork has traditional Japanese elements mixed with a child like fantasy world. Tadashi’s two daughters are a big influence on the work in this show. This is evident in the triptych piece which features an open letter to them on the neck of the unicorn.
I visited the studio of Daisuke Funaki in Chiba while I was in Tokyo. Daisuke makes fantastic small sculptures that are filled with commentary on contemporary Japan. All the work are hand sculpted and painted. Looking forward to working with Daisuke at Hellion in 2014.
AMP cafe in Koenji produced an installation show with Ryuichi Ogino last week in Koenji, Tokyo. A vacant apartment in a building that was to be remodeled was given to Ryuichi Ogino to create an installation piece. Guests were escorted to the apartment in groups of 6 or less from Koenji train station to visit the installation. The other apartments in the building were still occupied with residents.
I discovered Japanese artist Takumi Kama’s art earlier this year through a friend. Realistically rendered paintings that feature animals in strange and deeply imaginative environments. Each of Takumi’s paintings exhibits a micro wold that evokes humor and an element of social commentary. I was lucky enough to catch his solo show at the Daimaru building in Tokyo recently. The show was produced by BAMI from Kyoto. I had the chance to ask Takumi some questions and take photos of the show. I look forward to showing Takumi at Hellion next year.
Hellion: Your show at the Daimaru gallery in Tokyo just closed. Being from Kyoto, do you see differences between the two cities in how art is perceived?
Takumi: Yes, Tokyo is the capital city so there is the big flow of people, and the trends of art are changing quickly.Meanwhile Kyoto is a historical city and amazing, but sometime I feel it’s a conservative place as well.
Hellion: Kyoto is a city filled with historical architecture and traditional Japanese elements. How does the city influence your artwork?
Takumi: I don’t feel anything concrete, but I should be inspired by Kyoto’s historical aspects more than a little because I went to art university in Kyoto.
Hellion: Do you belong to a community or group of artists in Kyoto? Do you share ideas and experiences?
Takumi: No, I’m not a type of person who communicates and exchanges idea with people aggressively. Only with my old school mates.
Hellion: There is a series of paintings in your recent show with paint being squeezed from the paint tube and transforming into fish. Could you explain the concept behind this series?
Takumi: It would take a long time if I explain everything so I make the brief explanation.
My art-pieces consist of material object and paints. That’s just it. So I express it no more or no less than that. A famous painter’s art and an unknown painter’s art are the same, it’s material objects. I express a feeling of awe and contempt against the action of people who make things inferior-to-superior.
Hellion: Several pieces feature the exterior of a building with a skeleton or animal imbedded in the structure like a fossil. How did you develop this style?
Takumi: These art pieces are a drawer and a wall filled with animals. This is the style I like and have drawn since early childhood. This time it’s a new challenge. I chose the fossil as the main motif and I think about it’s time and life.
Hellion: In those pieces you build 3d models to illustrate the scene before painting. Could you explain this process?
Takumi: My art-pieces are all from my imagination. Mostly I draw with imagination, so it could lack reality.
At the beginning, I make a 3D model instead of a rough copy. I make 3D model as a motif and to make up for the lack of reality.
Hellion: Have you thought of making a more refined model into an actual finished sculptural art piece?
Takumi: No, it’s just the draft for a drawing, but I want the challenge of making it as an independent 3D art piece.
Hellion: There is a bit of political commentary in those pieces. The whale on the sushi plate with a tiny Japanese whaling ship in one tea cup and the “Sea Sheppard” anti-whaling ship in the other tea cup for example. Are current events and politics important to you in your artwork?
Takumi: Yes, I think it’s very important. Although I don’t want to push it to the very front of my art-pieces.
I think it unconsciously oozes out without awareness.
Hellion: You will be showing outside of Japan next year. How do you think your artwork will be received and what expectations do you have for these exhibitions?
Takumi: It’s hard to expect anything, but I’m excited about what foreigners will think and feel about my art.
I want to do my best.
Hellion: Tell me about a perfect day in your life in Kyoto?
Takumi: I wake up in the morning and drop my daughter off at the preschool, draw all day and then have dinner with my wife and daughter.
While I was in Tokyo I attended many art shows and did some studio visits. Over the next week I will be putting up images from these events. First up is Ai Ohkawara. Ai showed at Hellion in 2011. Her new show, “I have no way to change the world” opened on October 30th in Shinjuku at Takashimaya Square 10f gallery.