Tag Archives: 画家

Passion & Fragility


Mizuki Nishiyama is a Japanese multimedia artist, painter, and poet based in New York City. Currently a student at the Parsons School of Design, Nishiyama creates abstract expressionist works that examine personal experiences, ideas of the extreme, and the concept of human fragility. Nishiyama tells Neocha more about her artwork below.

Mizuki Nishiyama是来自日本的多媒体艺术家、画家和诗人,现居纽约,就读于帕森设计学院(Parsons School of Design)。Nishiyama以抽象表现主义的作品,探讨自己的人生经历,极端的想法和人类脆弱性的概念。最近,Nishiyama和Neocha分享了她对艺术、文化和创意的一些想法。

Snails In Her Eyes
In My Lake of Boulders

Neocha: What first drew you to pursue art?

Nishiyama: My grandma, granduncle, and mother are all painters. Each of them work in different mediums – my grandma uses tennen iwa enogu (powdered minerals) for Nihonga (traditional Japanese art), my granduncle paints with watercolor, and my mother paints with oil. As my family has an artistic background, I presume I’ve been influenced by them. Nevertheless, many of my own personal developments have led me to explore different methods to recreate or make a statement, whether it be through music, dance, or writing. Over time, I’ve realized that painting allows me to create the most accurate representation of what I intend to visualize.

Neocha: 你一开始为什么会对艺术感兴趣?

Nishiyama: 我的祖母、伯祖父和母亲都是画家。他们各自用着不同的媒介来创作。我的祖母用Tennen Iwa Enogu(粉状矿物质)来画日本画(Nihonga,指日本的民族传统绘画),我的伯祖父画水彩画,而我母亲则是画油画。由于我家的艺术背景,我从小就已经受到他们的影响。尽管如此,我个人的很多经历也在促使我去寻求不同的方法来创作或表达,可以是音乐,也可以是舞蹈或写作。慢慢地,我意识到,绘画能最准确表达出我想要可视化的内容。


Neocha: Aside from familial influences, how does Japan and its culture influence your artistic process?

Nishiyama: I was fortunate to have been raised in a culturally diverse environment. My father is from Japan and my mother is from Hong Kong, but they spent a big portion of their lives in Italy. Bouncing between five languages at home and attending a Canadian International School in Hong Kong, I’ve never been able to identify concretely with particular heritages. However, I’ve always had a fondness for Japanese history and culture. By visiting Japan ever so often, I’ve been exposed to traditional arts such as bunraku (traditional Japanese puppet theatre), kabuki (classical Japanese dance-dramas), buyō (traditional Japanese performing arts), and ukiyo-e (an art genre that flourished in Japan between the 17th and 19th century), which have all brought my attention and attraction to classical arts. I’m so grateful to have been brought up with multiple cultural values, as I do realize that I unconsciously blend aspects of all those cultures together.

Neocha: 日本文化对你的作品有什么影响?

Nishiyama: 我很幸运可以在一个多元文化的环境中成长。我的父亲来自日本,而我的母亲来自香港,但他们大部分时间都生活在意大利。在家里,我会在五种语言之间来回切换,加上是在香港的加拿大国际学校读书的,所以,对我来说,我从来都没有特别觉得自己属于哪一种文化。不过,我一直都很喜欢日本的历史和文化。我经常去日本,也接触到很多当地传统艺术,例如文乐(Bunraku)、歌舞伎(Kabuki)、舞踊(Buyō)和浮世绘(Ukiyo-e)、而这些艺术又让我开始注意并喜欢上古典艺术。我很感恩,自己能在这种多元文化的环境中成长,因为我发现,自己会不自觉地将这些不同文化融合在一起。

Peas and Peaches

Neocha: What are some recurrent themes in your artwork?

Nishiyama: I’m a very emotionally driven person. I’m tempestuous, and my thoughts are impassioned. The images that I paint come from a very sensitive and ardent side of my human experience that I simply want to document.

My work covers unconventional topics about the human experience that are intentionally confrontational. I’m extremely intrigued by the rawness of the human psyche when we are vulnerable to our emotions. These feelings help cultivate my creativity through emotional intimacy between myself and the brush. The themes I’ve expressed thus far have been based on personal experiences and spontaneous social issues, often ignored or instinctively disregarded by society.

I started painting as a response to many situations in my life. This allowed me to take a step back, and analyze these situations through a secondary lens. I consider my paintings as somewhat of a visual diary. By looking back at my work, I’ve learned to understand myself better – emotionally and circumstantially.





Tic Tac Toe
Swing Me From The Cantaloupe I Swear To Beckon This Raisin Day

Neocha: How does color play a role in your art? What does color mean to you?

Nishiyama: Selecting the appropriate colors to provoke emotions and amplify messages are constantly on my mind. Themes surrounding my pieces are often quite impassioned, so I tend to naturally grab darker, more vibrant and vivid shades. I am currently experimenting with mediums. I am familiar working with highly pigmented shades, however, I’ve recently begun incorporating gouache, gloss, thickening mediums, as well as glazing to create a variety of looks.

Neocha: 色彩在你的艺术创作中扮演什么角色?色彩对你来说意味着什么?

Nishiyama: 我总是会去思考如何选择合适的色彩来挑动情绪,突显作品想要传达的信息。我的作品主题往往都十分激烈的情感,所以很自然地,我倾向于使用更鲜活生动的暗色调。我目前在尝试用不同的媒介进行创作。我比较擅长用高饱和度的色彩创作,但是最近我也开始使用水粉、光泽涂料、可以增厚质感的媒介,以及透明画法(glazing)来营造同不的效果。

Sunflowers Dream

Neocha: As both a painter and a poet, how does your creative process differ across these two mediums?

Nishiyama: Literature and painting go hand-in-hand when it comes to being able to show an accurate representation of what I intend to document. I’m a big fan of confessional poetry. I do not intend to create flawless stanzas nor sculptured phrases. I have always treated both my paintings and my poems as representative milestones in my life. The commonality would be the emotional heaviness I convey through both mediums.

Neocha: 你身兼画家和诗人两个身份,那么你在分别创作这两个媒介时,会有什么不同的创作思路吗?

Nishiyama: 文学和绘画都能准确表达出我想要记录的内容,在这一点上,两者是一样的。我特别喜欢自白派诗歌(Confessional Poetry)。我不打算创作出完美无瑕的诗节,也不想精雕细琢所用的词语。一直以来,我创作的画和诗都是记录我生命的里程碑。两者的共性在于我透过这两种媒介传达的沉重情感。


Neocha: How has studying in New York City influenced your attitude towards art?

Nishiyama: I became more driven once I started attending the Parsons School of Design, due to constantly being surrounded by highly motivated and creative people. Moving to New York City meant there were going to be a lot of new life changes, and that resulted in many conversational pieces. Nonetheless, Hong Kong, Japan, and New York are all creative, visionary cities to develop one’s art. But I do favor New York simply because it is a new chapter in my life, and there is yet so much more for me to learn and explore.

Neocha: 在纽约学习的经历让你对艺术的态度产生了什么变化?

Nishiyama: 入读美国帕森斯设计学院( Parsons School of Design)后,我变得更有创作的动力,因为身边的人都充满了创作欲望和创意才华的人。搬到纽约后,在生活上自然会发生很多的变化,也因此创作了很多交谈画(Conversational Piece)。虽然香港、日本和纽约都是充满前卫创意的地方,非常适合发展艺术,但我尤其喜欢纽约。原因很简单,它代表着我人生的新篇章,在这座城市有那么多值得我去学习和探索的东西。

Messy Heads

Website: mizukinishiyama.com


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

What if Kobe Bryant was a Samurai?

From a samurai-fied Kobe Bryant to a skeleton warrior rocking Jordans, Vanz Chiang’s illustrations seamlessly combines elements of Japanese culture with modern-day NBA superstars. The Taiwanese artist’s fearlessness to mash together unlikely elements from different cultures has led to collaborations with local Taiwanese streetwear goliath Remix Taipei, renowned streetwear brand Mishka NYC, and American sportswear brand Champion.

从穿着武士装的科比,到穿着乔丹球鞋的骷髅头战士,台湾艺术家江振嘉(Vanz Chiang)将日本传统文化和NBA球星做结合,创作出一系列出色的插图作品。正是这种大胆文化碰撞的风格,促成了他与台湾本地著名街头时尚品牌Remix Taipei、著名服饰品牌Mishka NYC和美国运动服装品牌Champion的合作。

Being someone who’s never bought into the rigorous structure of traditional academic curriculums, Chiang would often absent-mindedly doodle away during class and daydream about being a manga artist. “I’ve never had a concrete plan for the future,” he says with a nonchalant shrug. “My line of thinking was simple: I just wanted to do the things I loved. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to find a career in something I’m interested in even before I even finished college.”


Chiang’s collection of books offers a revealing glimpse into his varied interests and creative inspirations. Inside his Banqiao studio space, his bookshelf is filled to the brim, from literature about skate culture like Thrasher Skate and Destroy: The First 25 Years of Thrasher Magazine and the Supreme monograph to art books like James Jean’s Xenograph and The Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips. But by far, the art books that dominate his shelves are those by Japanese artists. Chiang credits the famous Japanese manga artist Takehiko Inoue as being one of his biggest influences. Inoue is best known for the wildly popular Slam Dunk, a sports-themed manga series about a high school basketball team, and Vagabond, a manga series about a wandering swordsman. The influence from these two series is immediately obvious in many of Chiang’s works. Aside from the illustrative styles, the narratives presented in the manga are equally important to Chiang’s creative processs. “The manga series I enjoy reading are usually ones that explore human nature and the meaning of life,” he comments. “I suppose that might be because I’m quite introverted and often like to overthink.”

一踏进江振嘉位于板桥的工作室,就能看到他的书架上摆满了各式书籍。从有关于滑板文化的《Thrasher Skate and Destroy: The First 25 Years of Thrasher Magazine》和《Supreme》到Jame Jean的 《Xenograph》和 《The Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips》。但是,占满他书架的主力军还是日本漫画书。江振嘉说,著名日本漫画家井上雄彦(Takehiko Inoue)是对他影响最大的人之一。井上的作品包括广受欢迎的《灌篮高手》,一部关于高中篮球校队的体育主题漫画;以及关于流浪剑客的漫画系列《浪客行》。在江振嘉的许多插图作品中,都能清晰看到这两部漫画的影响,除了对他画风的影响之外,对他作品在叙事上的影响也同样重要。”我喜欢的漫画作品通常是以探索人性和生命意义为主题的,但我想这可能是因为我比较内向,常常会想太多。“

A closer look around studio reveals the full scope of his love of Japanese culture: various Japanese paraphernalia – such as oni masks, samurai helmets, and even a katana – decorate the workspace. “I like things that are intricate and mysterious,” Chiang explains, motioning towards the sheathed katana on his desk. “Many aspects of Japanese culture fit these two criteria. But I like Western armaments as well. Their heavy armor and bulky weapons still possess an inherent beauty. Japanese weapons are still my favorite. Katanas are elegant and simple, yet so powerful. Japanese armor is also beautiful and well-designed.


Though perhaps not as readily apparent as the influence from Japanese culture, Taiwanese culture also plays a role in his creation process. “The temples of Taiwan, which can be found almost everywhere, definitely influence me,” he says. “I’m inspired by the architecture and the artistic details of the deities. I also love dragons, which are present in almost every temple. If I pass by one, I’ll often stop and take in all of the work that went into the details.”


In recent years, Chiang has invested much time and energy into collaborative brand projects. In 2017, he plans to readjust his focus and produce more art for himself. He’s currently in the preliminary stages of planning an exhibition and is in discussions with a few galleries. As Chiang pencils in additional details onto a new Monkey King illustration he’s been working on, he eagerly says, “I’m really looking forward to opportunities for showing off more of my personal artworks this year.”


Website: vanzchiang.com
Facebook: ~/VanzChiang
Instagram: @vanzchiang


Contributor & Photographer: David Yen

网站: vanzchiang.com
脸书: ~/VanzChiang
Instagram: @vanzchiang


供稿人与摄影师: David Yen

ONEQ’s Evocative Illustrations

ONEQ is a Japanese illustrator who’s most well known for her illustrations of vintage pin-up girls. Her drawings seamlessly blend Western and Eastern styles – think 1900s American poster art, with the curvy sexualized female form, mixed together with the flawless skin and delicate features of the females portrayed in Japanese manga. ONEQ says she’s endlessly fascinated with women and the female body. This fascination is mirrored in all of her work, where she draws captivating images of voluptuous hourglass-shaped women, powerful and seductive. Her illustrations are proud celebrations of femininity and sexuality.


ONEQ was born, raised, and is currently based in Kumamoto, the capital of Kyushu island. As a completely self-taught artist, ONEQ’s love affair with illustration, like most illustrators, can be traced back to her childhood. Manga books were a big part of that childhood. Generally, Japanese manga is separated into different categories, some cater to a female audience and others cater to a male audience. Having an older brother allowed her the opportunity to be exposed to both worlds.


She cites three major influences that pushed her along the path to becoming an illustrator. The first is the famous manga artist Rumiko Takahashi, the illustrator behind Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha, who she says is her biggest influence. The second is Rockin’ Jelly Bean, a famous Japanese pop artist, whose use of colors captivated her and changed the way she looked at how colors could be used. The third is Simon Bisley, a British comic artist that portrays women in equal parts femininity and equal parts strength. All of these influences came together and evolved her artwork into what it is today.


Having just turned thirty-four earlier this year, ONEQ is working full time as a freelance artist, but just recently reallocated one day out of every week to work at her friend’s bar. Her motivations behind this aren’t financial. The bar is stimulating and the atmosphere inspires her art, she says. “Many unique and powerful ladies go there on weekends. Their energy is captivating.” Not a stranger to this lifestyle, she recalls being mixed up in Japan’s night life scene as a teenager. Often missing school, ONEQ would find herself spending time in the more dubious parts of town. Even though she prefers the slow-paced and quiet life in Kumamoto, she considers Japan’s night life to be another aspect of Japanese culture that has influenced her artwork and style. She says, “In that regard, I consider my past to be both good and bad.”


ONEQ’s creation process is a mix of both traditional and modern techniques. She first begins with rough sketches to flesh out the initial concept. Once the idea has been clearly thought out, she will then draw a refined version in monochrome by using mechanical pencils. If the image is intended to be a colored piece of work, it gets scanned and digitally colored in Photoshop. Her pieces that involve color could take upwards of two weeks to fully complete.


Besides only working on paper and computer screens, she has also completed numerous murals and is keen on creating even more in the near future. She says, “I want to create more murals. It would be great if I could create murals in different places all over the world. Shanghai is definitely on my list.” ONEQ elaborates by saying that she doesn’t approach her art with any intentions of being famous; her sense of artistic accomplishment comes from creating artwork that she personally finds meaningful. This sincerity that she approaches all her illustrations with is undoubtedly another aspect of what makes her artwork so alluring.


Website: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


Contributor: David Yen

ウェブサイト: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


寄稿者: David Yen

After the Masters

Japanese artist Masaki Yada uses a type of symbolism that is predominantly and usually seen in 17th century Dutch still life paintings to create his original style of art. His own aesthetics can be best described as “dark and cutting edge”. Masaki’s Eastern roots also leave imprints on his work; these influences are evident in the poetic and delicate details of his gorgeous creations. Masaki Yada skillfully uses contemporary techniques to reinterpret masterpieces of the past through his own means, and creates with a thoughtfulness that touches on many modern issues. Neocha recently spoke to Masaki about his dreamlike artwork, his journey as an artist, and his influences along the way.

日本人アーティスト、Masaki Yadaは、独自の美術様式を生み出すため、主に17世紀のオランダの静物画に見られる象徴性を用いています。彼の美学は、「ダークであり最先端」という言葉で最も端的に表現できるでしょう。また、Masakiの東洋のルーツもその作品に痕跡を残しており、その影響は詩的で繊細な細部に明らかな形で伺えます。彼は単に名作を再解釈するのではなく、現代文化に即した技術を駆使して制作しているのです。NeochaはMasakiに、その夢のような作品、アーティストとしての軌跡、そして、これまで彼が受けてきた影響について聞いてみました。

Neocha: Can you tell us about your journey into art?

Masaki: Initially, it was my mother who inspired me to paint. She is a trained painter, but didn’t really pursue a career as an artist. She graduated from an art college 45 years ago in Japan. At the time, it was generally agreed that women were supposed to get a stable job – they weren’t encouraged to become artists. So she had worked as an art teacher for 35 years. However, when I was born she named me Ya Yun in Chinese, which means elegant and artistic, and hoped that I would one day fulfill her dream of becoming a professional artist.

Neocha: アートの世界に足を踏み入れた経緯を教えていただけますか?

Masaki: 最初に絵を描くきっかけとなったのは母でした。母は熟練の画家なのですが、プロの芸術家の道に進んだわけではありませんでした。45年前に日本の美大を卒業した母ですが、当時、女性は安定した職に就くものと考えられていました。芸術家になるよう奨励されることはなかったのです。そのため、母は35年間美術教師を務めました。それでも母は、生まれた私に中国語で優雅で芸術的という意味のYa Yunと名付け、いつか息子がプロのアーティストになることを願ったのです。

Neocha: How was your work influenced by both Eastern and Western culture?

Masaki: I grew up seeing traditional Japanese and Chinese paintings because of my mother. I was exposed to the likes of Itō Jakuchū, Kanō school of painters, and Hasegawa Tōhaku. My mother was trained in a very traditional way in Japan. My first Western idols were Vermeer, Jan Van Eyck, Bruegel and other realist painters from the 16th century. I particularly love the Dutch and Flemish masters from the Dutch Golden age. I like their ethos of trying to break away from the religious constraints, and their eagerness of choosing more democratic themes really interests me. We tend to group old paintings as classical or simply “old”, but back then there were also many different styles, and many new ideas being formed and presented. I also like history paintings that comment on other paintings within the painting. For example, Vermeer’s paintings often does that. A lot of contemporary painters do it as well. I guess we are all fascinated with the idea of engaging in a dialogue with the masters from the past – it’s like how Renaissance painters wanted to engage in a dialogue with ancient Greek artists. My paintings are constantly evolving and are constantly being influenced by my surrounding environment as well as the people around me.

Neocha: 東洋と西洋の文化がどのようにあなたの作品に影響を与えたのでしょう?

Masaki: 母の影響で、日本と中国の伝統絵画を見て育ちました。伊藤若冲や狩野派、また、長谷川等伯といった画家の作品に触れました。母は極めて古典的な日本の手法で絵を学んだのです。私が最初に憧れた西洋の画家は、フェルメール、ヤン・ファン・エイク、ブリューゲル他、16世紀の写実画家でした。中でも、オランダ黄金時代のオランダやフランドルの巨匠らが好きです。宗教的制約から脱却しようとする彼らの気風に共感しますし、より庶民的な主題を選んだ熱意に興味を引かれます。昔の絵画を一様に古典あるいは単に「古い」ものと一括りしてしまうものですが、当時は数多くの画風や新しい画法が編み出され、発表されていました。また、絵画の中で他の絵画について解説する歴史的絵画も好きです。例えば、フェルメールの作品によくあるものです。多くの現代美術の画家も同様です。あたかも、ルネサンスの画家達が古代ギリシャの芸術家達との対話を望んでいたのと同じく、過去の巨匠との対話を通して繋がるという考えに誰もが興味をかき立てられるのではないでしょうか。私の絵は常に進化し、常に自分を取り巻く周囲の環境や人々に影響を受けています。

Neocha: What has been the biggest challenge during your creation process? What do you feel like has been your biggest achievement so far?

Masaki: My biggest challenge has been trying to find the “cross section” of who I am and what the world wants to see from me. If I try to be who I am not, then the discrepancy eventually catches up with me. But if I just make work that is purely self-indulgent, it’s like masturbation. To find the balance between them is an art in itself. The biggest achievement has always been the moment when I see the looks of the collectors who buy my paintings. For me, contributing to the happiness of people through my craft is way more important than any personal accolades. I feel like having the ability to enrich people’s lives through art is the greatest achievement, and I would like to continue doing that.

Neocha: あなたの制作過程において、これまでで最も大きな課題とは何でしたか?また、これまで達成した最大の功績とは何だと思いますか?

Masaki: 私の最大の課題は、自分という存在と人々が見たいと思うものの、いわば「断面図」を探し求めることでした。私が自分ではない者になろうとすると、いずれは食い違いが出てくるはずです。しかし、自己中心的な作品を作るだけなら、それは自慰行為のようなものです。その間でバランスを見い出すもの、それはアートそのものなのです。最大の功績は常に、私の作品を買ってくださるコレクターの様子を伺う瞬間です。私にとって、自分の作品を通して人々の幸せに貢献することは、どんな個人的栄誉より重要なものです。人々の生活を豊かにできると感じることが何よりの功績であり、これからも続けることができればと思っています。

Neocha: Do you think artists have the social responsibility to change the world or even change society?

Masaki: My primary interest lies in the engagement in dialogues with the masters from the past and understanding people at a deep level. But I do believe that art has a power and influence to change the world. For example, in 2003 the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a public announcement when the U.N. decided to intervene in the regional matters of the Middle East. Behind Colin Powell, a tapestry with the image of Picasso’s Guernica was hung on the wall as if sending out an anti-war statement. The following day that painting was covered up as to not to send out a mixed message. So to some extent, art definitely has power. It can be highly effective when raising awareness of certain issues. But at the same time, art is also powerless. I spend a lot of time in Berlin now, so I see the influx of refugees from the Middle East. Art cannot help them directly. Art cannot give them food, accommodation, means of integration and so forth, but these are things they desperately need. As corny as it sounds, I believe in love and the power of creating positive energy that reduces conflicts amongst people through art. I am trying to do that on a small scale and in my immediate environment rather than trying the change the whole world.

Neocha: アーティストは、世界や社会を変える社会的責任があると思いますか?

Masaki: 私の基本的な関心は、過去の巨匠達と対話して繋がること、そして人々を深く理解することです。それでも、アートには世界を変える力や影響力があると信じています。例を挙げると、2003年に国連が中東の地域問題への介入を決定し、米国務長官のコリン・パウエルが正式発表した時のことです。コリン・パウエルの背後の壁面に、まるで反戦メッセージを送るかのようにピカソのゲルニカのタペストリーが掛けられていたのです。矛盾したメッセージと取られないよう、翌日にあその絵が覆い隠されていました。つまり、確かにアートにはある程度の力があります。ある特定の問題への関心を高めるにあたり、高い効果を及ぼすことがあります。ただ、同時にアートは無力なものでもあります。私はベルリンで過ごすことが多いため、中東からの難民の流入を目の当たりにします。アートで難民を直接救うことはできません。アートは、食べ物、宿泊施設、地域への同化手段といった、難民らが切望するものを何も提供することはできません。陳腐に聞こえるでしょうが、アートを通して、人々の争いを軽減する愛と正のエネルギーを生み出す力を信じています。私は、全世界を変えようというより、自分の周囲の環境内で小規模にそんな変化をもたらすよう努めています。

Neocha: What do you think the aim of art should be?

Masaki: The role of art is to determine the “cross section” of an artist’s self expression and how the world can be a better place through art. It may pertain to provoking thoughts, evoking emotions, and giving a sense in which we feel “alive”. When I was still an art student, I went through a phase where I believed in the role of art as a vehicle to change the world, and my work had a strong sense of socio-political elements. I still think of it as important to some degree, but recently I tend to distance myself from the emotions that I had then. It is because a little while ago I realized that perhaps I was driven by anger and frustration towards society as a whole. But now I understand that everyone is working hard, striving for their own survival, and to some extent, trying to do something good as well. With that realization, I now want to make art with positive emotions and an intent of brightening up people’s lives just like Liang Kai’s, Jan Eyck’s and Vermeer’s paintings did to me when I was as a child. I realized that positive energy, light, and smile can bring to us more good than anger, frustration, conflict and violence. I’ve gotten a bit older so that has made me wiser and more mature, but it does not mean that I deny all the processes that I have gone through thus far. Everything I’ve been through was necessary for me to get to where I am right now. Without experiencing them all, then I would not feel what I feel now. So I’m really thankful.

Neocha: アートの目的はどうあるべきだと思いますか?

Masaki: アートの役割とは、アーティスト自身の表現の断面図とアートによっていかに世界をより良くするかを決めることにあります。それは、思考を刺激すること、感情を喚起すること、また、「生きている」と感じる感覚を与えることと関係するでしょう。私がまだ美術学生だった頃、世界を変える手段としてのアートの役割を信じ、自分の作品が強い社会政治的要素を反映していた時期がありました。今でもある程度までは重要だとは思いますが、最近では当時のそういった感情から自分自身を遠ざける傾向にあります。それは、自分が全体としての社会への怒りや不満に突き動かされていたのかもしれないと少し前に気づいたためです。今では、生き残るために誰もが懸命にもがき、何かしら良いことをしようと努力していることがわかっています。それに気づいた今、かつて子供だった自分を梁楷、ヴァン・エイク、フェルメールの絵が元気にしてくれたように、ポジティブな感情で人々の生活を明るくする目的でアートを作りたいと思っています。正のエネルギーや光、そして笑顔は、怒りや不満、争い、暴力より人々のためになると気づいたのです。少し歳をとった分、賢く成熟したわけですが、だからといって自分がこれまで歩んできた全ての過程を否定するわけではありません。私が経験したことは、今ある自分にとってどれも必要なものでした。過去に経験したことが少しでも欠けていれば、今の感情はなかったわけです。ですから、自分の経緯には感謝しています。

Neocha: How do you handle the balance between creativity and financial incentives?

Masaki: When I think of creativity now, I often think of constraints as well. It is like yin and yang. Particularly now, the more limitations and restrictions I face, the more creative I have to become. In fact, when people face restrictions and complain about the lack of freedom, I see the lack of creativity in them. For me, creativity is the ability to reconfigure unthinkable combinations and ideas that have never been connected before. Creativity is to explore the infinite possibilities of synthesizing different ideas. Splashing paint on canvas is, therefore, not quite creativity for me. True creativity actually involves diligent investigation of the past and deep understanding of the field, and finding a possibility that has never been explored before. True creativity is built on the contradictions. I think creativity and financial incentives can, therefore, be dealt with in proximity. Suffering and struggles should not be too romanticized. But of course, the main motive should be to make great art that moves people in a significant and emotional way.

Neocha: 創造性と金銭的報酬とのバランスをどう処理していますか?

Masaki: 創造性について考える時、制約についてもよく考えます。いわば陰と陽の関係のようなものです。特に今は、制限や制約に直面すればするほど、ますます創造性が問われます。実際、人が制約に直面し、自由のなさを訴える時、そこには創造性の欠如が伺えます。私にとって創造性とは、それまで何の繋がりもなく、思いもよらなかった組み合わせやアイデアを再構成する能力なのです。創造性は、異なるアイデアを合成して限りない可能性を探るものです。ですから、キャンバスに絵の具を飛び散らせることは私にとって創造性ではありません。真の創造性は、過去についての飽くなき探求とその分野の深い理解力、そして、それまで開拓されなかった可能性を見つけ出すことです。真の創造性は、矛盾の上に成り立つものです。そのため、創造性と金銭的報酬は近接して対処することができると思います。生活のため葛藤することはあまり美化されるべきではないでしょう。ただ、もちろん最も重要な動機は、人々の感情に強く訴える優れた芸術を生み出すことです。



Contributor: Shanshan Chen
Images Courtesy of Masaki Yada





寄稿者: Shanshan Chen
Images Courtesy of Masaki Yada

The Man in Between Two Phrases



Shun Kawakami is a Japanese artist and designer known for his signature style and ingenious approach that adopts the beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics. He was born in Fukugawa, the old town of Tokyo, where Edo-era culture is still deeply engrained into the daily life of residents there. “Being born in that town and being raised by my grandfather who was a traditional craftsman influenced me a lot. He was the typical Edokko and actually used to wear a kimono everyday.”


After working several years as a designer for a small company, Kawakami left and began working independently. He did a bit of graphics design for +81 Magazine, which was generating a lot of buzz in Japan at the time and is now regarded as one of the most innovative art and culture publications. Kawakami’s work started to receive attention overseas, and that recognition eventually turned into numerous prestigious international awards. Not complacent in the success, Kawakami continued to explore different creative methods of self expression. Also around this same time, Kawakami set off on his tour that took him around the world exhibiting his art.

デザイナーとして数年間会社勤めした後に独立した川上氏は、「+81 magazine」等のグラフィックデザインを手がけ、国内で注目を浴びるようになる。やがて、海外からも目にとまるようになった氏の作品は、国内外からの賞を数々受賞するようになった。同時に、川上氏は独自の表現を追求し続けるため、精力的な個展巡礼を始めた。

Kawakami is actively involved in a wide array of creative endeavors: he dabbles in interactive art, film, product design, and installation art, among others. “To me, there isn’t much difference between art and design,” Kawakami says. He says that even though these two forms of expressions are completely different things, the approach feels the same.

今日に至っての川上氏の領域は多岐にわたり、 アート、 デザイン、タイポグラフィック、インタラクティブ、映像、インスタレーション、空間演出など、アートとデザイン双方から多方面へアプローチを続け、国内外問わずグローバルに活動を行っている。「僕にとって、デザインとアートって、そんなに違いはなくて」と自信のアプローチについて語った川上氏、表現に違いはあれど、彼にとって、向き合い方は同じものだと言う。

The majority of Kawakami’s artwork involves Japanese pines trees. He’s fascinated in the asymmetrical nature of their form, and the organic flow of their lines. In the disarray of leaves and branches, he’s able to find a sense of beauty. Kawakami combines the unique features of these Japanese trees with his masterful use of negative space to create beautiful pieces of art.


Kawakami still tours alongside his art and hosts exhibitions around the world. He says that traveling not only exposes him to different cultures, but it also provides him a huge amount of artistic inspiration. Kawakami considers his travels to to be a crucial aspect of his work. “By traveling to many places, you’re exposed to new experiences and knowledge. I can then convert them to my ‘phrase’ and that inspires me to produce new pieces of art.”


Website: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami

ウェブサイト: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami

Contributor, Photographer & Videographer: Yasuyuki Kubota
dditional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami

寄稿者、カメラマン&ビデオ撮影: Yasuyuki Kubota
Additional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami

The Work of Kouzou Sakai

With a bachelor’s degree in animal science and biotechnology, Kouzou Sakai isn’t a typical illustrator. He didn’t take the normal route of attending a fine art school, nor did he have the luxury of having connections in the publishing or advertising field. Now based in Tokyo, Japan and working as a freelancer, Kouzou has carved out his own career path as an artist. His distinctively recognizable body of work alternates between fairly minimalistic images featuring nondescript men in suits, to intricate illustrations of delightfully imaginary worlds filled with flying vehicles and various animals. Kouzou recently talked with us about the journey that brought him to where he is today, and his approach to creating the serene atmospheric settings seen in his work.

動物科学とバイオテクノロジーの学士号を持つKouzou Sakaiは標準的なイラストレーターではない。彼は、美術学校で学ぶといった通常の経歴を辿ることも、出版や広告分野との繋がりを持つという恩恵を受けることもなかった。現在、東京を拠点にフリーランサーとして活動する彼は、アーティストとしてのキャリアを自ら切り開いたのである。一目見てそれとわかる彼の作品コレクションには、特徴のないスーツ姿の男性が登場するかなりミニマリスティックな図柄がある一方で、空飛ぶ乗り物や様々な動物がひしめく楽しげな架空の世界を描いた複雑なイラストも見られる。彼は、現在の彼を作り上げた経歴、また、その作品に存在する穏やかな空気感を生み出すためのアプローチについて答えてくれた。

Neocha: How did you first become interested with illustration?

KouzouAs a child, I loved picture books showing different flora and fauna. I used to draw so many pictures of insects, birds, animals, fish, flowers, and so on. In my teenage years, I became passionate about sports and stopped drawing for a while. I’ve always liked animals, so I entered a university where I could study something related. During that time, I had the opportunity to use an Adobe application for a bit, even though it wasn’t part of my course. This set me off on the path of taking drawing seriously. Afterwards, a lot of complicated things happened, but then I made the decision to become an illustrator after graduation.


Kouzou:幼い頃から動植物の図鑑が⼤好きで昆⾍、⿃、動物、⿂、花などの絵を頻繁に描いていました。 10代は、スポーツに熱中していたので絵を描くことからはしばらく離れました。そして私は⽣物が好きだったのでその分野の勉強ができる⼤学へ進学しました。授業ではありませんが、⼤学で少しAdobeのアプリケーションにふれる機会があり、それをきっかけに本格的に絵を描くように なりました。その後、複雑な事情が重なり、⼤学卒業後はイラストレーターへなりました。

Neocha: How did you make the jump from being a graduate with a degree in animal science and biotechnology to becoming a designer and illustrator? It seems like really different fields – what was the influencing factor?

Kouzou: There are several reasons why I changed my path and went into another field. One of them is that although I had originally entered university to research wild animals, I felt that transforming my interest into an actual job would be very difficult. So after graduating, I changed directions and began another kind of work that I also liked. Of course, I encountered a lot of difficulties, even after deciding to become an illustrator. Since I wasn’t a graduate coming from a fine arts university, I didn’t have any contacts in the publishing or advertising fields, and didn’t have any advice or assistance regarding my work. I guess the most difficult thing was that I didn’t have anyone to give me any advice – but with a lot of time and effort invested, I have arrived where I am today.

Neocha: 畜産学と生命工学の学位を持っているのにデザイナーと言うよりイラストレーターへ大きく転身したのはなぜですか・それは全く異なった分野のようですが、何が影響したのですか?

Kouzou異分野へ進路を変えたのはいくつか事情があります。その理由のひとつは、野⽣動物の研究のために⼤学に進んだものの、自分が興味を注いでいる分野を仕事に繋げるのは現実的にとても難しいと痛感しました。そして卒業後に進路を大きく変え、自分のもうひとつの好きことを仕事に選びました。 もちろんイラストレーターを目指してから困難が多かったです。私は美術系大学の出身ではないので、出版・広告業界にまったくコネクションを持っておらず、仕事や相談相⼿が皆無でした。 相談相⼿がいないのが⼀番つらかったかもしれません。年月を費やして少しずつ仕事いただけるようになり今に繋がっています。

NeochaHow would you describe the style of your artwork?

KouzouI have a few styles, but basically I begin by sketching my ideas out, and then later flesh them out using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I aim to create illustrations that the largest possible number of people can find common ground with. Admittedly though, it’s a difficult task. I feel I can never stop at simply being personally satisfied with my work.

Neocha: あなたの作品/スタイルについて説明してくださいませんか?

Kouzou: いくつかスタイルがあるのですが、基本的にはアイデアスケッチを手描きで行い、その後Adobe IllustratorPhotoshopを使⽤して制作します。大変難しいことですが、できるだけ多くの人に価値を共有してもらえるような画を目指しています。自己満足で終わらないように気をつけています。

NeochaYour illustrations are peaceful, while also containing elements of beauty, stillness, and nostalgic. Where do you get your inspirations from?

KouzouI think that it is simply the result of me subconsciously remembering and storing a wide variety of information from different media around me – whether it’s from movies, novels, or something else. Some artists that I particularly respect include René François, Ghislain Magritte, and Tove Marika Jansson.

Neocha: あなたのイラストは、美しさ、静けさと郷愁の要素が含まれていると同時に、平和的であると特徴を述べられています。何から発想を得ていますか?

Kouzou: 映画、小説など、身の回りの様々なものから無意識に自分の好きな情報を断片的に記憶へ蓄積していっている結果だと思います。尊敬しているアーティストは、René François Ghislain Magritte, Tove Marika Janssonです。

NeochaDo you feel like Tokyo has an influence on your work?

Kouzou: Unfortunately, I don’t go outside very much – so I really don’t feel I am particularly influenced by Tokyo. I don’t really like crowds. Although I live in Tokyo now, I was actually raised in a small countryside town, close to the ocean and the mountains. I think that that town had more influence on me than Tokyo does.

Neocha: 現在住んでいる東京は、あなたの作品に影響を与えていますか?


NeochaWhat do you intend to communicate through your art?

KouzouI honestly don’t have a very clear message. I don’t really like to explain my work. I am happy when people see my work and are able to interpret its meaning for themselves, freely.

Neocha: あなたの芸術作品を通じて何を伝えたいと思いますか?

Kouzou: 明確なメッセージはありません。作品を見た人がそれぞれにストーリーを自由に想像して愉しんでくれたら私はうれしいです。ですので、私は自分の作品を説明するのをあまり好きではありません。

Website: kouzou.org
: ~/kouzou
Facebook: ~/ksillustrations
Instagram: @kouzou_sakai_illustrations

: ~/kouzou
Facebook: ~/ksillustrations
Instagram: @kouzou_sakai_illustrations

Contributor: David Yen
mages Courtesy of Kouzou Sakai

World in a Room

Hometown of Friendship (2015)

In Chinese, sanmingzhi means “sandwich,” which is vaguely homophonic to Zhu Lingzhi’s first name. This revelation came about when a classmate mistakenly pronounced his name as such. Considering it as a fond memory of his childhood, the nickname stuck. Now, working under the moniker austin_sandwich, the Anhui-born and London-based illustrator and graphic designer repurposes the oddities he observes in everyday life into his surreal illustrations.


Scotland (2015)

In some of his recent illustrations, such as Hometown of Friendship and Between Two Worlds, the imaginative landscapes he has created are filled with an eccentric cast of characters and an assortment of seemingly unrelated objects, all of which are strewn about the canvas. His two-frame series Scotland is presented in a similar manner. Like the aftermath of an alien experimentation gone awry, disfigured cows, dismembered cow parts, and flesh-colored objects are scattered throughout the frame. While chaotic at first glance, the chaos is deliberate and methodical, evident by his neat arrangement of every character and item.

在他最近的一些插画作品如《Hometown of Friendship》和《Between Two Worlds》,各种看似毫无关联的物体分散在画布的各个角落,它们充满他所营造的天马行空的画面,形成了奇特的组合。他的两幅画组成的系列《Scotland》也采用了相似的表现手法。整幅画看上去就像一个失败了的外星人实验,分体的奶牛、牛身体的某个部位和肉色的物体分散于整个画面。然而,正如他的其他作品一样,这种混乱却是他故意为之,画面中的每一件物体其实都是经过精心排列。

His latest work, World in a Room, takes the form of a zine. In a visual style true to his past work, Lingzhi takes viewers on a seemingly hallucinogen-induced visual journey into weirdness, passing through through a series of bizarre spaces filled with geological formations, mysterious stairwells, disembodied limbs, amongst other peculiarities. This project is described by him as an attempt to capture the unfathomable impossibilities that may exist in the fourth dimensions. “As humans, even though we’re living in a three-dimensional world, we can only see in two dimensions,” he says. “In that sense, four-dimensional beings are able to see our three-dimensional world in its entirety.”

他最新的作品《World in a Room》采用了zine这种独立小型杂志的形式。这次的新作品从视觉风格上与他过去的作品保持了一致,引领观众踏上一场充满迷幻能量的视觉之旅,深入探索一个奇异的世界,从一系列怪奇空间穿境而过,那里充满了各种地质结构、神秘的楼梯间、分离出来的四肢等奇怪的物体。他将这一组作品称为对试图捕捉可能存在的四维空间里的神秘事物的尝试。他说:“作为人类,我们在三维世界中只能看到二维平面的全部。而四维世界的生物才能同一时间看到我们三维空间的全部。”

Beyond the abstract concepts that Lingzhi explores, the surrealist setting of each page is actually an extension of his sociocultural observations. The zine is a commentary on the state of modern life where people often forego real-life connections, preferring to retreat into a digital world that offers a different sense of interconnectivity. The ability to stay connected with the rest of the world while we’re just sitting in a tiny room is an interesting phenomenon, he mused.


Due to the number of different colors used, World in A Room was mostly laser printed. But one page of every zine was screen printed in canary-gold; the screen printed page is both signed and marked with the edition number by Lingzhi himself. “Using a manual printing technique like silkscreen printing produces different results every time,” he explains. “For me, creating a zine means complete freedom. The design, dimensions, and materials are all completely customizable. The narrative can be presented in any way the artist sees fit.”

由于《World in a Room》中使用的颜色较多,所以主要是采用激光彩色打印。但其中会有一页采用金色的丝网印刷;每张丝网印刷的页面上,朱凌志都亲自签上了名字,并标上版号。他解释道:“丝网印刷具有一种独特性和唯一性,因为每一张作品手工印刷出来都不会一模一样。对我来说,zine是一个非常自由的东西。你完全可以按照自己的喜好来设计它的样式,尺寸以及材质。画面的叙事也可以按照艺术家认为合适的方式来表现。”

World in a Room is now available in the Neocha Shop. The 16-page zine measures 14 x 13 cm and is available in a limited edition of 50.

《World in a Room》现已于Neocha商店发售。每本zine共 16 页,14 × 13 厘米,仅限量发售50本。

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austin_sandwich的《World in a Room》




  • Year of Publication: 2016
  • Edition Size: 50
  • Number of Pages: 16 (including front and back cover)
  • Size: 13 x 14 cm
  • Binding: Simple binding (signed and numbered)
  • Printing: Digital printing & screen printing
  • Paper: 150g Zen Pure White & 135g Colorplan Citrine
  • Price: $14


  • 出版年份: 2016
  • 出版数量: 50
  • 页数: 16(包括封面与背面)
  • 尺寸: 13 × 14cm
  • 装订: 简单装订(艺术家签名及编号)
  • 印刷: 激光彩色印刷与丝网印刷
  • 纸: 150 g Zen Pure White & 135 g Colorplan Citrine
  • 价格: ¥95

Instagram: @austin_sandwich
Weibo: ~/austin_sandwich


Contributor: David Yen
Images Courtesy of austin_sandwich

Instagram: @austin_sandwich
微博: ~/austin_sandwich


供稿人: David Yen