Cities of Solitude 田岛大介:宏伟的孤独

November 22, 2019 2019年11月22日
View of Forced Isolation (2017) 194 x 112 cm / pen & ink on paper 《強制孤獨景色》(2017) 194 x 112 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨

Daisuke Tajima’s black-and-white ink drawings have a hypnotic power that draws viewers in. It’s easy to get lost in the Japanese artist’s intricate cityscapes, whose repetition and towering size form endless valleys and unimaginable peaks. Exaggerated lines of perspective command attention, and the seemingly endless level of minutiae rewards a viewer’s scrutiny.


Neo-territory II (2017) 181 x 91.2 cm / pen & ink on paper 《新界Ⅱ》(2017) 181 x 91.2 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨
Neo-city Sai Ying Pun (2019) 130.3 x 97 cm  / pen & ink on paper 《新西營盤市街》(2019) 130.3 x 97 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨

Tajima has always been an introvert; it’s a personality that fits the profile one might expect from such obsessively precise work. His withdrawn personality was considered weird by classmates at school but it’s proven to be a virtue in adulthood. “I always seem to disturb other people over everything,” he says. “For instance, when I played sports in school, I was the worst teammate. I started realizing how embarrassed I’d become in general society.” Slowly, he retreated into art without even realizing it; though doing art in isolation can often feel lonely, it was better than uncomfortable interactions with people who didn’t understand him.


Superpower of Eternal (Part 2) (2018) 334 x 240 cm / pen & ink on paper 《無限之超大國(第2部份)》(2018) 334 x 240 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨
Core of the Neo Territory (2019) 116.7 x 90.8 cm / pen & ink on paper 《新界的核心》(2019) 116.7 x 90.8 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨

But as Tajima started gaining attention for his work in recent years, he began meeting more and more like-minded people he could be himself around. : “I feel I’ve found a connection with other people because of my art. I’ve reached people outside of my small community, even overseas.” He grew up and still lives in Nara, a city with a sparse population of artists and art lovers when compared with places like Tokyo or Osaka. . “Normally I don’t even encounter other guys my age because most have left. The only people I talk to in person here are my elderly neighbor and my mom. It’s pretty boring, but I’m able to focus on my art.” He’s nestled in at home, designing and constructing a black-stained, wooden garage studio next to his house where he spends the majority of his time.


Photographer: Yugo Matsumura 摄影师: 松村有吾
Image Courtesy of Daisuke Tajima Studio 图片由田島大介工作室提供
Image Courtesy of Daisuke Tajima Studio 图片由田島大介工作室提供

Solitude helps him work, and considering the amount of time his drawings take, it’s essential to his art. A three-meter wide aerial view of a city took him three months to draw, working seven hours every day. To create a large piece like that, he first does a series of small sketches, a process that helps him figure out the layout and composition. He then affixes a large piece of paper to the wall, sketches the preliminary drawing with pencil and ruler, and fills in the final lines with pen and oil marker. For many of the larger pieces, he has to use a ladder to reach the higher sections. “That’s why my back always hurts,” he laughs.

Through art, he’s been able to travel and see the cities across Asia that inspire his artwork. But he always comes back to his village, where he can face inward and focus on the work that’s helped him come to terms with his introversion.

孤独助长了他的艺术,考虑到他的绘画需要花费的时间,独处是必不可少的因素。他花了三个月的时间来画一幅 3 米宽的城市鸟瞰图,每天需要工作 7 个小时。为了创作出这样的大作品,他先画了一系列小草图以厘清布局和构图。然后再在墙上贴上一张大纸,用铅笔和尺子画出初步的草图,接着用钢笔和油彩笔在最后一行里填上。对于许多较大的作品,他不得不使用梯子到达更高的部分。“这就是为什么我总是腰酸背痛。”他笑着说。


City Scape II (2015) 109.5 x 95.5 cm / pen & ink on paper 《世界市Ⅱ》(2015) 109.5 x 95.5 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨
Wild Flowers (2019) 182 x 116.7 cm / pen & ink on paper 《野生花》(2019) 182 x 116.7 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨
Superpower of Eternal (Part1) (2018) 400 x 194 cm / pen & ink on paper 《無限之超大國(第一部份)》(2018) 400 x 194 cm / 纸上钢笔、墨

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Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan

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供稿人: Mike Steyels
英译中: Chen Yuan