The Fantastical World of Fantasista

November 23, 2015 2015年11月23日

Fantasista Utamaro is a leading manga and multidisciplinary artist from Japan. Known for his ultra pop and technicolor sensibilities, Uta’s instantly recognizable work spans illustration, graphic design, animation, textile design, fashion design, and even outdoor landscaping. This year, Fantasista Utamaro was also one of the 12 artists brought together by Gap REMIX Project to reimagine the classic Gap logo in an exclusive collection of graphic tees.

ファンタジスタ歌麿呂は、漫画をはじめとする様々なジャンルの作品を制作する日本で有数な芸術家です。ウルトラポップと鮮やかな色彩感覚で有名で、見てすぐそれとわかる作品には、イラストレーション、グラフィックデザイン、アニメ、テキスタイルデザイン、ファッションデザイン、そして屋外の造園まであります。 今年、ファンタジスタ歌麿は、グラフィックTシャツの限定コレクションでGapの古典的なロゴを再考するためのREMIX Project で集められた12アーティストにも加わりました。



Fantasista has been fascinated with Japanese manga and anime since childhood, and much of his work is about communicating and translating Japanese culture to a global audience. He says, “I get the impression that non-Japanese folks have a very limited and often inaccurate understanding of what Japan is really like. For example, when people from abroad think about Japan, they often just associate our country with anime. But I think that that kind of understanding is very shallow, and doesn’t really convey the deeper reasons of why anime is so fascinating. With greater cultural context, you can discover more interesting things.”


A lot of Fantasista’s work involves onomatopoeia and using Japanese characters to express certain sounds. He says, “These are all common sounds that appear in Japanese manga as a way to visualize sounds and actions through text. I use them to bring another dimension into two-dimensional space, which gives the reader something unexpected and fun. It’s a little surprise that can create a small change in perception and engage with the reader’s state of mind.”


Although Fantasista’s work is often bright and overflowing with many colors, Uta is actually partially colorblind. He says, “I am able to distinguish some really bright colors, like Tokyo’s neon lights, or the colors in Akihabara district, but other than that, I have a really hard time knowing which color is which. Being colorblind has brought me some inconveniences, especially in my daily life. For example, I can’t distinguish between the stop and go signs at the crosswalk. When I’m doing print design, I have no way to do color proofing, so if I didn’t have other people helping me, I would never be able to do it.”


Fantasista likes to keep his creative process fluid and open, and he is inspired by simple things such as exercise and walking through nature. He says, “There are a lot of things in nature that give me subtle hints and point me in the right direction creatively. After all, nature is the prototype of good design. I don’t like to have an outcome when I start doing anything. By looking at things with an open mind, and accepting them in their natural forms, ideas naturally surface.”


For Fantasista, creativity is a constantly changing process of continual growth. He reflects on his own career and how his work has developed: “Early on when I was drawing manga, my work would change together with popular styles at the time. But through it all, the themes have stayed the same. My work is an expression of pop culture and creativity, while at the same time also exhibiting some traditional elements. It’s about celebrating the power of human imagination.”



Contributors: George Zhi Zhao, Adam J. Schokora
Photographer: Adam J. Schokora



投稿者: George Zhi Zhao, Adam J. Schokora
カメラマン: Adam J. Schokora