My goal is to transcend the times, says Kyo-Mori Kohei, an artist who applies decoration and craftsmanship to his paintings. This time, we spoke to him about his ideas and production.
Kyomori, you create your paintings in the context of decoration. Can I ask you about that first?
-I work under the title of contemporary decorator, but I keep in mind my own interpretation and updating of the numerous decorative cultures throughout history. So, when seen in that context, my work may be in the form of paintings, introducing decorative culture in a new format, regardless of the country or region. With contemporary art, especially conceptual works, the language is important in a way. But I want my work, at least as far as my own work is concerned, to be inspiring to the eye, without resorting to words.
You were involved in graphic design and clothing work, weren’t you? Does this influence your work?
-influences and is an important aspect. In terms of color combination, I think my experience of studying fashion in Europe has been used. I also work digitally, so I try to find ways to go beyond the confines of two-dimensional painting, and I try to enhance the strength of my work by combining multiple techniques and materials, such as the selection of materials, and the fusion of digital and analog.
Also, Japanese graphic design has its roots in ukiyoe, and I am conscious of the printmaking techniques and the division of labor that goes into the creation of my work.
Can you tell us about the production process?
-First a sketch, then a digital simulation, then a CG drawing of the work.
Then I print out the work using the appropriate printing technique for the material, and then I dye it or process it in three dimensions using mineral pigments or U V resin.
It’s an elaborate process.
-Yes, but the good thing about this approach is that it creates chance.
Going through the digital simulation process creates an unexpected element. You’re not bound by your own ideas, and you can introduce the ideas that are freed up from that into your production.
There are several series in your work, what is the focus of each?
-There are roughly five series now.
For example, the “A-UN” series has a message of hope for overcoming discrimination and prejudice between ethnic groups.
Another important series is the “JAPAN BLUE” series. This series uses indigo dyeing. The theme of this series is “affirmation of imperfection”.
I believe that everything that is considered socially incompatible is an individuality.
A diverse society is one that incorporates characteristics that don’t fit into the established framework.
That’s why I think it’s very Japanese for me.
Do you have a message or goal that you want to convey through your work?
-The message is “to acknowledge and embrace imperfection”. The goal is “to transcend the ages”.
I’ve always thought of this goal. It’s probably the most important thing in production.
I’ve been thinking a lot about universality lately, and from a decorative point of view, I’m sure it’s the sensation you get when you see it.
A single design is filled with a lot of skill, density of time and energy from the people involved in it. Anyone who sees it will probably think, “Wonderful! It seems like a good idea.
I like things that I can impress without having to explain, and I think it’s lovely.
What are your future plans?
-I would like to make use of the context of traditional Japanese crafts in art from the perspective of decoration.
Specifically, I would like to take the techniques that have been nurtured through history and tradition, such as Arita-yaki and Tokushima’s indigo dyeing, and combine them with the decorative paintings that I create. By doing so, we believe we can increase the value, strength, and energy of the work/object.
In addition, I hope that by working together with each region, we can protect the techniques and traditions that can be left for the future of Japan, and by passing on the traditions that have evolved, I hope to transcend the ages and connect them to the future.