A business professional, Kawamoto, who is involved in developing multiple new businesses, has recently purchased artworks. He says, “the conversations with the artists inspired me by their concept and message of the artworks,” and he shares with us what motivated him to buy the artworks and what he realized through it.

“The empathy for the artwork drove me to the purchase.”

河本さんとアートの出会いを教えて頂けますか?
-高尚な理由ではなくて恐縮なのですが(笑)、最初のきっかけは、友人に誘われて行った展覧会でした。その友人は作家をしており、初めての展示ということで会場に足を運び、そのまま作品を購入させて頂きました。

Can you tell us how you met your art?
-It’s not a fancy story, but it’s all started at an art exhibition I was invited to by an artist friend. It was his first time showcasing his artwork, that’s why I visited and bought a piece.

Was it the first piece you’ve ever purchased?
-For real art, yes. I had purchased mass-produced interior art before, I don’t know if calling “real art” is appropriate, but that was the first time I bought an original piece of art, not mass-produced.

I’ve been interested in it for some time, but I didn’t know where to start or the formality of buying art. It wasn’t something I was familiar with.

Kenta Nakajima Anonymous Horizon 18.5 x 18.5cm

Click here for details about this artist

What led you to purchase it?
-It (what brought me closer to buy) was the conversations I had with the artist. As we talked, I learned that there are stories behind what’s seen on the surface, then I understood the piece deeper, like, ‘Yeah, I see the message of it now!’ There was actually a similarity between that message and the values I hold dear. That’s enough reason for me to decide.

One of the best things about having it in my house is that I can see the message that I identify within art every day. Every time I see it, it visually reminds me of the idea, and this is awesome.

So empathy for the concept played a significant role.
-Yes, the message was the attraction because this or the vision is something that’s always important for me. For example, when my previous company asked me to join, I could strongly identify myself with their vision, which was the very factor in my decision to change jobs.

Kana Uwatoko blood6 30 x 120cm

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Was there something else you have noticed from spending time with the artwork?
-I wouldn’t say it’s the same as art, but I did feel that there are similarities between the mindset of entrepreneurship and that of art. In business, you have to come up with an idea with a specific and clear plan when you solve a problem. And in art, each piece of work has innovative ideas and expressions that have never practiced before. This uniqueness of new business and art is similar, I think.

Apart from the concept and message, what else did you consider when you purchased it?
-I have to think about how it fits my place as I’m very particular about my home. I used to host home parties with my friends quite often and move once a year. (laughs) So I’ve always liked interior design, and thinking about whether it’s suitable for my room is one thing I enjoy.

Do you think of art as an extension of your interior coordination?
-No, it’s different a little. It’s not about which one is superior or inferior, but I consider the message when including it in the case of art. I used to buy interior art, but now that I actually own an art piece, I can tell that if there’s a message or not, it is the difference between the art and interior.

I buy and sell real estate, including, for example, interior coordination of rooms, so interior design is quite familiar to me. Of course, I like it, but I think that art is to be enjoyed from different perspectives. What I mean is, art is not just an object, it’s not functional, and it’s not only about the visuals either. It’s interesting that we can enjoy not only itself but also the artists’ messages or thoughts.

The importance of an accessible platform for beginners

I’m sure you find the appetite to look for new art as your interest grows, don’t you?
-That’s true. But at the same time, I see a problem with information accessibility. It’s difficult to know, for example, what artists are out there, what exhibitions are happening when and where. You can’t get this information unless you reach out for it, or it doesn’t come for you. Of course, there is an industry’s network, but I get the impression that it’s not easy to access it from outside. I also felt that galleries were hard to enter until a friend introduced me to them.

I attended an art fair too, but I didn’t buy anything there at the time. Sure, many galleries were participating and a lot of works on display, though I didn’t find anything attractive. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a chance to talk to the artists, and partly because the works I wanted didn’t match the budget. I felt that it’s not easy finding artworks that match all the criteria, especially for a beginner. You want to buy something, but you don’t know how to find it. There seem to be barriers to entry. 

Zeng Chao KK190612 53 x 53cm

Click here for details about this artist

There is an advantage with the internet for collecting information, but what do you think about buying art online?
-I think one of the hurdles is the assurance of value. For example, interior design, I could use image, brand, price, and coordination as an indicator when considering, but I’d like to have a deeper level of information for art.

I remember when taking English lessons online once, and they have the instructor’s profile section with not only texts but also videos. There was a lot of helpful information they provided. I think it would be nice if there were a similar approach to art as well.

It connects to your point that “the message of the work is important.”
-Yes, I expect to see what’s behind the art’s surface. I’m interested in the more in-depth information that conveys the work’s value, like what is the intention behind the use of this color, or why is this line like this?

A.C.D Corbusier’s Cyclone 51 x 61cm

Click here for details about this artist

As you buy and sell real estate, do you have a perspective for art as an investment besides artistic aspects?
-I don’t say that I don’t. I haven’t yet bought such expensive pieces that I should be aware of its asset value. If the works I buy have the millions of dollars in value, I think it would be a reliable backup reason for me to say, “It’s also an investment, not a waste of money, you know.” (laughs) In that case, I can add another 0 on the right end of my budget.

Do you have any plans to collect or purchase in the future?
-Of course, I hope to encounter good art for myself. I think it’s important to educate myself because I’d love to understand what they’re talking about when I talk to the artists. It would also help me to understand and appreciate their works better.

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