mamoru’s kitschy paintings depict everyday, yet somehow out-of-place situations with a focus on lethargic girls. The words that appear to supplement the images do not have a message of their own, but are either meaningless phrases or symbols used to compose the picture. The apathy and insignificance that appear in his works seem to ignore or reset existing values. In this exhibition, we will look at his free perspective that escapes from such social significance in a time when meaning, value, results, and theory are in demand, and the other world that spreads beyond that.
What prompted you to start making this artwork?
Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, there was a state of emergency and a lockdown, and I spent a lot of time at home. At that time, I had nothing to do at home, so I decided to try drawing for the first time in a while. I had been drawing since I was in art school. The reason I entered art school in the first place was because I liked to draw. I took the high school entrance exam on a recommendation, and at first I didn’t even think about going to university. But when I found out that art school requires only Japanese, English and practical skills, I decided that I didn’t want to go out into the world yet, so I took the entrance exam for art school. After graduating from art school, I joined a commercial production company. It was the year of 3/11, so I had a hard time finding a job. In the end, I started moving around the summer and worked for three years, then moved on to become a manager at an entertainment agency, and now I am making wedding rings in Osaka. Since I started illustrating, I have received several requests to create illustrations, and as a result of not turning those requests down, I have received requests from corporations, which led to an expansion of my work. In the midst of all this, I also received inquiries from overseas, which led me to join TRiCERA. Partly because I like the idea of making things, drawing pictures, and creating something. I feel like I have a high need for approval. I have an Instagram account, and when I post my illustrations there, I get likes and stuff. That’s easy to understand, and it makes me feel that I’m getting good feedback from others. Please tell us about the theme of your current work.
The theme of my work is to draw girls. The kind of girl who is absent-minded and kind of giggles. I’m not very good at drawing facial expressions, and I don’t really have a strong message that I want to convey. So, rather than expressing strong emotions, I dare to keep my face expressionless. I try to let the viewer’s imagination run wild.
<<dechi, H 30cm x W 30cm x D 3.7cm, Canvas Print, 2021
Regarding the iconic motif of the pretty woman, why do you depict a “lethargic” woman?
As I mentioned a little earlier, it’s because I can’t draw the majority of them. I find it difficult to draw a smile. In reality, smiles have wrinkles, but when I try to express them realistically in illustrations, I can’t draw them well. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable. That’s why I decided to go in the direction of having no facial expressions or anything like that.
《Floating, H 30cm x W 30cm x D 3.7cm, Canvas Print, 2021
It seems that many of your stories depict settings that are everyday, but with a slightly different perspective. Do you have any particular thoughts or intentions about the setting of your scenes?
I think it’s important that the viewers find it interesting. That’s why I collect various materials as I work. Poses, clothes, hairstyles, and so on. As I look at these things, I come up with various ideas, such as adding mayonnaise to this image would be interesting. Sometimes I use a hashtag that no one else is using, and sometimes my followers comment on a different hashtag. For example, for the work “mayonnaise forever” (2021), there is an artist who says, “It would be nice if it was midnight all the time,” and it’s called “zutomayo” for short. My work has this kind of parody in it, and the work I posted on Instagram, “The fast food”, is a parody of “The first take” that is often seen on Youtube these days.
《mayonnaise forever, H 30cm x W 30cm x D 3.7cm, Canvas Print, 2021
The Fast Food, H 30cm x W 30cm x D 3.7cm, Canvas Print, 2021
Japanese motifs (sometimes in romanized form) appear in your works, what do you find meaningful in bringing Japanese into the world of your images?
I think that I can make people think about everyday events by drawing them in romaji. For example, “no fire” (2021) is a work that expresses the sadness of not having a fire when smoking a cigarette. If you know the title, you’ll immediately understand “no fire,”(Hi-GA-NAI) but if you don’t, you’ll think about it for a moment. Then, they look at the image and realize that the girl is adding a cigarette, but there is no smoke, or they look at the title and realize the meaning. I think it is important to make people think in this process. Also, as it relates to the previous questions, I value things that seem to happen in everyday life, but are not. I dare not draw facial expressions, so that the reader can imagine the character’s emotions. In such cases, people try to find answers in their own experiences, so in a sense, I think there is room for empathy. A smiling person can only be seen as a happy thought, but a lethargic and expressionless image can be interpreted in any way. It’s the same with words and works of art. We prepare the materials and situations, but we don’t prepare the right answers, we let the people who see them think. I believe that the correct answer is the emotion and interpretation that they find.
No Fire, H 30cm x W 30cm x D 3.7cm, Canvas Print, 2021
Finally, do you have any ideas for your next work that you would like to realize?
I’ve done a lot of illustrations so far, and I’ve gotten 10,000 likes, and I’ve gained about 700 followers in a week. It’s not because of that, but I think the biggest challenge is to keep doing things for people to enjoy.
I draw cute, apathetic girls.
I am a graduate of Musashino Art University.
All the works introduced here are available at TRiCERA.