A young Japanese artist who depicts the reality of today’s world with many problems A young Japanese artist, Taro Bowl
What inspired you to start making art?
The reason why I started creating artworks is that the high school I entered was an art school. So you weren’t very serious about making art at first. Then I had to enter a student competition called the High School Exhibition, and I was having a hard time finding a rough sketch. I tried to make some drawings, but the teacher said they were not interesting, so I decided to go see the solo exhibition of M.C. Escher (1898- 1972) for reference. When I saw Escher’s work in front of me, I felt a shock of lightning strike my head and the feeling of “I can paint now” came down. I thought that Escher had taken over my body, and the next day, my painting changed and I could paint freely. After that, I decided to challenge myself with my life and work.
What is the origin of the name “Bowl Taro”?
My real name is Asai, and there is a Brazilian dish called Acai Bowl. It is a smoothie made from the fruit acai, with other fruits and honey added. When people hear the word “art,” they tend to get uptight, and I thought that artists with stiff names might be drawn into the image of their names, and their paintings might also become stiff.
What are your influences, and what do you consider to be the turning point for you?
M.C. Escher, who I mentioned earlier, was also a turning point for me, but it was Keith Haring (1958-1990) who changed my painting even more. Keith Haring (1958-1990) changed my art even more. His works are pop, fashionable, modern, and each drawing has its own story. I also felt that the commercial aspect of his pop art was really great, and it made me want to make art that would be fashionable when made into T-shirts. So I feel that he has definitely had a big influence on me.
What is the theme of your current work?
The theme of my work is “story. My works are composed in such a way that a story unfolds within a single painting. I also like to write novels, and I find it particularly enjoyable to compose stories. No matter what kind of work I create, I place great importance on “composition” in everything I create.Also, since comics and novels are media that tell a story in many pieces, I find it easier to explain the flow of the story in that continuity than in painting. However, a painting has to include the entire story in a single image. Otherwise, I feel that the painting would have no context, no meaning, no content. For this reason, I am working on the theme of “creating a composition that tells a story within a single painting.
What is the theme of your current work? You create your works with the keyword “story,” but it seems that many of your subjects and the things you depict are “real. What do you think about the relationship between “reality” and “story”?
Paintings are created on the premise that they will be seen by someone, so I hope that by including realistic elements in the story, people will be able to feel something close to their senses in the work. However, if the paintings are too realistic, they will not be interesting, and on the other hand, if they are too narrative, such as fiction, they will be difficult to understand.
Although it may be due to your technique and colors, I get the impression that your work is a bit dark overall (perhaps it’s more like black humor). How do you feel about this impression?
I am only 18 years old, and my thoughts change over the course of a year. I, too, think that black and dark feelings in people are becoming very strong, especially in this day and age. I used to draw things that I could relate to such parts of people, but now that I’m a freshman in college, I’m ready to draw happier things. I’m sure that the agenda I want to draw will change from year to year, but I’m going to devote myself to drawing pictures that can be close to the sad and unrequited feelings of human beings, year by year.
Do you have any ideas for your next work that you would like to realize?
I am currently working on a lot of large black and white works, but I would like to try creating large colored works in the future. I have been working with black and white copperplate prints until now, so I would like to try many new techniques and increase my capacity.
Taro Bowl’s fantasy works use a technique called automatism. This technique is the so-called surrealism. Influenced by the painters Escher and Egon Schiele, he is fascinated by the world of perspective induction and the pursuit of true humanity. His concept is “art that conveys freedom to people. He will continue to create art that conveys the freedom that everyone can enjoy.
Born in 2003; entered high school in 2018; Excellence Prize, Osaka Prefectural High School Arts and Crafts Exhibition, 2018; Mayor of Sado Island Prize, Sado Print Koshien, 2018; Excellence Prize, Osaka Prefectural High School Arts and Crafts Exhibition, 2019; Honorable Mention, Nika Exhibition, 2019
The works introduced here are available at TRiCERA.