Osamu Watanabe is a Japanese artist who is a pioneer in sweets decoration. Influenced by his mother, who was a pastry chef and confectionery school teacher. With the belief that “sweet things bring happiness. We asked him about the roots of his work.
How did you become an artist?
I had been creating artworks since I was in art school, but I didn’t think I could make a living as an artist at all. After graduation, I got a job at a design company, but quit after a year, and thought I would go back to school to learn design and then get another job. But then my teacher said, “Watanabe, you’re not suited for design! You should be an artist! I quit that school after one year and worked part-time while creating artworks. Soon after the art bubble arrived in Japan, I was fortunate enough to become a full-time artist, which I have been doing for more than 10 years now. （ H 26.2cm x W 22.2cm x D 5.4cm, Multiple Print, Osamu Watanabe, 2012）
Many of your works seem to use sweets as a motif. Was there a reason why you chose sweets?
When I was a student at an art college, I was thinking about what would be my unique expression. My mother was a confectionery teacher, and I remembered the shapes and colors of the confectionery she made the most from my childhood. I thought it would be the most personal way to express myself, so I chose sweets as my motif.
(H 34cm x W 19cm x D 15cm, Sculpture, Osamu Watanabe, 2021)
In the process of developing your style, were there any influences you had in the past, and how you developed your style.
The writer I admire is Yves Klein. I like the strength of his creative expression that dyes the world with Klein blue. I also want to decorate the world as if the cream is invading it.
What is the most important theme for you, Osamu Watanabe?
The theme is happy memories. I think everyone has happy memories related to sweets, such as birthdays and anniversaries. I hope that my work will remind people of those memories.
(H 37.5cm x W 32.3cm x D 5cm,Multiple Print,Osamu Watanabe, 2012)
TRiCERA is supporting you to deliver your works around the world. What does it mean to you, Osamu Watanabe, to have your work spread overseas?
I believe that sending my work abroad will help me to realize the image of cream decorating the world, just like Yves Klein Blue dying the world blue. I believe that I can realize the image of cream decorating the world. I am expanding the world of my work by collaborating not only in the art world, but also in advertising, architecture, and goods.
Please leave a comment if you have any special feelings about the works published in TRiCERA.
There is a series of paintings called “Cream Painting” which are painted with cream instead of paint brushes. When decorated with cream, famous paintings that we have all seen before begin to weave a new story away from their original meanings and concepts.
Osamu Watanabe is an artist who wants to color the world with decorations based on his belief that “sweet things bring happiness. With the universal language of “sweet” and “happy memories” as his keys, he has created a world that is not limited to the art world. We found out that he wants to expand his unique world to people.
We look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work at TRiCERA!
Profile of Osamu Watanabe Concept Osamu Watanabe is a Japanese artist pioneer in sweets decoration. His work is often associated with the Japanese Kawaii movement. His work is inspired by his mother who was a pastry chef and teacher at a confectionery school, and he believes that sweet brings happiness. He uses decorating piping bags and fake cream made of resin in his artwork. He coined the term "fake cream art" as a new category of contemporary art. A wide variety of his work is displayed in permanent collections of museums throughout Japan. Watanabe has also held exhibitions both in Japan and abroad in China, Turkey, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. <2009> Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial Metaphors of Un/Real - Animamix Biennial Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai <2010> Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Shigakogen Roman Museum <2012> Ohara Museum of Art Kiyosu City Haruhi Art Museum <2013> Takamatsu Art Museum Hyogo Prefectural Maruyamagawa Kouen Museum of Art <2014> Pola Museum Annex Takasaki-City Museum Akita Museum of Modern Art Karuizawa New Art Museum Kyoto Art Competition 2001" Special Jury Prize (2001) The 19th Hitotsubo Exhibition, Honorable Mention (2001) Turner Acrylic Award, Special Jury Prize (2001) Amuse Art Jam 2007, Kuramoto Mitsuru Award (2007)
All the works introduced here are available at TRiCERA.