The artist NAKAMITSUKI creates paintings using digital tools such as the iPad. This article will explore the aesthetics of the digital nature* era of the artist, who continues to insist on the uniqueness of his works while using the reproducible technology of data.
What made you start creating?
When I was in elementary school, I was hospitalized for an illness called epilepsy. Epilepsy is an acquired brain disease, and it caused me to become a paraplegic. At the time, I couldn’t swallow the situation and thought I was going to die. So I wanted to leave something behind as a record of my life. I couldn’t hold a brush at that time, so I started drawing a picture diary using a tablet. That’s how it all started. From then on, I was writing on the theme of music, and with an earphone in my right ear, I was listening to improvisational music such as JAZZ while drawing on the tablet with one hand. Drawing on paper requires two hands, but since I was a paraplegic, a tablet that I could hold with one hand was convenient. I started to be able to move when I was in college, and I joined the light music club and jazz club, and played guitar. It was around the end of my second year of college that I started showing my work in exhibitions, and I was accepted into the Mitsubishi Corporation Art Gate Program after showing my work in an on-campus exhibition. After that, I decided to enter a lot of exhibitions, so I went to a website that listed all the public art exhibitions from top to bottom and applied for them. Please tell us about the theme of your current work.
Currently, I am working on a new series called “Key note”. “Key note” is a word coined from the combination of “key” and “note,” which means to capture the “key sound” and form it by focusing on the auditory sense, without relying on the visual. By capturing the “key sounds” and shaping them with a focus on the auditory sense, we hope to get closer to the depths of music and create works that will make us rethink the way we feel music. Before the spread of the new coronavirus, I used to go to music sessions and paint on the spot, but now that STAYHOME is here, it has become difficult. I was doing this because I wanted to be able to draw the sense of live music and the instantaneous timeline within it. Tablets can be used anywhere and at any time, so I feel they are a good way to keep up with instantaneous ideas. I’m currently working at home while listening to music. However, I still feel there is an environmental problem. At a live concert, the light and sound are live, but not so at home, so it takes a lot of imagination to paint under such circumstances. As a result, I think my style has changed a bit lately. In the past, I used to focus on the hand of the performer or concentrate on the moment. Now, however, I need to re-imagine them in my mind based on the knowledge I have acquired so far. As a result, I feel that the whole atmosphere and the world of the music will be born in me.
(Color, W 97 x H 130.3 x D 2 cm, Multiple Prints, NAKAMITSUKI, 2021)
What are your influences and what do you consider to be the turning point for you?
I think the turning point for me was my time in the hospital. At that time, social networking services were just starting to become popular, and video sites and subscription services were gradually gaining recognition. Since I couldn’t get TV, I got all kinds of information from Mixi and Twitter. As for my own works and my writing activities, I think I have been greatly influenced by terminal culture and subcultures through them. Also, as an artist, I am influenced by the works of Andy Warhol and Henri Matisse. I felt as if their works were similar to the world line I was looking at. I went to New York to see their works in person, and also went to the scholarship. I admire her sense of color, which is linked to my own. I’m always looking for what I have that they don’t have. I’m also a bit of a geek myself, so illustrators have also influenced me.
How do you see the relationship between digital and analog, and what are the advantages and weaknesses of each in your paintings?
Drawing pictures in analog has thousands of years of cultural and art history, but digital has only been around for about 10 years. Because it’s so young, it’s not as widespread, and it’s not as major, so it’s harder to draw and publish art digitally. In the world of comics and illustrations, it is a major player, but in contemporary art, it is not. We need to start making history now. When I was exhibiting my work at a campus exhibition, it was hard for people to stop and look at it. At that time, I didn’t really realize that digital was not a major. At first they didn’t even look at me, but now I have the impression that a community is emerging. I’ve had people tell me that digital is the only way to bring out my color abilities. It’s often manageable when you talk. There seem to be a lot of people who get stuck on why you want to turn digital into analog, but for me, analog and digital were the same, so I didn’t really see any difference. In that sense, I feel borderless. But if you take something digital and bring it to a real, analog place like an exhibition hall, then it becomes analog, doesn’t it?
( Night Shadow , W 97 x H 130.3 x D 2 cm, Multiple Prints, NAKAMITSUKI, 2021)
You create a painting digitally, and then output it. What is the meaning of this data deletion in your own work?
As I mentioned earlier, for me there is no particular border between analog and digital, so I think that outputting is an extension of creating, and that it is just a movement of the original. When I have an image in my head, that is the original, when I draw it on a tablet, that data is the original, and when I output it, it becomes the original. When I move the original, I don’t feel comfortable with the original data remaining in my hand. For me, it’s similar to my discomfort with cloning technology. I feel uncomfortable with the idea that there is an original thing, and then it is duplicated, and the number of identical things increases.
(Believe, W 97 x H 130.3 x D 2 cm, Multiple Prints, NAKAMITSUKI, 2021)
6. Do you have any ideas for your next work that you would like to realize?
I would like to try my hand at three-dimensional work. Nowadays, there are software and apps that allow you to design three-dimensional objects for free, and it’s great that you can use them to create your own objects and output them anywhere, for example with a 3D printer. Since I have only worked with flat surfaces, I want to learn the basics of 3D, so I am studying at the Shiga Prefectural Ceramic Cultural Park.
*1 This is a concept proposed by media artist Yoichi Ochiai. Computer Resourcesis AffinityBy doing Reconstructionto be New Natural environment“as PerceptionA word that indicates World imageA word that indicates “to be. (https://www.weblio.jp/content/%E3%83%87%E3%82%B8%E3%82%BF%E3%83%AB%E3%83%8D%E3%82%A4%E3%83%81%E3%83%A3%E3%83%BC viewed on 2021/09/07)
The works introduced here are available at TRiCERA.