Born in Tokyo in 1997, Samihoshi is a painter who graduated from Musashino Art University in 2020 with a major in oil painting. Since around 2016, she has been using acrylics and pens to draw deformed girls’ faces and bodies that burst and dissolve, repeatedly collapsing and forming. Samihoshi says, “Cute things keep their cuteness even when they are disintegrated,” and we talked to her about the background of her work and her journey so far.
Samihoshi, you mainly draw girls’ faces based on the theme of creation and collapse. In addition to the deformed faces and eye sizes, you also deliberately collapse them. Can you talk about this point?
I’m afraid it’s a bit of a sensory thing, but when it comes to motifs, the main reason is cuteness. Ever since I was a little girl, I liked drawing girls like princesses, but my parents influenced me to watch a lot of anime and play games from around the 90s, and through that I grew to like deformed characters.
Because of my work’s tendency, people often ask me if I like anime. But in reality, I don’t have such strong feelings for the anime or manga genre itself, but rather I like the cuteness of deformed girls with short heads.
On the other hand, I’m interested not only in the cuteness, but also in the state in which that cuteness is broken. They are cute, but their cuteness is falling apart like melting. The fact that it can’t return to its original state strengthens its virtue, or maybe it’s just a sensory thing, but I’m really attracted to that state.
It’s not that I have an addictive hobby, but I believe that there is a different kind of cuteness in disintegrated, bursting, and disintegrated cuteness, and I think that I can express “cuteness” in an uncomplicated way. I think it is possible to express “cute” in an uncomplicated way.
Christmas Cake 2020 29.7 x 42cm Giclee Printing on paper edition:50
There are paintings in which not only the face but also the body itself has collapsed. Are you interested in deforming the body in addition to the “collapse of cuteness”?
As you said, in addition to characterized girls and their disintegration, I am also interested in messed up faces, disintegrated bodies, hard things colliding with soft things and flying apart. It’s not that I like grotesque things, but I think those aspects are beautiful.
In the work AKIRA, there is a scene where one of the characters’ body is transforming, and I especially like that part. In fact, that’s the only scene I watch (laughs). (laughs) Maybe it’s because I like to see things in progress, or perhaps I like to see things in motion, like the transformation scene of a magical girl.
That’s why I’ve always wanted to draw a body that changes shape, but it wasn’t until I met Ai Madono’s work that I actually started.
Ai Madonna also uses melting colors, but that’s where the disintegration comes from.
Yes, that’s right.
There were a lot of times when I would get an icicle and say, “Oh, that’s it,” and I had a sense of discovery or something coming together, but from there I started working on pictures with collapsed faces and bodies of girls.
United 2015, 116.7 x 91cm, tracing paper, oil paint and pen on canvas
Are there any other artists that you refer to in forming your current paintings?
Then there’s Kana Otsuki. I’m often influenced by recent artists, but I think Ms. Otsuki’s arrangement of the parts of a deformed girl’s face is really outstanding, and the way she draws vertical eyes is very helpful.
Both of you are very influential artists, was it hard for you to be free from their influence?
No, it really is. I was troubled because I’m easily influenced or influenced by others, and my own personality tends to imitate them.
For example, Ai Madonna’s girl with a different skin tone, the use of fluorescent colors for the shadows, and the use of letters in the eyes are all visually unique. I tried not to follow the rules by setting rules.
In addition to the deformed girls and the disintegration of the bodies and faces, I think one of the characteristics of your work is the texture of the line drawings and paints.
Are there other roots to your work as well? These two points may be my own preferences. I’ve always really liked the act of drawing lines, and I think I started my current work because I wanted to draw thin lines. I also like the wonder of the line that naturally forms a work of art when I draw it without thinking about it, and I love the time I spend unconsciously drawing lines.
I also like the sense of security that paints give me as a material. In the past, I used to use a lot of paint to make the picture look bumpy, but when you look at my work up close, the roughness stands out, and I’m a little concerned about that. I’m often told that “digital is better” or “photography is better,” and now I use sandpaper to finish the surface.
But is the sense of materiality important?
It’s important…yes. I’m trying to use digital media now, but it’s more of a secondary creation, and I think I’m switching channels somewhere in my head. I feel more at ease when I have the work in my hands. I like the weight of the canvas with paint on it when I look at it from the side or at an angle, or when I hold it in my hands.
How did you grow up with your love for painting? Did you always like to paint?
Actually, I went to a design high school, so I was familiar with the idea of painting. I was not good at that.
The assignments I was given often asked me to “just make it pretty. No paint should stick out, no brushstrokes should be left. If you made the lines too rough, they would get very angry. Even when I turned in my assignments, I was told, “Your work looks like an oil painting.
United 2016, 41 x 41cm, oil paint and pen on canvas
Did you decide to switch to fine art from there?
No, I hadn’t even imagined it at that point. When I was in junior high school, I wanted to be a picture book artist, and I really liked Komako Sakai, but that was also the reason I went to design school. I thought, “This will be more beneficial than a regular high school.
But when it came time to choose a career path, I decided to go into fine art. I went with a friend to try out an art prep school, and when we saw the booth for the oil painting course, I thought, “What is this? It’s so beautiful! So I decided to go into oil painting in my third year of high school.
You’ve been active since you were a student, haven’t you? When exactly did you start?
In terms of activities, I presented my works under the current name “SAMEHOSHI” when I was a freshman in college in 2016. I was invited to a group exhibition, and that’s where I first presented my work under the name “Sameshoshi” and then with lines drawn on top of acrylic paintings.
Before that, my works weren’t even of girls, they were more abstract, and I didn’t have a specific image in mind. I was drawing lines, but I was using oil paints, not acrylics as I do now, and I was simply enjoying the texture of the paint and the act of drawing lines.
You used to paint with oils, but now you use acrylics, don’t you?
It’s not that I stopped painting oil at all, but I just couldn’t handle it at all. I really like the rawness of oil paint, the depth and weight of the expression, but the speed was not right for me.
When I first started painting girls, I also used oil paint, but oil paint dries very slowly, and as I wait for it to dry, I forget what I wanted to paint. I’m incredibly forgetful. On the other hand, acrylics dry very quickly, so they never lose their freshness. The fact that I can output what I want to paint in real time is a big advantage.
It sounds like you and your work have a strong relationship, but are your works self-referential?
I don’t know… I don’t know… There was a time when I used to think, “A painting is a mirror of myself! There was a time when I used to think like that, but now I don’t think about it anymore. I don’t put too much pressure on my shoulders.
I don’t deliberately try to bring myself closer to my work, but when I think back to the reason why I started painting in the first place, there is a certain sense of preservation in it. With a photograph, you can cut out a scene and save it, and if you are a good writer, you can save it in writing, but for me, painting was the only way to save my feelings at that moment. If I look at a picture, I can remember what I was thinking or thinking at that time.
I think that gives me a sense of security. In the beginning, I used to draw with the intention of recording my thoughts in lines.
Excess, 2018, 36.4 x 51.5 cm, Kent paper, acrylic paint and pen on panel
It’s already been four years since you started your activities. You mentioned earlier that you have been using digital media recently, but have your works changed?
When it comes to my work, there are things that trouble me, and there are also changes in my senses. In terms of my work, there are some things that I’m struggling with, and there are also some changes in my senses. In terms of the former, I’m in the process of exploring whether I should redo everything from the support to the expression of the pen, whether I should continue with the lines, whether I should make the screen more slippery like the current artists, or whether I should draw more crisply. I’m a person who is easily influenced by the people around me, and I’m often told that it’s better not to have any lines. I’m not sure.
Also, my sense of lines has changed. In the past, I didn’t do drafts, and I was never good at facing a blank canvas. I used to draw on top of my mistakes, but now I have more control over that area.
So, while I’ve become more skilled than I used to be and my range of expression has expanded, I feel that I’ve lost the boldness or rashness that I used to have. In the past, there were more lines and more density. Now, I have developed my own production rules, such as “no lines here because there is no border between colors,” and when I look at my old drawings, I think, “I can’t draw anymore.
If you look at your old drawings, you think, “I can’t draw that anymore.” The fact that a large part of your work is based on your senses means that your drawings change as you change. It’s been four years since you started your activities, do you have any plans for what you want to do after that?
There are a lot of things I’m struggling with, but I think now is the time to think about how much more I can add without changing my painting style.
Also, lately I’ve been attracted not only to collapses and bursts, melts and collapses, but also to the way things collide with each other and the way they are integrated. Cute things are cute no matter how they break, fall apart, or fall apart. I’d like to draw it somehow.
Born in Tokyo in 1997, graduated from Musashino Art University in 2020 with a major in oil painting. Since around 2016, she has been drawing girls who repeatedly collapse and form with acrylic paint and pen. Major group exhibitions include “FROM KAWAII ART -OTS-” (GALLERY FREAK OUT/2017/Tokyo), “Unfinished End Roll” (Shinjuku Ophthalmology Gallery/2019/Tokyo), “ob curation neo wassyoi” (Hidari Zingaro/2020/Tokyo), and “199X” (Gallery shuu/2017/Tokyo). 199X” (Gallery shuuue/2020/Tokyo), and his solo exhibitions include “One Scene” (Shinjuku Ophthalmology Gallery/2018/Tokyo) and “When I Wake Up in the Sea of Shortcakes” (Shinjuku Ophthalmology Gallery/2019/Tokyo).