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Empathize and bring it into your life – when a collection is born

Mr. Kawamoto, who is involved in many new businesses, has recently started buying art. He told us, “I was inspired by the concept and message of the artworks through conversations with the artists,” and talked to us about his motivation for purchasing artworks and the insights he gained from buying art.

My empathy for the work encouraged me to buy it.
Could you tell us about your first encounter with art, Mr. Kawamoto?
-I’m afraid I don’t have a very noble reason (laughs), but the first time I encountered art was at an exhibition that a friend invited me to. My friend is an artist, and since it was his first exhibition, I went to the venue and bought his work.
It was the first piece you bought, wasn’t it?
-Yes, it was. I had purchased mass-produced works of interior art before, but that was the first time I purchased a piece of art that was not mass-produced, although I don’t know if it is appropriate to call it authentic art.
I’ve been interested in art for a long time, but I didn’t know the clues or the etiquette for buying it, and “buying art” was not something I was familiar with.

Kenta Nakajima Anonymous Horizon Series 18.5 x 18.5cm
For more information about the artist, click here.
What was the trigger for your purchase?
-I think it was the dialogue with the artist that brought me closer (to purchasing). When I listen to the artist’s story, I learn that there is a story behind what I can see, and I can understand more deeply, “I see, that’s the message behind it. Moreover, I felt that there was a commonality between the message and my own sense of values that I felt were important. That’s why I decided to buy the book (laughs).
(laughs) The good thing about having it displayed in my house is that I get to see it every day, with a message that I can relate to. Each time I do, I feel like I am tracing my thoughts somewhat visually. This is fun, isn’t it?
So empathy with the concept was a major point for you.
-The message was a big part of what attracted me. Personally, I usually emphasize empathy for the vision and message. For example, when I was invited to work at my previous company, I strongly sympathized with the vision, which was the deciding factor for me to change jobs.

Kana Kamitoko blood6 30 x 120cm
Click here for more information about the artist
What else did you discover in relation to your work?
-I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same as art, but I did think that there are some similarities with the mindset of a new business. In business, you are required to have a specific and high resolution plan to solve a problem with a specific idea, but each work of art has its own innovation in terms of ideas and expressions that have never been seen before. I think that the uniqueness of art is similar.
Other than the concept and message, what were the other points you considered when purchasing?
-I think about how it fits with the room. I used to host frequent home parties for my friends, and I move once a year (laughs), so I’m very particular about my home. I’ve always liked interior design, and I enjoy thinking about whether or not it will match the room.
Do you think of art as an extension of interior design?
-No, it’s different again. I’m not talking about which is better or worse, but in the case of art, I incorporate the message into my life. In the past, I used to buy interior art, but after actually buying art, I felt that the difference between the two is whether it exists or not.
I am quite familiar with interior design because I buy and sell real estate, including coordinating rooms, for example. So, of course I like interior design, but I think that each of them can be enjoyed in a different way. Art is not functional, but it’s not just about visuals either. I think it’s interesting to be able to appreciate not only the object, but also the artist’s thoughts and message.

Importance of a platform that is accessible to beginners
As your interest grows, I’m sure you’ll want to look for new works.
-Yes, that’s true. But on the other hand, I think there is a problem of information. It’s difficult to get information on what artists are out there and what kind of exhibitions are being held when and where. You have to go out and get it, or it just doesn’t come naturally. Of course, there is an industry-wide information network, but I have the impression that it is very difficult to access from outside. I felt it was difficult to go to galleries until a friend introduced me to one.
I also attended an art fair, but I didn’t end up buying anything there. There were certainly a lot of galleries participating and a lot of works on display, but I couldn’t find the works I wanted. I didn’t have much of a chance to talk to the artists, and I also didn’t have the budget for the works I wanted. I guess it’s more difficult to find a work that matches all the requirements. If you are a beginner, it may be even more difficult. I want to buy something, but I don’t know how to find it. I have the impression that the barrier to entry is high for buyers as well (laughs).

Zeng Chao KK190612 53 x 53cm
Click here for more information about the artist
You have an advantage in using the Internet in terms of the amount of information, but what are your thoughts on online art purchasing?
-I think that one of the hurdles is the guarantee of value. In the case of interior design, I use image, brand, price, and a sense of harmony with my home as indicators, but for art, I would like to have more advanced information.
I used to take an online English conversation course, and I remember that the instructor’s profile had not only text but also videos and a lot of information that was helpful. I think it would be nice to have something like that in art as well.
This is connected to the point that “the message of the work is important.
-Yes, it’s easy to expect something deeper than the image displayed on the screen. That’s just me, though. I’m interested in the deeper information that conveys the value of the work, such as the intention behind the use of these colors, or why these lines are the way they are.

A.C.D Corbusier’s Cyclone 51 x 61cm
Click here for more information about the artist
In addition to your art, you also buy and sell real estate, for example.
-Not necessarily, but I have yet to buy a work of art that is expensive enough to be considered an asset. If I were to purchase a work of art worth millions of yen, I would have a strong urge to say, “It’s also an investment” (laughs). It’s not a waste of money. (laughs) I’m only talking about my personal level, but I think the amount I can spend will increase by an order of magnitude.
Do you have any plans for collecting or purchasing in the future?
-Of course, I hope to find good works. I think it is necessary to develop my own eyes. I would like to be able to talk to the artists and understand what they are talking about. I would like to be able to understand the quality of the work better.

Shinzo Okuoka
Born in 1992 in Tokyo, Japan. After studying Indian philosophy at university, he worked at a publishing company as a deputy editor of an art magazine and a shrine magazine, where he was involved in planning and editing magazines and books. 2019 he joined TRiCERA, a start-up company, where he was in charge of developing Japan's first cross-border e-commerce site specializing in contemporary art, managing artists, and launching the company's own on-demand media. He is also in charge of developing Japan's first cross-border e-commerce site specializing in contemporary art, managing artists, and launching the company's own owned media. He is a fast writer, and when he was working for a magazine, he was able to write 150 pages in a month by himself.

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