Here is for you an exclusive interview with Tokyo-based artist Ei Kaneko. His black and white drawings not only are full of mysteries and poetry but also full of references and that is what caught my eye in the first place. He kindly agreed to answer my questions and I am thankful for that. Have a look at his website too, its design is amazing. Enjoy!
Can you introduce yourself please?
One time I had my portrait in a magazine, and there was a little caption underneath that read something like “Ei Kaneko. 24 years old. Lived most of his life in the United States.” I didn’t write that, but then a friend who saw it complemented me saying it was really to the point. He didn’t say anything about the picture. I ‘m now 27, living and working in Tokyo.
How would you describe your art?
I deal with identity, the identity of a void. A void identity.
I aim for a sense of error, a slight confusion, an interval of vacuity in both symbolic and technical ways. A collage intrigues me because it presents a void in the method itself. I wanted to exaggerate the contradiction of a vacant identity, so I decided to draw it out. I did it in pencil because it’s monochrome with different shades and it also leaves marks, has texture and gets dirty. I see my work resembling architecture in many ways. The space is empty but defined by a structure. The structure and its occupant coexist to form an entirely new identity.
My drawings are experiments, studies. I ‘m not an illustrator, and I’m open to any medium or means necessary. If I feel the need to sculpt, paint, do piss-drawings or whatever, I’ll do it. It’s about how to get to the core idea of my concept. This style of work I have now isn’t concrete. Everything I do and create is part of the whole; my zines, website, this interview. I don’t consider my zines and website any less superior to my drawings. I think art should always be an ongoing process.
Are you represented by a gallery and do you have a current show?
Nothing huge at the moment but things are stirring. One gallery has been really supportive here in Tokyo, The Last Gallery. They don’t represent me but it's a cool place doing interesting things.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
Visual inspiration is number one. I see very clearly. My eyes have led me through life so far. Either that or I follow my eyes. Obviously photography is huge, and film. I also look at a lot of what fashion stylists and curators do. I think the essence of what they do connect to a new form of art and creation in this age of advancing technology. Art collections are inspiring as well. A familiar Warhol can seem like an entirely new
painting in certain collections. All the different works affect each other and present new interpretations. Music must also have some affect on my work. I also love looking at the sky. The light up there is beautiful. Beauty inspires my life, my life is part of my work.
If you were not an artist what would you be doing?
My first dream was to become a horse, which I truly believed could happen until I was about seven. I vaguely remember imagining and seriously contemplating how that would happen, how my body would transform over a period of time. It’s so wonderful but also very sad looking back. Now that it seems unlikely I would be a chef or a jumbo jet pilot. My next life would be the obvious, a musician.
Do you consider that Art is Alive?
Art is Alive, and it will be as long as we exist. It’s a very personal thing.
What would you wish to this blog?
All the very best. Bloggers should be up there with stylists and curators.