An interview with Yosuke Ueno
“If there were more Yosuke Ueno’s in the world, it might be a more enjoyable place. Ueno has an infectious positivity, which jumps out at viewers of his detailed, colorful paintings.” – Juxtapoz.com
“It’s only a matter of looking, or perhaps a better word is seeing, and taking pleasure in the pieces offered before this puzzle begins to speak for itself. When working in symbols so perceptively designed, and so thoroughly imagined, everything takes on meaning…” – Hi-Fructose
“An appealing new body of work featuring cute, whimsical, and mystical visions incorporating a wide variety of pop inspirations.” – DailyDujour.com
Please tell us a little bit about the work that makes up your new series for “Negative Never Again”?
Though I am taking up “being Positive” as my art theme, I sometimes despair of things around myself as people always do. However I believe every possibility subsisting in despair. A skull character of my NNA series draws a cloak of the space. The skull represents the despair and the space cloak does possibility. That means the despair is covered with possibility. Then, the NNA series are portraits of human being for me.
Your work was recently a part of the Animamix Biennial that traveled to the Today Art Museum (Beijing), MoCA Shanghai, MoCA Taipei, and MoCA Kaohsiung. How did the exhibition come together and have you heard any feedback from the curator?
I had a solo show in Tokyo last November. The curator of the show had invited my pieces to the show then. I have heard that my works had received favorable reviews at all the places. I was really glad that a lot of Asian people had enjoyed my pieces, and I hope my artworks to be more popular among Aian countries.
Please tell us about your plans for “Hapiko”, your first bronze sculpture edition.
First of all, I had created the Hapiko figure with clay. When Gino Jouker from Toy Art Gallery came to Japan, I showed it to him and he liked the figure. He soon arranged things to make the Hapiko figure into bronze sculptures. I really appreciated that. I have a lot of original characters. So I hope more characters of myself to be sculptures or art toys from now on. (*Editor’s note: be on the lookout early next year for Yosuke’s first vinyl release – more details announced soon)
Your “Positive E” series of paintings are favorites of your fans and collectors alike. What does this series of paintings mean to you?
To tell the truth, I am painting the Positive E series under depression and chaos in my mind. Sometimes many pieces of images are about to surpass my perception. At times like that, I force myself to face the canvas to paint the images. The largest character means the sun for me, and I paint another images heading for the sun character. At that work, I could feel as if myself is going forward the sun. I also feel freedom that belongs to children when I do the Positive E series. On the contrary, I paint the NNA series, extracting a certain image from my overflowing imaginations.
What/who do you consider your biggest overall influence?
Japanese old school comics that I have been reading since I was a child. And ad designs that I come across everywhere. All the things I read and listen have inspired my imagination. Music and books for example, I keep it in mind to have my own imaginations whenever or whatever I come across. That is not a practice, but my most pleasurable play.
What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your solo show with us?
After this solo, I will take part in ‘Sweet Streets 2’ at Gallery Nucleus. The theme of the group show is fashions of Tokyo, and the show will start the 11th of September. Then I will participate in three men show at Gallery 1988 San Francisco with Ewelina Ferruso and Jeremiah Ketner. Of course it is a great pleasure for me to take part in the special anniversary show of Thinkspace Gallery this November! Fortunately, I have some more shows at the end of this year and the early of 2011. I will do my best to make pieces that will blow people’s mind!!
Yosuke Ueno‘s ‘Negative Never Again’ is on view through July 30th. Don’t miss it!
View the works from ‘Negative Never Again’ here:
6009 Washington Blvd. in Culver City