Interview with Yosuke Ueno for “But Beautiful”

Thinkspace is pleased to present new works by Japanese artist Yosuke Ueno in But Beautiful. Ueno is a self-taught painter based out of Tokyo, and is known for his imaginative, character-driven worlds created in symbolic pursuit of innocence, hope, and positivity.  In anticipation of his upcoming exhibition, our interview with Yosuke Ueno explores the inspiration behind But Beautiful, his creative challenges, and dream collaboration.

Join us for the opening of But Beautiful, Saturday, August 4th from 6 – 9 pm.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in “But Beautiful”?
YU: Some artworks in this show are based on studies of traditional Japanese paintings. I have been collecting Ukiyoe books and getting many inspirations from those books. Compositions and motifs of those masterpieces can be seen in my works.

The title of this show is a quotation from Bill Evans music. I have no idea what he wanted to tell in the title, but this title seems to have an important meaning for the present world. Every negative sentence could be happier with these two words at the end.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?
YU: In this show, I will show few of vertically longer pieces. Those shapes are inspired by Japanese Kakejiku (hanging scrolls). Pigments on paper is a normal style of traditional Kakejiku, but I have tried to reconstruct those originally with acrylic colors on canvas.

SH: Where do you source inspiration?
YU: As I told above, some inspirations are from Japanese Ukiyoe, and I got inspirations from Sukajan (Japanese Souvenir Jacket) as well. Embroideries of those jackets are beautiful arts. I painted animals and skulls with my own interpretation of Ukiyone, and I enjoyed doing that.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
YU: I always get a small notebook with me, putting every single idea on it. However, I have no idea when and which one of those would come up with an artwork. I also use iPad to make some drawings. For me, there’s no difference between analog and digital in terms of getting ideas output.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
YU: I have been devoted to ones seen in Japanese paintings recently. I am interested in how to “paint” empty space.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
YU: My favorite part is the painting process. I make drawing on the canvas first, but I always come up with new components as I paint. That’s exactly what I am excited, I like the way that canvas shows me many different faces as my brushes run over it.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
YU:  I would like to collaborate with fashion brands, like my art embroidery on clothes.

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