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Article: In the Studio | Tadahiro Gunji

In the Studio | Tadahiro Gunji
In the Studio

In the Studio | Tadahiro Gunji

Japanese artist, Tadahiro Gunji, began his career after losing interest in the mundane office life he lived as a designer, finally moving his family to Brooklyn, NY in the hopes of fostering an environment to create. Working with resin and paint, his work is vivid and sculptural, and meant to make you question the meaning of borders and lines crossed. Read on to learn more about his philosophy around painting and his current inspirations.

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TAPPAN

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist...

TADAHIRO GUNJI

I was born and raised in Japan. I grew up in what we call a middle-class family, but I didn't have any particular art major in my family. But I was familiar with art history books and comic books with deep contents. I heard that I was a boy who drew pictures since I was little and I was happy if I had a pencil and paper. After that, I graduated from the Design Department of the University of the Arts in Japan and joined a major design office in Tokyo, but every day was boring. I work on weekdays, go home late, watch movies and sleep. On weekends, I slept until noon, drank with my friends and talked nonsense, and this was repeated again and again. My life was happy, but I wasn't satisfied somewhere. When I visited New York in 2013, I experienced an installation at a museum called Dia Beacon and I was driven by a mysterious obsession and started making art works of Collectivity series. Two years ago, my family moved to Brooklyn. The reason is to enjoy our lives more. Visual art is my starting point. Not because it's fun, but because it's an impulse. The obsession lets me create. I recently noticed that this is similar to the anger of boredom I felt in those mundane days.

TAPPAN

What is your creative process?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Every one of my works starts with drawing. The combination of simple shapes gives rise to organic lines and shapes created at the boundaries between objects. I will keep searching. Shapes are pictures, various natural objects, or shapes extracted from people. Transfer these shapes to wood and cut them with a jigsaw. It is photographed and digitally colored. I can choose from several different colors. Paint it with acrylic paint and give it a slight gradation with an airbrush. Pour resin over them and harden them several times until they feel surface tension. And then I put them together creates an organic line between glossy surfaces. Because drawing is an action at my core, I continue sketching. It doesn't matter if it's not connected to the work or anything. I think I can touch the reason of shape. I think this is close to the work of Ellsworth Kelly that connects plant sketch to minimal art. In my quest, this sketch line It is interpreted and exists as a groove in the boundary line without being drawn. The work is completed as a poetic installation that changes according to the environment by taking a picture of the space with a glossy relief. These concepts are based on the fact that I am attracted to their spirituality rather than their superficial expression as Japanese. The spirit is that all Japanese art existed in the Azuchi-Momoyama period, and it was characterized by Miyabi (elegance), Wabi (taste for the simple and quiet), and Hyouge (witticism). I think it is the spirit of my work.

TAPPAN

Describe your work in three words.

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Miyabi (elegance), Wabi (taste for the simple and quiet), Hyouge (witticism)

TAPPAN

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Can I share my reality with my audience? Can I share with others, for example, the poetic beauty of my work that changes with the environment? I always think so, but first I want to face the reality inside me.

Tadahiro Gunji says:

β€œCAN I SHARE MY REALITY WITH MY AUDIENCE? CAN I SHARE WITH OTHERS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE POETIC BEAUTY OF MY WORK THAT CHANGES WITH THE ENVIRONMENT? I ALWAYS THINK SO, BUT FIRST I WANT TO FACE THE REALITY INSIDE ME.”

Tadahiro Gunji
Tadahiro Gunji

TAPPAN

What influence does living in Brooklyn have on your work?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Living in Brooklyn is exciting for me because there are many creators. According to one theory, your brain can concentrate on moderate noise rather than silence, that's exactly what makes my brain more focused in Brooklyn.

TAPPAN

What draws you to this type of work?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

They don't use words, but they are poetic.

TAPPAN

Where do you draw inspiration from?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

I get inspiration from every environment except myself. Especially natural things, people and movies.

TAPPAN

What do you listen to when creating?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

I sometimes listen to music when drawing, but I don't listen to it in other processes. It's more relaxing than my favorite song. I draw while listening to the piano by Glenn Gould or, more recently, by Joep Beving. I like black music as well.

TAPPAN

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

My job has a lot to do with digital. If I can control the amount of information, It has a great impact. Digital tools, for example, let me reconfirm the beauty of drawing on iPad Pro.

TAPPAN

What is your relationship with social media?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

SNS is no motivation for me. But now it's a very important tool. As an artist, I feel it is more important to create a strong connection between people through SNS than getting many followers or likes.

TAPPAN

When do you make your best work?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

I feel like I can do a very good job when I can't control the urge to create.

Tadahiro Gunji

TAPPAN

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Can I share my reality with my audience? Can I share with others, for example, the poetic beauty of my work that changes with the environment? I always think so, but first I want to face the reality inside me.

TAPPAN

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Oribe Furuta, a master of the tea ceremony, was the most influential. I am also influenced by the above-mentioned Ellsworth Kelly, Sadamasa Motonaga of The Gutai group and Osamu Tezuka.

TAPPAN

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

Nothing in particular for now, but Osamu Tezuka's Buddha, Soseki Natsume, are the Bible of my life.

TAPPAN

What makes you laugh?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

My kids

TAPPAN

What makes you nervous?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

My kids

TAPPAN

What makes you excited about the future?

TADAHIRO GUNJI

The obsession of work




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