Friday, November 6, 2009

His name is MASAGON

Fortune here, back from my TSB Tokyo expedition and reporting from the heart of Kansai- Osaka!

Never thought you would see a Tokyo Scum report from a luxury hotel, did you? After seeing the flyer, I couldn't resist checking out local artist Masagon at Hyatt Regency's gallery in Nankou. I found him in the studio-like gallery at the bottom of a marble corkscrew staircase, sitting there in his red beret. What an unusual place he chose to display his art! However, the laid-back atmosphere soon made me forget I was in the basement of a gigantic five-star hotel.

Masagon is a handicraft sculptor; he creates various kinds of sculptures mostly from clothes, shoes, and stuffed toys; but he describes himself as a graffiti artist. "I am strongly influenced by graffiti and street art. It is just that I use clothes and yarns instead of spray cans." Surely, if you see his work, you will feel like you are in Amerika-mura (American Village), the funkiest district in the city where you can find a mess of graffiti and street wear stores. My first impressions was that this dude is Ame-mura personified. "I travel overseas, but in Japan I've never moved out of Osaka. I just can't stop loving the city."

The turning point in his career was when an artist friend in the UK asked him to join an exhibit in France. One day, walking down a street of Paris in his custom Gundam-studded leather jacket, "A Parisienne hit on me out of nowhere. She said "Kawaii!" in Japanese. I was so surprised!"

Best way to recycle SD Gundam erasers!

The exhibit in France was a huge unexpected success, and he has since been featured in 'The Face'(UK), 'VOGUE'(Japan), 'SHOWStudio'(France) and various other media related to fashion and art. In recent years, he even joined an art show by DIESEL and worked with American artist Mark Jenkins on street installations.

All this and yet what surprises me the most is that this guy never learned to sew or knit! "I liked vintage clothes originally, so I just thought it would be interesting to create monsters, heroes and other figures out of them. I don't really know how to sew. I just looked at some embroidery and started imitating it."

If you are in Osaka, peep his show at Kitsutsuki in Tamatsukuri. It runs through November 13th.
Meet this pop art madman while the meeting is good!

Click here for more Masagon pics!

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