Saturday, June 9, 2012

Alternative Shift Control

Art by Nikibi.

Alternative Shift Control is an Osaka-based collaboration between musician Shogo Yoshikawa and designer Shinsuke Yamaji, aka Catchpulse. Their [36-56] project presents 56 shirts with prints from 36 artists. Each shirt comes packaged with a hardbound art book profiling the contributors.

We caught up with Yoshikawa to get the lowdown on the raddest T-shirt collab we’ve seen in a long while.

Tokyo Scum Brigade (TSB):
Pulling together 36 artists is no small task. What was your motivation for the project?

Alternative Shift Control (ASC):
We'd managed to amass a large stable of awesome artists and wanted a way to get their names out there. T-shirts seemed like the most accessible option. I mean, everyone wears T-shirts, right? Customers think they're getting clothing when they're actually buying art.

Almost like a Trojan Horse for good taste.

There's a relationship, but at the same time a disconnect, between art, fashion, and music. A crappy band will have cool T-shirts. Or a band with an awesome sound dresses like dweebs. A high-concept design will lack a message.

All artists put their heart into different areas, so it's rare to find that perfect mix. This project aims to be the complete package.

Art by Shogo Yoshikawa.

Your designs range from pop street to B-grade trash. Did you have a specific audience in mind?

As long as you like alternative art, I'm sure we have something that caters to your taste. There's plain T-shirts for the street kids and more fashionable cuts for the dressy types.

Most participants are Japanese, with the rest from Europe and South America. The lack of artists from the U.S. is almost conspicuous.

It's not a conspiracy or anything (laughs). We just don't have any contacts in the States.
Touring Europe with bands and producing zines brought me into contact with artists from all around the world. They make up a majority of the book. The rest are friends of friends, along with anyone who showed up on my internet radar.

You guys are based in Osaka. I always hear about the Kanto versus Kansai thing, but I don't know how much I buy into it.

For the sake of conversation, let's say that the biggest difference is spontaneity. People in Osaka do their own thing without worrying about the static around them. You have all these free radicals bouncing off each other and there's bound to be a reaction. This uncontrollable energy is our blessing, and our curse (laughs).

I think it’s great that you incorporate international artists as well.

We want to do more work with foreign talent. Outside of Japan, it feels like people have a different take on art, like it’s more ingrained into the average person’s life. It’s hard to make a name for yourself in Japan, and even harder to make a living as an artist.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love Japan, but the scene needs some help. 

I think you guys are doing it a service.

This project is just the beginning. We plan to keep delivering art for the masses at a reasonable price, in a medium they can understand. Once we build up the momentum, who can say how far we’ll go?

Check out the collection here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some good stuff. Can't make heads or tails of the collection website though.