POP ART TOKYO: Yoshitomo Nara & Andy Warhol

Yoshitomo Nara’s characters has witnessed 5 years of my ups and downs.

JK nara postcards

I bought Yoshitomo’s postcard booklet in a museum shop in Paris a long time ago. I was drawn to his wide-eyed, deceptively innocent characters. The postcards were too cute, I couldn’t let it go. So each time something important happens in my life, I write myself a postcard. The character on it should match the mood.

The first postcard i sent was when i got frustrated finding musicians to collaborate with during a performance in Paris, that was in 2009 I believe. From then on, i will bring the postcard set in my travels and write down my impressions and experiences in that country. A few got lost in the mail but it was nice to receive it weeks after my travel and then read and relive that moment.

JK minato 1JK minato 6JK minato 4

To continue the tradition, I searched for Mr. Yoshitomo’s cafe that he designed here in Tokyo. It’s called A to Z cafe. So from Shibuya, I walked all the way to Minato-ku. I saw interesting things and nice shops along the way.

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JK minato 11

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I got a bit lost looking for the place. I asked the people around if they have heard of the cafe but nobody knew. I finally found the 5-storey building, hidden at the posh side street of Minato-ku. It would be difficult to stumble upon this place, you have to come here and know it.

JK minato 7

Coming in, i was smiling looking around the cafe. At the entrance was a display of some of his works for sale. I spotted the same postcard set on the table. In the middle of the room was a small wooden cottage with more of Nara’s artworks inside. I think it is meant to look like his atelier. Seated here, I felt like a kid in Nara’s world.

JK nara cafe 8 JK nara cafe 1JK nara cafe 3JK nara cafe 2

I sat at the terrace of the small house, it’s part of the smoking area section. I don’t smoke but I chose to sit here because it’s the only place with the nice view. The non smoking section is hidden at the back… I was still full from my lunch at the interesting ramen joint I discovered in Shibuya, so i only ordered an iced coffee and dessert.

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The dessert is as cute as Nara’s characters.

The strawberry shortcake with strawberry ice cream was oh so heavenly… I think it’s safe to say that Japan’s got the most delicious and juiciest strawberries evah 😉 While still floating on strawberry heaven, I started writing the postcard for meself. Imagine, I’ve been sending this postcards for 5 years now. It’s like a diary of the highs and lows of my life. I started writing it in french in Paris to practice then i just thought of continuing it. I only have a few Yoshitomo nara postcards left. I wonder where I will write it next…

From a Japanese pop artist to another pop art icon.

I took the subway to Roponggi to catch Andy Warhol’s 15 MINUTES ETERNAL exhibition at the Mori Art Museum.

JK mori museum 1 JK mori museum 5 JK mori museum 3 JK mori art museum 2 JK shibuya 15

Photography inside the museum was prohibited, so i just took a selfie inside the loo, haha.

I usually write things down when I’m in an exhibit. I write ideas or comments and reactions. A lady gave me a pencil to use, as pen was not allowed in there as well. Even a couple was given a tissue to spit out their gum.

I just sat in front of his works and was just amazed. It’s so much different to see everything for real and up close. This may not make sense but here’s what I wrote down…

“My instinct about painting says – if you don’t think about it, it’s right. As soon as you have to decide to choose, it’s wrong.”

– angel > use gold leaf on colored paper

– shoe > gold leaf, tempera and collage on wood

– campbell soup > mass production, mass consumerism, mass media advertising

– seven cadillacs > good idea for collage

“I started repeating the same image because i liked the way the repetition changed the same image.”

– marilyn monroe > pink brown black / black gray / mint green yellow salmon red black / salmon green gray hot pink tan / pink orange blue green hot pink

– repetition of images but with different variation (silk screen and stencil)

– seemingly endless combinations

“I just use whatever happens around me for my material.”

– toy paintings for children > installed at their eye level

– collab with basquiat > acrylic, silkscreen ink & marker on linen

– oxidation painting > urine and copper based paint

Image from http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/art-architecture/2014/05/11/Warhol-rocks-Asia/stories/201405110100
Image from http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/art-architecture/2014/05/11/Warhol-rocks-Asia/stories/201405110100

There was one art installation <SILVER CLOUDS> that affected me. I dunno exactly why. I just went inside this room with huge windows overlooking Tokyo and saw silver floating balloons that got me teary-eyed. This was the “IT” moment for me. I honestly didn’t feel any goosebumps when I arrived in Tokyo, as i usually do when i arrive in a new place that I feel I will love, but here inside this room, I felt it! My gawd, I AM ON TOP OF THE WORLD 😀

JK tokyo skytree 5 JK tokyo skytree1 JK tokyo skytree 10


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