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Artist Interview No.2-Nigamushi- vol.2

This is the second interview with Nigamushi, and we talked to him about various topics, mainly about his solo exhibition, “あの子 (Anoko)”.
Where did that mysterious character come from?
Let’s take a closer look at some of his stories.


– あの子 –

Venue : y.gion

From 4 June (Fri) ~ 27 June (Sun) 2021.

OPEN 14:00 ~ 22:00 CLOSE
(Closed Gallery Day : Mondays and Tuesdays )

苦虫ツヨシ / Nigamushi

Painter, Art Director Having solo exhibitions or curating his own events not only in Japan but overseas,He is working in Visual Arts in multiple fields such as Character Design, Logo Design,Package Design, and creating his own original goods.

ーThis time, I feel that the style of “Anoko” is quite a bold change compared to his previous works. If you look closely at the lines around the eyes and so on, you can actually feel that the touch is unique to Nigamushi, but the modeling seems to be a new frontier.
Is there a specific reason for this?

I’m assuming that this is not the only reason, but one day when we were having a meeting at the hotel, Shinya (the curator of TOKYO URBAN ART) asked me if I could draw “Moe”-type pictures. But the genre of the pictures in that area is totally different, isn’t it? I tried to draw it, but I’m really bad at it lol

The half-animal, half-girl work on display in this exhibition, “あの子(Anoko)”.

ーSo you couldn’t draw well at first! I can’t imagine that from the wide range of your painting style! lol He seems to be able to draw pictures of any taste.

It ended up looking like a super old cheesy cartoon picture, and I was forced to draw it again another day. Somehow, I kept thinking, “There is such a thing as pattern and balance, isn’t there? Of course, as I said before, that wasn’t the only reason, but that’s what happened.

I recently made some hand towels, and you can see here a picture that is close to my current taste, right? (Showing the hand towel) I thought I’d put in a little cartoonish illustration for the hand towel, but then I was like, “Whoa! I could draw something cute!” But it looked like something out of a 90’s cartoon. I laughed at myself.

Hand towels. Various characters with beautiful girl-like pictures.

Women are a motif I often draw, but when I drew half of the rough sketches as cats and half as cartoon-like drawings, I found it interesting.
It’s like the various elements come together and the dots become lines. It’s like “where I have reached”. That’s why when people ask me how I arrived at this picture, it’s difficult to give a simple explanation.

ーI have the impression that there are more people who create in a logical approach than in the past, perhaps due to the influence of the increase in the number of artists who take notes on their experiences and express themselves in the technology field.

I guess people who are doing conceptual art might do that, but I don’t think about it when I draw. Later on, I sometimes think, “I was influenced by that movie,” but then I remember it when I talk about it lol

ーIt’s true that the effects of our actions may be a complex of inputs into our minds and outputs when we are unconscious.

In the past, when I was relaxing on the train, I would come up with ideas in unexpected places, like “Oh, if I combine that with that canvas…”.
Also, the reason why I used oil-based magic in my early works was because I wanted to do something different from what everyone else was using, such as using Posca.
I also drew on kraft paper, but when I was working at a printing company, I thought it would be a shame to throw away leftover paper, so I brought it home and drew on it with oil-based magic. There are different types of oil-based magic, so I remember experimenting to find out if it dries too fast, if it leaves traces of lines, or if it doesn’t produce a clean solid color.

ーI guess what you’ re talking about right now is the technical and material aspects, and the inspiration that comes from trial and error related to those aspects, but are there any influences in your daily life?

That’s right. I guess it’s an occupational hazard, but I tend to observe things.
People who work in interior design always look at the interior when they enter a store. In this way, I sometimes find myself staring at things that people would normally pass over, and it has an effect on me. For example, when I look at the interior of a restaurant, I tend to notice things that people would not normally notice.
There are other times when I leave rough sketches of a work unfinished, but when I see other works, I am influenced by them, which leads me to update the work I left unfinished.
Recently, I worked with a tile maker who was very interested in art, and he was happy to work with me on a piece of art. And then we created a work together.
Art is created through encounters with other people, so things like, “This person likes this kind of thing” can be a starting point for updates.

A rough model of a three-dimensional work.
Please come and see the completed work at the exhibition!

(While we were talking about this, he showed us his new 3D work.)
ーIt’s amazing! How do you create this?

Basically, I make a model first, which also reflects my experience in 3D work.
It’s easy because I have the sense of 3D in my head. I show my work to the tile maker and ask him to make it into an actual shape.
I’ve been busy lately, so I just ask for help and leave the rest to the tile maker! I haven’t made a clear decision, but I really want to do everything by myself lol
People who do big projects usually have a staff to make them.
That’s why I respect Shinro Ohtake’s perspective, “I have to make it myself!” I respect his perspective.

I felt the spirit of an artist’s craftsman in Nigamushi, who was a bit playful, but sincerely said that he wanted to do everything centrally by himself in creating his works.
Even though he is making use of the work experience he learned in the past as his backbone, I have nothing but respect for his attitude and technique, which shows a wide range of development from the two-dimensional works presented in various tastes to this three-dimensional work!

ーBy the way, from what you’ve said, I got the impression that you have a kind of aggressive style, that you’re flexible and don’t hesitate to incorporate what you like.
Have you always been like that?

In the early days of my activities, I wanted to create my own style and character.
I came up with a style in which the eyes are looking at the opposite direction lol
There was a time when I did a Japanese series, and there was also a time when I did silk processing.

These are some of his early works. The direction of the eyes is certainly distinctive.

When I was in my twenties, I was trying to create my own style while drawing. But I couldn’t do that, so I would just draw various things, which meant that I didn’t fit in… I was troubled by that at times.
That’s why I admired people who could stick to their own taste.
I had a strange belief that I had to have a certain style because I wanted to get a job as a business or to be recognized for who I was. But that’s not really what I wanted to do.
So I decided. “I’ll do everything halfway through my life!”
I thought that if I did everything and kept doing everything half-heartedly, it would somehow take shape! Lol
That was released when I became Nigamushi, and that’s how I got to where I am today.

ーAs your name suggests, you have molted! lol

It’s called Nigamushi (Bitter worm), so it’s always molting.
Insects are always mimicking. I am a bug that mimics society. For example, when I saw the logo of a store,” Wait, isn’t this logo drawn by a bitter bug? Like that lol
If a painter or illustrator works on it, that’s just the way it is, but a design will land on the client. I want to get the best of both worlds.
That’s why I refer to myself as an “active bug” in my profile.

Anyway, Nigamushi was flexible not only in terms of input, but also in terms of output, and I felt as if he made me feel a certain belief.

By the way, there is a work in this exhibition that uses spray paint for the background. It seems that the reason for the creation of this work was that the description of the exhibition was mistakenly written as “works created with watercolors, gouache, spray paint, colored pencils, etc.” and I thought, “Oh no, there are no spray paintings! I should at least include one! o he added it later to match the wrong description lol

I’m so impressed with his professionalism that he was able to do it even for such a reason. I was shown the work, and it was so interesting that I wondered if it was really made in a hurry. I really hope you get to see that piece in person!

The next interview will focus on Nigamushi’s favorite hip-hop music. I hope you will enjoy it.

TEXT : THAT IS GOOD editorial department, Koga