Makoto Yabuki at the Big Screen Plaza

Makoto Yabuki is one of our featured artists in our partnership with the Big Screen on 30th and 6th Ave (behind the Eventi Hotel) for September.  Below the expected show times, Lara Sedbon conducts an email interview with Makoto Yabuki for Leaders in Software and Art.

Show times (Please check official schedule to confirm before visiting):

9/8 @ 1-2pm
9/9 @ 9-10am
9/9 @ 11am-Noon
9/10 @ 4-5pm
9/11 @ 9-10am
9/13 @ 10-11am
9/15 @ 12-2pm
9/15 @ 7-9pm
9/18 @ 8-9pm
9/21 @ 3-4pm
9/23 @ 9-10am
9/25 @ 9-10am
9/27 @ 10-11am
9/28 @ 10-11pm
9/29 @ 12-2pm
9/29 @ 8-9pm


Lara Sedbon: Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

Makoto Yabuki: I’m an artist who is good at expressing things in an abstract way.

LS: On your website, you split your work into two categories, artist and director.  How do these two roles influence each other?  What separates them?

MY: I think that the director work has a goal to achieve. It’s kind of a challenge to satisfy the great demand of the client for high quality. On the other hand, the artist work should be free to express. They are completely different, but also, they are influenced each other on the visuals.

LS: To what extent are you able to express yourself fully as an artist when working for clients?  Do your clients take your artistic profile into consideration and give you artistic freedom?  Do you ever find yourself at odds with a client’s request and if so, how do you resolve it?

MY: It goes on a case by case basis, but there are many works that take my artistic profile into consideration and give me artistic freedom.

LS: From your bio I see you started your career as a visual designer. What made you shift to art?

MY: When I was a visual designer, the way for expressing things was very narrow because learning the technology came first. Of course the technology is very important. However I thought the expressing should take artistic freedom more and more. Then I started to create my own art pieces naturally.

LS: Who are the greatest influences on your work, either at school or later in life?

MY: Taro Okamoto(Japanese Artist 1911 -1996) is the most influential figure in my life. He created many abstract paintings and solid works. I had loved his work since I was a student.

LS: In “Senkyou“, there is a remarkable interaction between sound and music.  How did you put the two elements together? Did you find the music first and adapt the images to it? The piece looks really structured, what kind of methodology did you use?

MY: Music is a very important element and inseparable from my work. I often get inspiration from music. In “Senkyou”‘s case, I got the music first and felt the music was streamlined and sophisticated. That’s the reason why I chose the solid and simple structure for the image.

LS: Triangles are a recurrent form you use in different types of work. Why?  Do you find a specific balance when you use geometry?  Let’s take “White Box” for example.  The world seems to be coming out of polygonal elements.  Is this how your imagination is laid out? How do you explain this piece?

MY: Triangle is the minimum unit for the form and doesn’t have any meaning by itself. It is also unlimited. It is very attractive as a form to me.  “White Box” is the Visual Identity for a Japanese architectural company. I tried to express the imagination of an architect using triangle figure. By collecting many triangles, it can create a variety figures of his imagination.

LS: Do you want to transmit any message to your audience or is your art purely aesthetic? Does the spectator play any role in your art?

MY: Unlike client work, I think art piece should have various interpretations by audience. Like me, who was inspired by the work of Taro Okamoto, I would like them to feel some inspiration by my work.

LS: Can you tell us a bit more about the (hi)story of Tangram? How do you cooperate with other artists working with Tangram? What is your relationship with Takayuki Akachi? What is the philosophy of Tangram?

MY: We established Tangram in 2003 as a place to strike a balance between client work and artistic work.  Each member has an artistic point of view. We work together for client work and the high quality output always makes them satisfied. From a filmmaker Takayuki Akachi, a visual artist like me, to highly skilled staffs, we meet a wide variety of demands. It also brings about a greater synergy among us on each artistic activity.

LS: Are you inspired by works of Jen Stark or Matt W. Moore? In general, which digital artists do you like and admire?

MY: No one in particular.

LS: As a contemporary artist, do you find Japan to be a welcoming environment?  Have you ever considered moving?

MY: I think Japan is a closed country for contemporary artists and doesn’t have a culture paying to art generally.

LS: What are you up to next?

MY: I’m working for some clients’ projects now. I’d like to create new work mixed with the motifs symbolizing nature and man-made motifs.

LS: Thank you so much for spending time with us today!