Interview with Tamura Yoshiyasu
THE FAMOUS JAPANESE ARTIST, WHO EXHIBITS HIS WORKS ALL OVER THE WORLD, TELLS US ABOUT HIS CAREER. Tamura Yoshiyasu, born in Gunma, Japan, in 1977, is a professional Manga Artist, Painter & Illustrator. Although very young, he was able to make his work known both at home and overseas. In 2003 his first manga, Fudegami (JUMPCOMICS, Shueisha) was released. After his first exhibition in 2008 (Genesispantings by Yoshiyasu Tamura) he presented his works to major art fairs in both America and Europe. In 2014 he had an exhibition at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence.
He worked with the fashion brand McQ Alexander McQueen for the woman winter collection 2014. In November 2016 Tamura was a guest at Lucca Manga School (Lucca, Italy), where he held a seminar on drawing and painting. On that occasion we were able to have a chat with sensei.
You cannot miss the worth of an original piece. So I ask all the readers to come and see my work at the exhibitions if they can.
How did your career begin?
I began to show my work on the monthly Shounen Jump when I was fifteen. At eighteen, I had my main debut with a single chapter manga, To Toujjshi, which is about lion-fighting.
What about your career as a painter? What are the differences between the two professions?
Actually, while I was drawing manga I was already painting, although it is a very different kind of drawing, more academic and classical. The pacing is also different, because writing manga requires precise deadlines. I started doing small expositions and selling my paintings. After that, manga started to tend towards digital drawings: I didn’t really like to use the computer, so I thought of mixing classical academic painting with manga drawings. Really, I never stopped being a mangaka to paint, indeed, I brought manga aesthetics into paintings.
What are your favorite subjects? How would you define your style?
My style is all about mixing together many other styles, and to that I add my own imagination. I get my inspiration from ancient Japanese painters, including Utamaro. I like to ask myself what all those artists would come up ith in a world like the present one, where you can fly from one place to another in a few hours and connect to everyone via the internet. Or I ask: if a painter like Botticelli had come to Japan, how would he have affected our own art? Through these fantasies I try to create a mix of various influences. Regarding the subjects of my paintings, I really like female faces, but I try to give them “less Oriental” features. I like foreign faces and special traits.
What are the places that you hold dearest between all the nations you visited during your exhibitions?
I traveled a lot in America and Europe, I taught in a French school… yet still the place I like most is Italy. It’s a lot of fun to teach Italian students, they have a different artistic sense unlike any other.
What is your favourite technique?
Usually it’s acrylic on canvas, with overlapping color layers that mimics the use of tempera and oil colors. Nowadays it’s easy to show and share your work through the use of internet, but being able to see and touch a real canvas is just different. You cannot miss the worth of an original piece. So I ask all the readers to come and see my work at the exhibitions if they can.
And where are you going to be in the near future? Any future projects?
At the end of November 2016 some of my paintings were exhibited at the Miami Art Fair, and then they will be sent to Tokyo around November 2017, and in Amsterdam in January 2018. I’m pursuing a new art project with an Ukranian photographer, Marfa Vasilieva. We call it the Takamagahara Project, also known as the Japan+Ukraine Project, and it started on the occasion of both the five years anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the thirty years one of Chernobyl. It’s about body painting mixed with photography, and my wish for the project is to show how two culturally diverse countries like Japan and Ukraine can share important experiences. The name of the project comes from Japanese mythology and it means “paradise”; we want it to send a message to everyone: never lose hope. Marfa and I will exhibit our works at the Nakanojo Biennale, Japan. After that I’ll be in Lucca in 2018 for my next manga project.