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Interview with Yosuke Ueno on his childhood, art, and positivity

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 06 Jul 2010

You are from Japan and I once read your early interest in art as a child was not well-received by your parents, to the point of giving you anxiety and stomachaches. Please tell us a bit about your background and how you got into art and overcame early challenges as an artist.


When I was little, I had been too introverted to express my own feelings. At that time, my mother had been only a person I could communicate with. However, my mother hadn't been tender, but angry always and I would search and look into her face.


When I was six, I found a carcass of a bird in a park. That was shocking to me as a child and the death became an important theme in my mind then. But thinking about the death always brought me a stomachache. Almost at that same time, I was often alone and I enjoyed drawing by and for only myself.


There wasn't any particular reason why I started drawing. I began drawing things just as any other children of that age did. One day, a friend of mine introduced my drawings to my classmates. I really felt great about that and decided to become an artist. That was when I was seven, and a lot of friends showed interesting in my drawings from then on. I hoped to please my friends with my pieces. However, my tendency to ponder about death became my constant troublesome companion until I was around twenty.






Your work is undeniably positive, and your upcoming solo at Thinkspace is even titled "Negative Never Again." Are you generally a positive person? How are you able to keep your focus so inspiring, even when bad things occur daily in our world?


As everyone does, I have both negative and positive aspects. I learned and studied hard about the World Wars for years by myself. So I recognize some mad sides of human beings in my conceit.


The themes of my art were "Death" and "Psychopath" until around my early twenties. I seriously faced these dark aspects of the world and finally ended up having health problems from stress. At last, I had gotten to my edge and concluded, "it's enough." I then realized the Positive Energy and made it the theme of my art.




Your technical expertise is top-notch. Tell us about your process and how you go about deciding on a theme for a piece of work or show.


Art works are made by accident or chance. For example, I am interested in various things. And these things happen to work into a piece by chance. It's just like chemical reactions.


So I hope to get as many facts and materials as they come across. But I have never studied things to create my artworks. Materials and motifs in my pieces always come from my mind. If I study one thing and try to make a piece from that, the piece would be boring for me.




If you had to pick one artist to paint your portrait, who would you choose?


Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. They are the inventors of the Crop Circle. I am sure they are genuine artists.




Your color palate is always bright and diverse. What do you love about color so much?


I would like to make my works as waterfalls. Negative ions are always hanging all around waterfalls. Bright colors can make people smile like negative ions. And I hope my artworks emit positive energies.




Your characters come across as innocent, but they also clearly reference deeper issues, incorporating symbology and hidden meaning. Can you tell us about this?


Japanese culture has many symbols from the ancient. I have been strongly inspired by mysterious Japanese culture since I was a child. But I don't mean for my artworks to be symbolic. I don't make my pieces as mysteries or riddles on purpose. But the more I enjoy creating, the more representative my works become. I can’t ever explain enough about my artworks myself. Therefore I would like people to feel their own energies and powers from my works.



Yosuke Ueno ‘Negative Never Again’

New paintings, drawings and the debut of new sculptural works


Opening Reception: Friday, July 9th 7-11pm at Thinkspace Gallery


Yosuke will be in attendance all the way from Japan


Read our Back Talk interview with Yoskuke right here.



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