Juxtapoz

In the Magazine: Hajime Sorayama

November 25, 2014

The following is an excerpt from the December 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine, on sale now.

Hajime Sorayama's work has always seemed ahead of its time. Since the 1970s, echoing an aura of futuristic seduction, his half-human, half-robot gynoid figures reflect a vision of fantasy, predicting what lies ahead. His range of achievements are equally spectacular, with unprecedented recognition from major museums and a variety of collectors, clients and experiences so vast that they too seem otherworldly. However, like many defined creatives, Sorayama possesses a heavily weighted level of self-criticism and drive to fulfill the highest levels of personal expectation. This desire is essential within the passionate mind of an artist, when the requirement of oneself is not only to produce but to survive. No matter the level of achievements, this continued effort to pursue the greatest work remains and is unrelentless. Sorayama's lifetime of work and achievements in his profession has proven, if not just to himself, but to the world at large, that he is truly a master of his domain, and his extensive array of renderings and provocative portrayals will continue to sustain and arouse. —Hannah Stouffer

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Hannah Stouffer: How would you define beauty?
Hajime Sorayama: I don’t know what beauty means yet. I don’t think we can understand each other truly. However, I do know that the greater the understanding and resonance I receive from other people, the more can I affirm myself as an artist.

Do you have any exciting stories from your years illustrating for Penthouse and Playboy that you would like to share?
I do have a few, actually. Penthouse started to run the section called “Great American Pissing Contest” after it published the image of a woman pissing on an expensive sofa. When the big Canadian distributer stopped importing that issue of Penthouse because of excessive S&M scenes, a movie director who is also my friend blessed me by saying, “Congratulations, country boy! You became famous.” This was decades ago…

Do you have any particular models who are your favorites to draw?
No, I don’t. I make changes to the faces and bodies of the models I'm working from. I’m an orthopedic surgeon and mad scientist of sorts.

What is your favorite part of the female anatomy to draw?
It depends on the concepts of a particular painting. However, my lustful fans love to see mucusy places, so I try to draw them carefully. It’s a part of my fan services.

What is your opinion of contemporary pin-ups compared to those of the ‘60s and ‘70s? A lot has changed since the early days of Playboy. What has been your favorite era?
I have to say my favorite era will be the next era. Please sit back and expect to see a good time that will unfold in the next 10 or 20 years.

What have been some of the stranger opportunities that you’ve been approached with? I imagine that in your line of work, there have been many.
I occasionally receive orders of scatology, Lolita sex, necrophilia, etc. but for some reason, my fingers refuse to draw them. Even if I tried, the paintings often end up in the trash. I feel relieved to know that I still hold societal or personal morals, rather than to regret executing them. 

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