Kazuki Takamatsu was born in Sendai, Japan in 1978. He attended the Department of Oil Painting at Tohoku University of Art & Design, where graduated in 2001.
Takamatsu’s depth-mapping technique and his intimate language are inspired by Japanese Manga girls. His works are as unique as painstakingly intricate, fusing classic drawing, airbrush and gouache painting with computer graphics. His Lolita's emerge from the dark abyss, and take shape in a series of coloured layers to review a mystic light and the traditional symbology through the highly detailed decorations of Japanese traditional symbols. Through his paintings you can catch a glimpse of the conversation between the realistic human feelings and emotions, and the unrealistic expectations that us human beings have of each other.
You can find a reflection of yourself in the current state of the world, Takamatsu combines classical approaches such as drawing, airbrush and gouache with computer graphics. In his paintings he artistically documents the feelings and emotions of the human being, thereby reflecting the state of our culture. Within his most popular black and white series , the artist through the dissolution of light and shadow, refers to the battle between good and evil, the renunciation of colors means to amplify the opposites and enhance the lightness of the soul standing out against the absence of light. In the artist most recent and exclusive series we find two colors Red and Blu, both these colored series are born after a profound and careful choice that aims to share the deepest symbolism of the color as elements and message to unravel in his pictorial narratives. The red is in fact associated to birth, fire and energy of creation.
The Blue takes inspiration from both the discovery and wide use of this color pigment back in mid 19th century by the impressionist artists. The Blue resonates with the Spirituality, the introspection, the ocean and the power of nature.
Takamatsu exhibits his work internationally and with Dorothy Circus Gallery since 2013.
What is the inspiration behind the "Lingering Thoughts of the Cyber Punk World" exhibition and what do you intend to convey through your works?
The internet in reality is just a big storage of data and information, although you can erase the idea of the information or data, you will never be able to delete completely every piece of data that relates. Everything that has ever been uploaded on the internet and that will be uploaded, will always leave some type of permanent tracks or bits and pieces of data regarding it. I imagine it works exactly the same as the human mind, a big storage of ideas and feelings of which we choose what to keep and what to forget, but unfortunately just like in the Internet, whatever we want to forget always leaves a mark in our brain that can be found.
The way I think of these forgotten/erased data and memories is like a wandering ghost that roams in this unknown subspace waiting to find its way out into the surface. Each one of these ghost dragging an emotion or feeling appointed to them, the moment they were “created”. In the case of these wandering ghosts in the internet, we have no way of knowing why those were removed from the database but they still have some lingering connections to the original posts and carry a sort of invisible power. When I started thinking this way about deleted articles and information from the interweb, I was fascinated by this invisible power the “ghosts” carry, connecting the past with the present, and started imagining fragments of contents carried by ghosts portraying their residual thoughts in the form of artworks.
Can you tell us more about the Symbolism used in your works and what it refers to?
The motifs used in my artworks are symbols that carry significant meaning and can be interpreted in various ways. Some, like the halo and the chrysanthemum, have spiritual associations, while others, like the doll and the fog, represent abstract concepts like closed-mindedness and uncertainty. The goldfish and the chrysanthemum are both artificially bred organisms for the purpose of appreciation, and the skull represents death and what lies within. Horns and animal ears can symbolize a rejection of humanity, while a doll can represent a person who has closed their mind to new ideas. The clouds below represents a sense of not knowing where you are, while a vortex can represent thoughts that don't cohere or a dissatisfaction with the world. Decorations can carry a sense of history and culture, while a speaker can represent information that is forced upon us from the outside. A gas mask is a tool for protection from the outside, while chains can represent strong restrictions. A fence can be an enclosed safety zone or a forced space where one is not allowed to express their will, and cloth that clings to the body can represent a bondage of kindness. The wave can symbolize strength or a presence that washes away everything, while symmetry can represent a desire for rationality but not necessarily perfection. Letters can convey messages from the heart, while flames represent passion, anger, and determination, and flowers can represent beauty and hope. Overall, these motifs are rich with meaning and can be used to convey a range of emotions and ideas in various forms of creative expression.
Can you tell us how you decided to use the elaborate frames Halo shaped to convey the theme of Time ?
When making the frames, I kind of wanted to use the idea of all the traces of data in the internet that were left after something being deleted, as a container for the wandering ghost. The frame is constructed from the many fragments of the particular character in the artwork, having taken inspiration from traditional motifs from any countries and eras, I wanted to represent the fluidity of time. Time flows differently for every species and for the “wandering ghosts”, time flows extremely slowly, therefore while this artwork was made in the present, the character of the ghost will leave fragments of the past which can be used to create its own frame.
Do you believe through art people can travel through time does it apply to past and to future either?
Art has been since forever one of the ways to express oneself. Since the beginning of time we can find traces of arts from different cultures and civilizations. By looking at the infinite amount of art made in the past we can figure out many thing through the analysis of details in said artworks and while considering this we can look at the progress of art throughout history as a way to live the eras we can never experience as humans living in the present, and with the addition of simple analysis of symbols, art can be seen as a futuristic time machine made for traveling to the past.
While there are people and machines that to an extent can predict the future, with the help of “trends”, I believe that the art of the future should be left to tomorrow’s artist since art is continuously progressing and the future is made up of countless possibilities.
What is lingering in your memory and what are the thoughts you feel personally lost in the cyberspace?
When you think about memories, they are simply just “events” that have happened to you in the past, memories do not start as memories, they become memories after we store events into our Short Term Memory which contains memories you forget very quickly, and by repeating those events in your mind these events go from the Short Term Memory into the Long Term Memory which contain all of our memories. Just like it works for us, we upload digital thoughts one at a time in the cyberspace, and they become permanent “tenants” as they keep being sought after by other people.
In my case there is a lot of thoughts that I uploaded in the cyberspace, some can be found, but others have been deleted due to them not being looked for over a long period of time or due to a forced closure. I believe the same works for some memories, some events that became memories have been erased from my mind since a long time as passed from when they happened, and some other memories I personally wanted to erase, for various reasons.
How do you see the relationship between time, technology, and identity, and what is the role of art in representing this complex relationship?
It has been an age old debate whether to give Artificial Intelligence basic human right, which also poses the question of what it means to be a human. If you consider a human someone that has a form of intelligence superior to that of animals, why shouldn’t AI be given those rights?
Human being have been developing for a very long time, and just recently we have started creating “life” in the cyberspace, in the form of Artificial Intelligence. In this newly discovered cyberworld, laws and rules don’t exist yet, because there is no need for those as currently AI is still being managed by us human beings, but once technology reaches a high enough peak in which AI will be self sufficient, I believe laws and order will be fundamental for preventing the cyberworld if being in absolute chaos. I believe that just as humans have become more civilized and rules were established in the real world, once they will be applied to the world of intelligent technology, we will be able to witness the creation of an new unknown cyberspace.
With this exhibition I want to record this journey to the unknown without any bias as straightforwardly as I can.
What is your main goal when creating your works, and how do you intend to stimulate the imagination of the viewers with "Lingering Thoughts of the Cyber Punk World"?
My goal for this exhibition was to create artwork that was able to represent the moment we live in, therefore invite all the viewers to try and recall all the memories they have tried to forget and try to become the embodiment of the artworks, and figure out what type of content the work has been based on.