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Golden Age 2021 170x300cm

Golden Age 160x300cm 2021年


Takuya Yoshida (b,1986, Tokyo)


Yoshida expresses on canvas the feelings that arise from the experiences and memories of his time in Japan and the United States.


His canvas conveys a desire for peace and universal love, combining the sensibility of the Japanese kawaii (“cute”) pop culture he grew up in with the assured color and composition skills he cultivated at art school in the United States.


To keep this desire fresh on the canvas, Yoshida strives to complete his paintings in one go before his emotions subside. However, in the process of making a painting, he ends up overpainting dozens of times until he is satisfied. The creatures in his paintings may appear kawaii at first glance, but a closer look reveals distinctive textures and brushwork that evokes painters of the Ecole de Paris era. Regarding overpainting, Yoshida describes it as “an indispensable process for turning my ideas and expressions into universal paintings.”


The motifs that appear on Yoshida’s canvases include creatures with a somewhat lonesome appearance, evenings, nights, and skulls. These motifs continually appear among rather strange and awkward likenesses of people who strive to be strong in the face of the indescribable feelings of suffering and decay they face because they were born into this world.


Yoshida’s unique artistic vision may be described as the expression of this not-so-lighthearted subject matter in a unique and interesting way.


His paintings use non-realistic colors and creatures to express eternal themes that people must face, including the human-created boundaries of race, border, and gender, along with other boundaries such as Heaven and Hell. The world of Yoshida’s artistic vision, with its harmony of chaotic colors and compositions, is perhaps not an impossible alien world so much as a world of hope that can be realized.

Confronting solitude in Hokkaido in Japan’s rural north, Yoshida overpaints day after day, imagining a peaceful new landscape on the other side of the canvas.


Takuya Yoshida (b.1986, Tokyo)

Yoshida grew up in Saitama Prefecture, which borders Tokyo, until the age of 17.


Omiya City (now Saitama City) was within commuting distance of Tokyo and had one of the largest populations in Japan, with buildings, houses, and apartments filling the landscape. At that time, Yoshida was a tanned boy who spent time outside playing in the small woods and ditches at the corner of a residential area, searching for crawfish, tadpoles, and frogs and walking his dog. However, he stayed away from Kamo River, although it was close to his house. The river seemed to radiate a sinister energy, with its cloudy water and strange smell. Even little Yoshida could tell that absolutely no fish were swimming in it.


As a boy, he learned alpine skiing and swimming and gradually began participating in national competitions. Yoshida was never happier than when spending the weekend away from the city, skiing in the snow-covered mountains and enjoying nature. By his teen years, however, as he traveled back and forth between the city and countryside, he began to question whether people and nature coexisted well in Japanese cities. He also developed a rebellious attitude toward the education system, where students study to gain acceptance to a good university. At the age of 17, he decided to go to the United States to study skiing and enrolled at Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine.


Moving to the United States alone and experiencing barriers of language, race, and physique in sports, it is easy to become discouraged. Amidst the majestic nature of Maine, he began to grapple with troubling questions that had no answer: who am I? Where do I belong? It was then that he began to develop a fresh interest in American music and art.


He felt that art, which he could understand and appreciate as a foreigner even when it was created by strangers from another decade, century, or millennium, is borderless, transcending time, country, language, and other barriers. He began to see the strong potential of painting as a medium for expressing and conveying his feelings and thoughts and began experimenting with pencil drawings and other media.

After graduating high school, he took a break from skiing and discovered oil painting at Plymouth State University. Encountering the unique colors, smells, and techniques of oil paint, Yoshida was convinced that this was the medium he had been searching for. He studied oil painting at university and then deepened his studies at the graduate level at the New York Studio School. There, he received technical instruction in how to paint in a “painterly” manner and learned how to see the real world as it is and express it in paint.


After graduating from New York Studio School in 2013, he was awarded the Hohenberg Travel Prize and traveled to Italy for three months. There, he was captivated by art of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, especially the paintings of Gitto, Duccio, and Sasetta. He was impressed by the way the figures in the paintings were as large as the buildings, and the way they were rendered in a simplified manner. It seemed to Yoshida that these painters felt free to depict a world different from the real world. 


Another reason Yoshida was strongly attracted to the paintings of the early Renaissance was their use of gold leaf and other features they shared in common with the work of Japanese painters such as Tawaraya Sōtatsu and Ogata Kōrin. Following this experience, the motifs of Yoshida's paintings were further simplified, and the use of gold leaf and similar elements became more common.


Soon after, Yoshida’s US visa expired, and he reluctantly returned to Japan in 2014.


For the following two years, he worked in a small studio in Tokyo. However, in search of a more spacious studio, he moved north to Hokkaido, re-establishing himself in the same kind of majestic nature where he was first inspired to paint after pondering “who am I and where do I belong?” Three years later, a colorful, paradise-like artistic vision teeming with people and animals began to emerge in his plein air works created face-to-face with nature. At that time, he began exhibiting his work in and outside of Hokkaido. His solo exhibition at the Toyako Museum of Art, titled Ikimotachi-ga Yadoru Hanpu (“Canvas that Harbors Life”), broke the museum’s record for the highest number of visitors to a solo exhibition and prompted a visit and critique from contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara. He also attracted attention for a mural more than 20 meters long adorning the Super Kumagai Supermarket, completed as part of the “Roots & Arts Shiraoi” project. In 2022, he returned to the United States for a stint as a guest lecturer and artist in residence at the Phillips Exeter Academy. Now based in Hokkaido, he continues to be active both in Japan and abroad.



吉田は日本と米国で過ごした経験と記憶から湧き出た想いをキャンバス にぶつけます。 日本のポップカルチャー『Kawaii』に当然に囲まれながら成長し、そこで育んだ感覚と米 国のアートスクールで養った確かな色彩力、構成力で平和への願いと普遍の愛を画面中に 構成しています。 吉田は願いを新鮮なままキャンバス に残すために、気持ち覚めぬまま一気に描きあげる ことを目指します。しかし、制作のプロセスの中では納得の行くまでペイントオーバーを 何十回も繰り返しやっと完成する絵画は、一見『かわいい』らしく見える絵の中の生き物 たちも、やがて独特なテクスチャーと筆致によりエコール・ド・パリの時代の画家をも彷 彿させるペインタリーなものとしてうまれます。ペイントオーバーについて吉田は『自分 のアイディアや表現を普遍的な絵画に変える為には必要不可欠なプロセス』だと話しま す。 画面に描かれたモチーフは、少し寂しげな生き物たち、夕方、夜、そして頭蓋骨。これら はこの世界に生まれたが故に人々が向き合う苦悩とやがては朽ちていくいう言葉では言い 表せない感情を受け入れ強く生きていこうとする人々を何処か奇妙でぎこちない肖像とし て吉田のキャンバスに表れ続けます。 そんな軽快とは言い難い題材を独特な面白さで表現している事も吉田独自の世界観と言え るでしょう。 そういった人間が作り出した人種、国境や性別の枠、また天国や地獄などの境界線。 人々が向き合うべき永遠のテーマをを絵の中で現実離れした色彩と生き物たちで表現して います。混沌とした色彩と構図が調和している吉田の世界観はありえない異世界ではな く、実現し得る希望の世界なのかもしれません。 吉田は孤独と向き合いながら日本の北の田舎、北海道でキャンバスの向こう側に見える平 和で新しい景色を想像し毎日ペイントオーバーを繰り返しています。 

吉田卓矢 (1986年、東京生まれ)




そんな幼少期、アルペンスキーや水泳を習い、次第に全国大会などに出るようになります。週末に都会を離れスキーをしに雪山に行き、自然と触れ合う時間は吉田にとってかけがえのない楽しみだったそうです。しかし少年になる頃には、都会と田舎を行き来する中で、日本の都会では人と自然が上手く共存していないのではないかと疑問を持ちはじめます。また、良い大学に行くために勉強をするという教育システムなどにも反抗心を抱き、17歳でアメリカへの留学を決意し、スキーを学ぶためにアメリカのメイン州にあるCarravasette Vallery Acedemyに入学します。




そして、高校卒業後はスキーから離れ、Plymouth State University大学で油絵と出会います。

油絵の具の独特な色彩や匂い、技法全てに、自分が今まで探し求めていた素材だと吉田は確信し、そのまま油絵を大学で研究し、さらにNew York Studio Schoolの大学院で油彩を深く学びました。そこでは、ペインタリーな描き方を専門的に教わり、現実の世界を観たままに、かつ絵画的に表現する手法を身につけました。


2013年Studio School卒業後にはHohenberg Travel Prize賞を受賞し、3ヶ間イタリアを旅します。そこで中世やルネサンス初期の作品、特にGittoやDuccio, Sasettaの絵に強く感銘を受けます。それは画中の人物が建物と同じくらいの大きさだったり、人物表現も簡略化されて描かれていたりと、現実世界とは違う世界を自由に描いているように吉田には見えたからです。





そこから二年間、東京の小さなアトリエで制作しました。しかし、自然の中で過ごした「自分は何処の何者なのか」という、絵を描くきっかけともなった雄大な自然の中で身を再び置き、広いアトリエを求め北海道に移住します。3年経った頃に、自然と対峙しながら戸外制作した作品に、人物や動物などを配置したカラフルで楽園の様な世界観が現れ始め、その頃から北海道内外で作品を発表するようになります。洞爺湖芸術館での個展『いきもたちが宿る帆布』では同美術館個展では過去最高の入場者数を記録し、現代美術家の奈良美智氏が来館し、作品講評を受けます。また、白老文化芸術共創ではスーパー熊谷に20m以上ある壁画を完成させ注目を集めました。2022年にはPhillips Exeter Academy でゲスト講師と滞在制作などを行い再びアメリカの地に立ち、北海道を拠点に国内外で活動を続けています。





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