Interview: Masaki Hirokawa
Luca Curci talks with Masaki Hirokawa during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Born in Toyama, Japan in 1981. Started web design and programming self-study in 1997 at the age of 16. Went to Tokyo to work as a web designer/DTP operator in 1999. Got involved in the development of mission-critical systems as a system engineer/programmer in 2002 at the age of 21. Switched to working as a freelancer, working on web design, programming, graphic design and producing interactive movies in 2005. Won the Grand Prize for the MTV SO-ZO Competition “Web Screensaver Category” in 2006. Authored multiple reference books while submitting works to graphic design magazines in 2008. Got involved in the development of multiple video games as a technical artist in 2011. Went independent to start a smartphone app business in 2013. Developed an app that was eventually downloaded more than 20 million times and is still being used by more than 3 million users worldwide. Returned to creating graphic design, participating in exhibitions in Italy, Spain, the UK, Greece and more in 2019. Was awarded the “ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2021” by ITSLIQUID Group in 2022. Continue to create graphic design while managing smartphone apps.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Masaki Hirokawa – I am currently working on a new graphic art project. Until now, I concentrated more on conceptual expression having a message rather than on visual expression. However, I am now working on creating Oriental works blending ancient and modern cultures while keeping in mind the pure beauty of visual expressions and trends. At the same time, I also work hard on smartphone apps. While learning about more beautiful structuring and the ever-changing, universal ideas of beauty, I incorporate them into my graphic art.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
MH – I think that the noise found in analog photographs gives flat digital photographs a time axis. In my graphic artworks, I also apply noise invisible to the human eye. However, when creating my artwork, I always have a desire to go beyond the three dimensions in a spatial sense. While creating artwork, I proceed while paying attention to minute color tones. However, I gradually lose my ability to perceive color information and can only discern the amount of light leaking from the flat surface of the artwork. I can only recognize it as “light,” but perhaps in a multidimensional world, light can take many forms.
LC – How is your creative process?
MH – For me, creative activities have been the happiness of my soul. Ever since childhood, I have wondered about my own existence. Why was I born into this world, and where is the place of my consciousness in the vastness of the universe? For example, the border between my fingers and the surrounding space is like a white, transparent membrane. There are many such wondrous things. Ever since I became old enough to understand things, I have wondered every day why I was born and why I am here. However, I inevitably learned the answer from the recent world situation. Creative activities and art are essential in this world.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
MH – I try to put everything into words as much as possible. However, there are naturally people in this world with values that cannot accept what I express. I believe art is something that is conveyed directly from one human body to another, and from one soul to another without the use of words. If all people could have a medium of communication other than words, they would not have to struggle to have their hearts and minds be understood. Much less fight each other with military weapons, instead, respect each other’s existence more and love each other beyond national borders and cultural values.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
MH – Displayed in this exhibition is the image titled, “The Justice of Equality” which I created after the shocking riots in the U.S. in 2020. The Japanese title is “Heiwa” (Peace). This work has somehow been regarded as related to a political movement and had not seen the light of day. Since this is the first time for me to display this image and the world is at such a critical juncture right now, I have special feelings toward this exhibition. Thank you very much for this precious opportunity.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MH – I think that the ITSLIQUID Group features not only visually beautiful works, but also works that are heartfelt and heartwarming with a human touch. I can see that they select works of pure beauty from artists around the world. Therefore, they are providing very precious opportunities to artists worldwide.