Interview: Masaki Hirokawa
Luca Curci talks with Masaki Hirokawa, honourable mention of Itsliquid International Contest – 11th edition.
Masaki Hirokawa is one of the honourable mentions of the 11th Itsliquid International Contest. Masaki Hirokawa’s wide range of activities includes graphic design, smartphone app development, interactive movie production, and website development. They also write technical articles on graphic design for graphic design magazines and reference books. 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, and 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 is art for you?
Masaki Hirokawa – For me, art is a form of tribute to the divine. As the divine is a perfect being, we only have access to the five senses of our physical body and the experiences of our various human emotions. I believe that the divine is innate to all forms of life, but all beings are also collectively distinct from the divine. The purpose of art is not to bring us to or interfere with this higher dimension, but rather to attune ourselves to the higher dimension and convey any messages that we receive in an honest way. I hope that these messages can herald peace and well-being in the world.
LC – What are you currently working on?
MH – I am currently working on the concept of a new work of art. In the area of mobile apps, I have been adopting a variety of new styles of development and marketing while harnessing the knowledge that I have gained from system construction and data analysis to gradually enhance the structural aspects and work efficiency of my works of art.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MH – I often find inspiration for my new works when I am in a daze and not focused on anything in particular, as well as when I am walking around town or visiting shrines and temples.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
MH – Since I was in my teens, I have been involved in web design, DTP design, core system development, interactive movie production, game production, and app development. I actually had very little time for graphic design. I mostly spent my time working simultaneously on various tasks across different fields, and by developing an ability to multi-task from this challenging work, I was able to amplify my different capabilities and create a synergistic effect between them. Among the greatest influences on my work have been the words of people I encountered through these various experiences, the wisdom I have inherited from them, as well as the countless simple tasks that I have repeatedly undertaken with my own body and senses. Everyone I have met until now has given me tremendous emotional support and played a part in pushing me beyond my limits.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
MH – I believe that the role of art in today’s society is to serve as a keen observer of the chaotic world around us and capture it as part of our history. This is what art can do to preserve a record for future generations so that mankind does not repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I also believe that art has the power to heal the mind of those who are still tortured by grave mistakes that they have made in the past and offer them hope that allows them to move on with their lives. As the gap between science, mysticism, and philosophy has narrowed greatly in the modern age, I believe that contemporary art is in the process of achieving greater heights alongside mass psychology through the infrastructure network that has extended throughout the world.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
MH – I can somehow create a work of art with my hands whenever my mind and body are fully harmonized, but when my mind is not where it needs to be, I cannot create any art no matter how hard I try. In such times, I often limit myself to honing my technical skills. As it is in my nature to shy away from bold and flamboyant techniques, it takes a lot of effort for me to add depth to my works through the accrual of many subtle variations in color and tone.