Interviews | December 26, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Môme Assano

Interview: Môme Assano
Luca Curci
talks with Môme Assano during the 18th edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Môme Assano grew up in Hashima, a small city in Gifu Prefecture located on the outskirts of Nagoya, Japan. Growing up, Môme attended Catholic High School, followed by two years of study at a Zen temple. Upon becoming a young man, Môme headed to Tokyo where he spent time working as a designer and illustrator with an advertising company. After a few years in Tokyo, Môme moved to Paris, France where he spent the next 6 years working as a designer in fashion-related textiles. Upon his return from Paris to Tokyo, he launched his “môme ASSANO” brand, which gained national distribution through companies working primarily in the fashion industry. In 2000, he relocated his atelier from Tokyo back to his hometown, Hashima City. Shortly after that, he established a private gallery within his studio. Currently, Môme is holding an exhibition of paintings called “The Traveling Painting Project” both in Japan and internationally. This year 2023, marks Môme’s 45th anniversary working as a designer and painter.

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Image courtesy of Môme Assano

Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
ôme Assano – Well, I was first educated in a Catholic High school, which is very rigorous in its religious teachings. I then spent time studying Zen Buddhism, which has a very different focus, more on mindfulness and living in the moment. I guess this gave me the ability to see life from different sides. But I think the greatest influence in my life came from my time in Paris. Paris is a city that lives and breathes art. I met many artists and free-thinkers there. It was a very exciting time for me. Artistically, it gave me a feeling of being completely free.

LC – What is art for you?
MA –
Art is life itself. Art is the happiness of living in the present and being able to express myself – my thoughts, my feelings, my visions. Art is a form of storytelling.

LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
MA –
I don’t know if my art deals with anything that would be called a “serious issue” – I’m not trying to address anything that might be considered serious on the world stage. My style is more whimsical and light-hearted. I want to offer people an escape from some of the serious things we face every day. Along those lines, I’d like to travel the world with my paintings. This is part of my “Traveling Painting Project” both here in Japan and internationally.

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Image courtesy of Môme Assano

LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
MA –
It’s very satisfying to finally see something through to completion. I want to feel like my drawings are talking. It makes me happy to think that the people who see my pictures feel like they were being talked to; like the picture was speaking to them directly.

LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
MA –
My latest collection of paintings is a series I call “Homo Ornamentus”, or “Man Adorned”. Each painting represents the desire that human beings have to seek things that make them happy and decorate themselves in a celebration of life. I use a range of materials including such things as acrylics and ink. I apply these to a very special paper, available only in Japan. Frankly, I think it produces an excellent and unique result.

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
MA –
My inspiration comes from traditional ornamental styles and patterns from around the world. I draw from things that have been passed down from an era when there were no borders; I look for design motifs and other things that have a fun and harmonious feeling. I hope to surround people with beauty, so they can come together and continue to live in peace.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
MA –
I felt the exhibition was wonderful. Venice is a very inspiring city – art is everywhere! In the architecture, the museums, the galleries, in the fashions – even in the food!

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Image courtesy of Môme Assano

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MA –
I thought the exhibit was very well managed. And I very much appreciated the thoughtfulness of the staff; everyone was so kind and responsive. It was wonderful.

LC – Did you enjoy working with us?
MA –
Yes, very much so. And I had a great time at the opening party too!

LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
MA –
It seems like a great base for transmitting art of the world. I wish you all the best with your future plans.

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Image courtesy of Môme Assano

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