I love encountering people with a strong work ethic. If you look up workaholic in the dictionary, Motomichi’s face will show up. Motomichi is an artist from Brooklyn, NY, whose Japanese roots still echo through in his character designs. He makes animations, flash games, paintings and he performs as a VJ. Using his unique style and elements, combined with a minimalist approach to design, Motomichi creates powerful visual statements about the world we live in. Check below to read our 1-on-1 interview as we explore his world…
Tell my readers a little bit about growing up in Japan.
Motomichi: I was born in Tokyo but due to my father’s profession my family moved around a lot. We lived in 6 different cities including Yokohama, Nagoya, Chiba by the time I turned 17. Because of that I got to experience two different sides of Japan, one is very urban and hectic environment like Yokohama and the other is country side with lots of nature and very slow paced environment.
Explain your new art project which involves people tattooing your designs onto their bodies.
Motomichi: It’s about taking the idea of owning a piece of art and the commitment between collector and artist a step further by asking people to tattoo my designs on their bodies. The design you tattoo will be used once only by you and you will also own the original art work of the design. How the design will be tattooed such as size, color, location etc can be flexible. Most importantly the participants establish an intimate and personal relationship to the artwork they like and choose. If anyone is interested in participating it [at the bottom of the interview] below is the link of the project and please email me.
Run us through your creative process on your animation.
Motomichi: I normally start off by sketching my ideas in my sketch book. Sometimes just notes of ideas I have. I also go through my old sketchbooks to see if there are any drawings or ideas that I can develop further. I tend to draw characters in the beginning stage of projects. For example if I want to work on a video installation work I would start drawing a monster, then I develop the concept around it.Please enter the url to a Vimeo video.
Once I have a solid drawing laid out in my sketch book I’ll either scan it or just redraw it in Illustrator. From there if it’s animation I make storyboards, then start animating it in Flash. If it’s non-animated project I work on layout and composition of the image, then finalize it.
I am aware that you provide lectures and workshops. How important is it to you that the world see your art?
Motomichi: It’s very important. My passion is to communicate my ideas to people through my art work. In other words if my art work only stays in my studio and nobody else sees it it remains incomplete.
I saw some of your VJ videos, and it seems like a real thrill. Is it hard to balance animation, painting and VJing?
Motomichi: Actually not so difficult to balance once you get used to it. Each media has different technical requirements and once you get used to that it will become one another media to work with.Please enter the url to a Vimeo video.
Did you grow up watching anime? If so, which are some of your favs?
Motomichi: Yes, I did. My favorite ones are Space Cobra (I think it’s called “Space Adventure Cobra” in English), Gundam and Tomorrow’s Joe.
It is quite obvious Japanese pop culture is influenced in your work. But, why do you use just red, black, white, and grey?
Motomichi: Actually, I use three colors without grey.
I think of these three colors not necessarily as colors, but as elements. If you have black and white flashing back and forth, it is very annoying, but it creates a distinct feeling. Black is the darkest level and white is the lightest. That’s the flashiest thing you can see. When you have black and white right next to each other, that’s your maximum contrast. Everything is defined as much as possible. Then, when you have red, it creates a feeling that is overwhelming. I like that very raw and intense feeling: the tension and the balance in the colors.
Thank you for your time, I know you are a man with not enough hours in the day, so we appreciate you stopping by!
Motomichi: Pleasure is mine!!
Interested in learning more about Motomichi Nakamura’s work or would like to participate in his tattoo project, check out his cookie crumb trail below: