Makoto Tojiki is an artist and designer who uses light as his primary medium of expression. Tojiki, a 1998 industrial design engineering graduate of Kinki University, devoted his personal time to experimenting with light while employed as an industrial designer. In 2003, he launched his career as a full-time artist. Early on, Tojiki produced small works intended for production, but found this limiting and branched out into artistic images of objects constructed from light, as well as jewelry that involves light reflection, such as diamonds. His most recent “No Shadow” series is inspired by the interconnectedness of light and shadow and how they can be manipulated and controlled. I had an opportunity to sit down and ask a variety of questions about this innovative form of creativity. Read below for the full interview…
Why did you choose light as your primary raw material?
Makoto: I am attracted by light itself. The light cannot touch it to exist there. It’s like an atmosphere. I think that these characteristics are good.
In order to cast a vivid shadow, you bright light needs to be cast. How are you able to reveal the reality of the form in normal diffused light?
Makoto: I want to emphasize the different side of objects, not the obvious parts. I molded it by light, but now I want to express light in a shadow. If there is not darkness, the light lacks existence and it is mutually related, in fact, after all. When I use normal diffused light, these are particularly important, which control the shade. The light part will be keys.
What kind of research do you involve yourself in, in being able to create a good application that suits both industry and education?
Makoto: I am interested in space and the field of physics. It will be a pleasure to think of what is not yet elucidated. It is a fact, that the law of physics does not have an exception. Specifically, I am interested in the effect that an electromagnetic wave including the light brings.
It has been almost 10 years since you established MAKOTO TOJIKI DESIGN. Have you achieved what you wanted in the first decade of its fruition or is there still a lot of projects that you haven’t had a chance to tackle yet?
Makoto: I always pursued new expression methods during the last decade. However, I tended to focus much on technique too much. Of course, new expression methods and technique is important, but I strengthened it more after that, because I think that it’s most important “what I express“. I want to make efforts in sales more in the future. This is never a meaning to neglect originality and creativity.
In other words it is important to invest in the next work without sacrificing originality and creativity. The design aims at the manufacture more, and the pure expression aims at the domain of the art more.
You live in Japan’s largest incorporated city. Does this create a challenge in your work being in a central location of designers, creatives, and engineers? Or do you view it as a good place to network and showcase your work?
Makoto: I demand a place suitable for more creative activity. As you know, because Japan has high rent prices, and the area is narrow, looking for a place suitable for production is difficult. A suitable place, I would say — Large space, and no noises, adjacent roads for access to an international airport, etc. Unfortunately, I do not have such an environment now. I think that the city where I live in now is not suitable for such a condition. It costs too much money. Japan is never a country with the understanding for an artist.
Another creative outlet for you is jewelry making and furniture design. How were you able to dive into this market as well? Did you always have an interest in these areas of design?
Makoto: In the days of a student, I did not have many interests other than the product design. However, I was convinced that I could show the creativity of my own experience regardless of a field. In that sense, I think “creation” is possible (e.g., a sentence and a picture), but unexpected, to design form.
Are diamonds a difficult material to work with? Can manipulating light through a diamond achieve surprising results?
Makoto: In fact, I think that I yet do not completely understand the brightness of jewelry and the diamond. It is a very profound world. Because it’s not cheap for experimenting, further time will be necessary for this material to get a surprising result. Unfortunately, I cannot give up the surprising result. I am still studying it.
Do you have any favorite Asian films? Have any directly influenced your work?
Makoto: Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryō no tsubo / Directed by Sadao Yamanaka in 1935. Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Chungking Express! A metaphorical expression method and a visual technique and sense of speed. When I make something, the expression balance of these movies serves as a reference very much.
You stated that sometimes an object appears differently from how we remember it to be. When you create a piece of work, do you expect it to be interpreted many different ways by the viewer? Or perhaps a universal observation by your onlookers?
Makoto: It depends on an experience of my own. To see a book and pictures, paint, these including the art object, there is the moment when every world is connected through the view of the author. This sense is unforgettable. When I discovered something common, I am very glad. I, myself, want to make it as a creator and I think that I want the person who looked to feel it.
Do you normally work with compact light sources? They process beings by generally casting shadows because light goes in straight lines and most objects are opaque. How do you begin your creative process?
Makoto: Because I escape from how to make general lighting equipments, I begin by understanding about “the light itself to handle” and the matching with a theme and the concept that I want to express. When these elements become equal, I begin to make it.
Lastly, what kind of ideas or future projects are you working on for the remainder of the year?
Makoto: The conventional work had many direct shapes, but I want to do it in a little more impressive expression with the next product (like an atmosphere). In other words, it’s existed there like the point where a focus of the view did not match, but was absentminded. I repeat an experiment to express this.
Want to keep tabs on Makoto’s work? Visit the official site below: