I have been intrigued by public places where everyone loses their identity and becomes just another face in a crowd. In particular, in train stations in Tokyo where a large number of people keep passing by, identity is unnecessary as everyone is a stranger. Two contradicting feelings come to mind in such a situation. The overwhelming number of passersby makes me feel somewhat lonely; however, at the same time, I feel relaxed and liberated by being anonymous in a crowd. I assume that what people feel in such environment depends on their background and mental state at that time. In a way, a public place serves as an opportunity to reconsider one’s identity by in turn losing it. Therefore, through depicting a girl’s search for a place to be, I have been trying to replicate the situation that brings various feelings and leads to a question of identity.
I mainly paint a girl and a group of “others” that never interact with each other. As there is no answer how she will end up, I would like to leave the interpretation of artwork open to each viewer. To achieve this, I take multiple approaches. First of all, I utilize blue as a filter to look at artwork itself through, because I consider it to be a unique color that can evoke both positive and negative feelings (e.g., soothing/relaxing vs. sad/depressing). I also use blue to remove the specificity and separate artwork itself from actual places, so that they look similar to somewhere each viewer may have been. Secondly, I keep the girl character emotionless and as simple looking as possible so that she can function like an avatar in video games that anyone can relate to. “Others” are depicted as mobs surrounding the girl. This way, she can be a starting point of interpretation.
Also, I mix some ideas inspired by social media where people are eager to control or even fake the image of themselves. They seem to pursue their identity by seeking approval from others by utilizing filters and decorations to modify photos and hide unnecessary elements. I consider their use of filters on social media to be their ways of searching identity thus can be incorporated into my artwork. I have started to place the girl character in theatrical-sets-like, more “staged” settings in blue and contrast her with the presence of a group of “others” depicted in a simple, stylized way. As I have been using dots inspired by decorative masking tapes and screen-tones from comic books, I keep using them as filters to hide unnecessary elements in the background, to mask things that can be ignored, and to drag attention to what should be focused on.
Therefore, what my artwork shows is a girl who looks for a place to be in a created world. How the blue filter and other elements work is totally up to each viewer, but I hope they can find somewhere to be in my paintings.