Yota Okuyama – pencil on paper
Drawing and doing illustrations is something Yota Okuyama always has been doing. As he studied fashion design in Japan – a pencil and paper was always near him, continuously drawing and exploring style and method. By now this has developed into a distinct expression where delicate and fragile lines leaves the viewer with a clear sharp impression.
Yota Okuyama – Pencil paper
After following Yotas work for a couple of years now – I got together with him on a sunny afternoon to reflect and talk about his work.
Which connections or differences between fashion and art would you say is present in your work?
I studied fashion therefore my vocabulary and technique originates from fashion design and clothes-making. Since moving to Berlin (3 years ago) I haven’t been creating or designing clothes, my focus and activities have slowly turned towards visual arts.
As I studied fashion – I learned the techniques of fashion illustration, I have always enjoyed drawing very much. I can’t remember a point in time where I haven’t been drawing.
Arriving in Berlin – with no job, no knowledge of the culture or language and living in a tiny room was quite hard and challenging for me. The experience was none the less important for me as a creative person. During this time I was extremely productive – made a lot of drawings; you don’t need a lot of space, materials or money to make drawings.
I was then invited by some friends to do a solo presentation in a project space in Neukölln. I decided to do an installation using fashion elements that mixed my black & white drawings with objects made of gauze paper. It was an experiment, and I found this experience of presenting my work in a white cube environment very refreshing and positive.
Several requests to participate in further exhibitions in Berlin followed and my work evolved. I still want to explore the interdisciplinary field in fashion and art, keep the momentum going, develop my style and see where the process takes me.
Below Yota Okuyama – Installation sketch and the installation view
Your background is fashion – what made you decide to try something different?
I am still passionate about fashion and still want to work with fashion at some point but in order to do fashion you need an infrastructure (production team, investors, PR, distribution, etc). I put that aside for the moment. I came to Berlin in order to try different things before going into fashion. I thought that in order to know what I really want to do I needed to try several things before. Besides, Berlin seemed to be a good place to do that. This combination of fashion and art seems to me to be closely connected and as I came to Berlin it felt more accessible – combining the two compared to the possibilities in Japan.
I have a lot of ideas and want to create several things/forms; whether the result – the final product will be an object, a sculpture or a dress is not so relevant for me. It is not relevant in the way that I actually do not divide my work so much in art or fashion; it is all ‘my work’.
What is the biggest change for you when you are now moving into the field of finer art?
When you do fashion, you have to take several things into consideration – such as cost, trends, colors, season, etc. You have to think about the customer and you are not really 100% free to create. On the other hand, as a visual artist, you can really experiment, be completely free and do whatever you want. I do like both situations but at the moment I would like to experiment and be free. I believe that this process is important for me and my future career.
You can enjoy delicious cake and Yotas work at the Café Iberio in Schöneberg, Berlin. Upcoming show in Prenzlauerberg, Nothaft Seidel Café in collaboration with Fabrik der Kulturen. The opening is on the 20th of July from 2pm – 10pm.
Want to see more of Yota’s Work – website here http://yotaokuyama.tumblr.com/
Above two of Yota Okuyamas newer works
These illustrations are absolutely fascinating.
Yes – if you ever get the chance to see some of Yotas work – you shouldn’t hesitate – the degree of detail is breathtaking