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Painter Yuri Toda "Invisible Sides of People / Diversity of People"-ARTFULL Interview

Will I die here as it is? Can you manage to find an exit and survive?


Q. What made you want to become a writer / painter?

When I was young, I sat on my dad's lap and watched him make woodblock prints for a long time all day long. And when I realized it, I wanted to be a painter.

Q. Are there any writers or people who have influenced your activities?

I've been influenced by everyone I've met in my life, but to put it bluntly, I might be a mother.

Q. Can you tell us if there are any setbacks or turning points in your life as a writer?

After I entered Tama Art University, I felt that the canvas was narrow and I drew only murals.

When I was three years old, my teacher, Toshimi Koizumi, advised me, "I can't do anything like this, so why don't you go back to the canvas?" And almost a year after that, I couldn't draw at all. It was a slump that was just like a picture (laughs)

No matter how strongly I want to draw, the brush stops when I face the white canvas. In the words of Mr. Koizumi at that time, it was a "serious symptom."

However, I managed to reach my current style with my graduation work a year later and was able to draw on the canvas. It was a very tough year, but it was an unavoidable time as a writer.























Exhibition View
Copyright © 2021 Yusuke Toda, All rights reserved.


Q. What kind of transition did you arrive at in your current style?

As I mentioned earlier, I arrived at my current style in my graduation work six years ago. Until then, I was drawing quite different pictures (or murals).

At that time, I was vaguely wondering, "Is it okay as it is?", And with the advice of the teacher in charge, I headed from the wall to the canvas. I was prepared to throw away everything I had accumulated in the three years up to the third grade, so I desperately headed to the canvas.

I was wondering if I would die here or find an exit and survive. I was about to graduate a year later, so I was in the drainage team. I think that situation eventually led to the establishment of the current style.



Diversity is spreading within me


Q. The addition of vibrant colors and freehand white lines makes it very enjoyable to see. What does this white line mean?

The white line expresses "one side of a person that you can't usually see". It can be rephrased as "human diversity."

The reason was that my mother died of illness when I was in my fourth year of undergraduate school. It wasn't emotional, but through my mother's care, I realized that there were multiple personalities hidden in a person.

We usually live with self-regulation such as "working self" and "student self". But when I get home, I have a different relationship, and I have a relationship with my friends and lovers. If you expand it a little further, you should be hiding "your childhood self" and "adolescent self" just by forgetting it.



























"Happy Things"
Copyright © 2021 Yusuke Toda, All rights reserved.

I think there are many moments when I feel that kind of thing even when I look at SNS. In that sense, it is easy to notice these multiple personalities in modern times, and in a sense it can be said that we are accustomed to such situations. Diversity is also spreading within me.

Such aspects and diversity of people who are not normally seen are expressed "positively" beyond the boundaries of "positive / negative", "good / evil", and "reason / wild".

Q. Do you have any common "themes" for creating your work?

Again, "the invisible side of people and the diversity of people" is the theme that applies to all works.



This theme is like a basso continuo, and the pictures that appear from time to time change little by little.

The last solo exhibition "Dreams" (June 2021) focused on the happy side of people. In the background, infectious diseases have spread worldwide since 2020. As the virus spreads, there is a feeling of obstructive air all over the world, and I feel that the tendency to attack and suppress others has become stronger.

But that's why I proposed to imagine the good side of people and look at them. I wanted to present a happy world view because of this era.

Q. You said that you may also use Photoshop at the time of production, but how do you make your work?

At first, draw on paper with a pencil. When the image has been formed to some extent, I will do something like a rough sketch on the PC, but at that time I will use Photoshop.























Copyright © 2021 Yusuke Toda, All rights reserved.


My painting has a layered part, so I will overlay various images on the portrait. Therefore, after elaborating the composition until I feel comfortable, I finally move on to the main picture. Eventually, the shape will change, add or subtract on the main picture.

After all, in this picture, it becomes a thick substance, so it is often understood only after drawing it.

Q. Is there anything you usually keep in mind to get inspiration for your work?

I'm thinking about painting all the time. In that sense, it may be inspired by everything you see, hear, and read.

Perhaps because of that, new ideas are constantly coming up, so production can't keep up (laughs).


Geometric patterns that are difficult for human hands


Q. I heard that you learned silkscreen when you stayed in New York in 2018. How did you meet and why did you decide to incorporate it into your work?

In New York, I was an assistant at a local artist's studio. At that time, the studio was using silkscreen, and my senior staff taught me how to make homemade prints (making prints by myself, not by a trader), so I introduced it to my studio in Tokyo as it was.

Silk screen has the advantage of being able to express geometric patterns that are difficult for human hands to express.

I wanted to put it in my painting. Actually, when I put it in my painting, it naturally changed to a silhouette of a person or an abstract wave expression instead of a geometric pattern.

Q. What was the hardest part of incorporating silkscreen?

The homemade plate refers to the exposure time when making the plate.

It may be similar to developing a photo. If the light is applied too long or too short, it will fail. I had the most trouble with this part where the second unit says things.

Q. Please tell us about your usual atelier.

I have my own studio in Adachi-ku, Tokyo. I used to do an artist run space here, but now I use it only as a studio for various reasons.

It's large enough to be used alone, and I spend most of my day working here. After the teleworking of the world progressed, even work meetings began to be done from the studio via zoom and Skype, and there was almost no outing. In a sense, the meeting was also a change of pace that doubled as going out, but ... (laughs)



The works will take me to a new stage


Q. Is there anything you would like to challenge as a writer in the future?

If you say "I want to challenge", you may feel that your shoulders are strong ... (laughs)

Painting is always there to really breathe. Take a good look at the world and put it into what you want to express. While repeating it carefully every day, there is a moment when I suddenly think, "Well, I might be able to express this." Well, most of the time it fails (laughs)





























Copyright © 2021 Yusuke Toda, All rights reserved.


However, if I repeat such things all the time, sometimes I can draw a slightly different picture with a wonderful idea. If you repeat it all the time, you will end up with a shaped canvas or a three-dimensional work.

And those works (results) take me to a new stage. In that sense, I think every day is a series of small challenges.

Q. Lastly, Artful is a medium for young artists. Please give us a few words for young artists who will be active as writers in the future.

If you meet at an exhibition somewhere, please feel free to contact us. I like talking about painting and art.

Q. If you have any plans for future exhibitions or activities, please do so.

I will be leaving the Taiwanese gallery for ART TAIPEI in October. It will be exhibited in Japan in early autumn in Tokyo. I look forward to working with you.



























Yuri Toda
Copyright © 2021 Yusuke Toda, All rights reserved.

In My Head Happy things.jpg
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