Q. Welcome to u1 gallery. We are so grateful to be able to interview you.We can never thank you enough. Could you introduce yourself and your works? How did you begin creating art?
A. I am a father of a daughter and a husband. I started my own architecture business and started managing my own company at the age of 30. I was into expressing my world through music and fashion design during my twenties, but when I got married at 28, I needed to support my family, so I started working to earn a living. After starting my own business at 30 and gaining basic architectural skills and experience, I could manage to design a wine bar by myself for a client at the age of 37. Since then, I have designed and created nearly 300 spaces over the past 20 years, mainly for stores and residences.
When my daughter got married this year, I suddenly changed from being a designer who was faithful to the client's requests to becoming an artist to give form to the passion that wells up inside of me. I had been living as a designer for the sake of my daughter's growth and to fit my creative side into society, but now I suddenly felt that it was okay to express what I love.
I found the answer to everything when I sought out art materials and painted for the first time. It said to me, "You are going to keep painting from now on".
Q. Could you talk about the process of creating and the way of expressing your work?
A. All of my daily state of being is reflected in my work. I never want to bind myself to a single style, so I apply the techniques that I have acquired to follow the direction which my inspirations lead me.
In architectural design, I use acrylic paints, mineral pigments, cement, plaster, and all sorts of other materials. I apply the methods of expression that I have acquired through my experience and the techniques that I will acquire in the future to look into what is in my heart.
Q. Could you describe one artwork or series from your oeuvre that you feel it was pivotal in your career?
A. Originally, when I was in my 20s, I had written poetry. While painting, words are born together, which eventually become meaningful like a title, making the work satisfying to me. When II start creating a work, I just start painting without knowing what I am going to do, or how am I going to do, but the composition and colors of the painting inspire me to continue painting.
When I was designing spaces, I was depressed because the spaces I designed for Italian restaurants, wine bars, cafes, esthetic, beauty salons, etc., were all different and inconsistent. One day the owner of the bar which I designed for him told me “You can tell at a glance that it's a space you designed, even though they all look different! There are a lot of small features that represents you in this space. A lot more than you think!”. So, when I was painting, I thought that even though the technique or expression was different, people would know it was probably me, so there was no need to emphasize that it was SOU's work.
When I painted my piece "Time to cling" at an early point in my career, I completely understood what the owner told me. It became clear to me, and it gave me a push on my back for me.
Q. Are there any artists or works that have influenced you?
A. Van Gogh, Chagall, Taro Okamoto and Gyoji Nomiyama.
I visited his tomb in France at Auvers-sur-Oise. I strolled through the town where he spent the last years of his life. From my teenage years, school texts and books, the collections of his works and the works themselves, my idolatrous values about him, which had made him seem so unreachable, disappeared in an instant. There was a heap of dirt for two people, where he and his brother Theo sleep, a human being of a hundred years ago.
He is an irreplaceable person who let me know that.
Q. What do you hope that the audience takes away from your art?
A. I believe that if we can induce in color, composition, and form a new way of looking at things that each person has not felt in his or her life, then we can unleash our inner potential through art. That is what I want people to feel.
Q. What is your dream project? Could you tell us your plans and aspirations as an artist?
A. I would like to get indescribable mental images into shape through collecting the clues from the destiny that looks like a coincidence which can only happen to me, from the people and things that will be guiding me like a fate.
In 2023, my original paintings and digital works will be exhibited in New York, Italy, and Spain. I would like to display my works in a variety of place in the world.
Q. Would you like to add something readers should know about you and your art?
A. What happens to me is only one event for me and for you. By properly identifying it, life can change as much as you want it to, and I hope you will enjoy it.