Introducing: Akinori Oishi

‘I want to create more space for imagination’

Akinori Oishi multimedia artist and ‘drawaholic’ from Osaka, Japan. He has been drawing on windows in Novi Sad in April as part of the Japan-EU-fest in Novi Sad. Now he’s back to draw windows across the city, as many as possible, so you may have seen him all over town, drawing windows in department stores, schools, private houses and restaurants.

How and why did you turn to window drawings as an artistic format?

As a child already, I was drawing these very small figures in a sketchbook in patterns, to prepare for making manga-comics. So, the figures were born in small sketches, in notebooks. That was the beginning. Later I was drawing these patterns on canvas, as some kind of paintings. These were exhibited across Asia, for example in Korea, Taiwan, in Japan. These exhibitions lasted for one month, but I wanted to leave something that lasts longer. That’s how I started to make these window drawings, I think for the first time in Seoul, Korea.

Eight years ago I was in Ljubljana, and I received the permission to draw all the windows of the cinema Kinodvor. It was during an animation festival. When I finished this, the sun shone through the window, and I saw all the effect of the light on my figures: the shadows, the mirroring effect, the light-play. This was such a special moment for me, and I realized this is a beautiful form of art. Kinodvor agreed, they at first wanted it to be temporary, but they wanted to maintain my window drawings as a piece of art.

I am very interested in architecture, and I want to draw in spaces – not only in canvas. I want to use bigger spaces. In Gifu, a small village in the Japanese mountains, I started to develop the art of window drawings in shared offices. In a small village I can also draw in the restaurant, in the hotel: everyone knew each other, so I could draw on several spots. This is how I started to work, in Gifu, later in many other place, in Singapore, China, Malaysia, France, Germany, Slovenia, and now, eventually, Serbia.

What do you think of Novi Sad, as a theater for your figures?

Novi Sad is a young city, there are a lot of students, and IT-companies, and they’re very motivated! I believe that the IT companies have a good sense for art, they are open-minded about my art and see many possibilities. It’s quite interesting: it’s a non-snobbish city, the people are very friendly and welcoming. In Japan it’s extremely difficult to get a permission for window drawings, but here, I feel immediately appreciated.

What was the most interesting place to draw the windows?

For actively drawing it’s mostly interesting to go to these crowded places, like supermarkets. I was in Mercator, in IDEA, in pub and restaurant Puberaj, where many people pass by. They look at what I am doing and they’re watching. But another great experience was to work in the elementary school Tvrdjava. The kids were really curious about me, they were asking me many things. The children were also coloring my figures and we really worked together, as an interactive endeavor.

What can we expect from your presentation at the Remix Comix festival?

The presentation is first and foremost meant to present my drawings, just to show it, and spread the fun. But on a second thought, I want to create more space for imagination, with the audience and others, through the art of drawing. My window figures and me support people to use their imagination.

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