Artist interview: Ryoko Kaneta

Four You Gallery
September 7th, 2020

FYG: What’s your background?
RK: I was born and raised in Ibaraki in 1991 and studied art at the Yokohama University of Art and Design. I’m currently based in Tokyo and show my art at domestic and international exhibitions and art fairs.

FYG: What does art mean to you?
RK: To me, art is something that brings me to many different places. I can learn about various worlds through the creations of artists.

FYG: How do you describe your art?
RK: In Japan, for a long time, nature itself and natural phenomena have been given personalities. While incorporating such a history, I replace them with modern character expressions and make creations out of them.

FYG: As an artist, what do you think is essential in your work?
RK: Imagination and curiosity.

FYG: What does your work aim to say?
RK: Since ancient times, the culture of personifying and talking about natural objects and natural phenomena have been deeply rooted in Japan. By combining that unique culture and modern characters’ expressions, I hope to convey the eeriness and beauty of nature and the culture rooted in it using girls overflowing with humor.

FYG: What are your forms of inspiration?
RK: The riche nature and the culture, history, thoughts, and so on that are rooted in it.

FYG: What part of the artistic work process do you most enjoy?
RK: Research and the moment when a piece is complete.
Research is very important to me and I have visited various places to make them motifs in my work.
By actually visiting them, I can interact with the atmosphere and people unique to those places and learn about things that I wouldn’t have been able to learn on the Internet.

Ryoko Kaneta’s Studio in Japan

FYG: How have current social problems influenced your work?
RK: Because of the spread of Covid-19, I cannot visit other places anymore. Some of my works in this exhibition depict imaginary lands. They suggest that the characters in the paintings transcend space and time to bring us anywhere and everywhere. Making those works was the most stimulating experience I’ve ever had and they would not have been realized if not for today’s social situation. Art and social conditions are closely connected and even in such a sad situation, I feel that I have to be positive and think about what kind of art I can create.

FYG: Who are your biggest influences?
RK: My influences are Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Henry Darger, Kanō Eitoku, Ogata Kōrin, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Takashi Murakami and Koge-Donbo.

FYG: Professionally, what’s your goal?
: To create good work that remains after my passing.

FYG: Where do you see your artistic career in 10 years?
RK: I haven’t thought deeply about that, so I’m not sure, but I do know for sure that I will be continuing to make art, just like I am now.

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