Interview by @bjones21 for @social8gency
I came across Sagaki Keita’s work and thought it was some of the most amazingly psychedelic art I’d seen in some time. The precision on the macro scale down to the seemingly haphazard and spontaneous nature of the micro is amazing. I’m always a bit taken a back that he doesn’t lose his way when creating these pieces.
The interview was done via email. Sagaki speaks little english and thus the text has some hiccups here and there. I’ve kept it as is, with little alteration as not to misconstrue or misrepresent Mr. Keita’s words.
Mr. Keita where are you originally from?
I‘m from Japan. I was born in the place called Ishikawa. I lived in Fukushima to18-24 years old. I live in Tokyo now
Has your location and how you grew up influenced your work at all?
I do not think that the location influences my work.
But, as child, I was affected by one thing; it was Mandara. Mandara is the religious painting of the esoteric Buddhism that I was very interested in at first.
At the age of 10 years old, I was with by father and saw a mandara. It is very minute, richly colored, and psychedelic. And it expresses a human being and the universe that they are both the whole and the part. I was strongly charmed by Mandara.
In addition, comics were the most imminent thing since I was young. I wrote/drew comics from my younger years.
“It is my roots.”
What can you say about your style?
I draw a picture to a concept in both the part and the whole of the art. My work is made with a pen mainly. I draw a picture of the macro image and spend most time on the minute mainly. My works is comprised of accumulation of many characters. It may look like a masterpiece and a city or a monster from a distance. However, it is really the accumulation of the picture such as comics and strange motifs.
What are the characters that you draw? There is seemingly a usual style to them, but always a few changes to each?
I do not understand it well myself. I draw the thing which flashes, impromptu.
They are my other self and are a part of the world and the space at the same time.
I think that characters are continually changing.
Were there any artists that inspired your work?
Do you work in any other mediums, or purely pen & ink?
The art supplies are ball-point pens (Gel ink 0.38mm) mainly.
In addition, the gray tone draws India ink with the thing which I weakened with water.
Where did you develop your style?
This style came out naturally.
My style drawing little by little from the corner. This style fits me. Then gradually erode over the whole canvas.
I don’t draw a draft. I draw it in pen from the beginning.
The style to repeat several levels like oil painting, and make a screen, this is not suitable to me. The place where I drew on doesn’t want to be touched anymore.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the Fukushima University graduate school.
Fukushima University is not University of Arts, It is a pedagogic university.
I majored in art in the education.
Fukushima is a prefecture with a nuclear power plant becoming the problem in the world now, and of course, it is the land which there was for very heavy damage by an earthquake.
What was the experience for you during the earthquake?
It is a difficult question.
My feelings probably have not yet come, it is difficult to regard it with objectivity.
Probably I think that outwardly the picture [myself] has not changed immediately. However, I may be unconsciously changed by this earthquake.
“I was able to reconfirm that I will draw a picture all the time from now on.”
Fukushima has a lot of friends and acquaintances. I worried very much.
There was not much room to think about oneself.
However, I make use of this experience and think that it is necessary to change it into a positive thing from now on.
“One way is through art.”
Where were you at the time?
I was in Tokyo. It was just the day of the graduation ceremony of the high school where I work. Tokyo shook very much, too. I remember that I was very much surprised.
Is art our full time job?
I draw, work, and sell.
I work as a teacher of the art in a high school