37.Takamatsu Kazuki  Buttagiri ni Kimashita 2013

Takamatsu Kazuki works in a hybrid world between the digital and analogue. Rather than paint conventionally on canvas, he chooses white tarpaulins, like those used for sports-day tents, on which he prints translucent, 3D computer-generated images of girls using outdoor pigments. He then paints over them with acrylics.

Born 1978 in Sendai, he attended Tohoku University of Art & Design in Yamagata, but failed to find a job after graduation and so stayed at home. “I entered my paintings for different public exhibitions and competitions, but it didn’t go well,” he says. “So I tried to work out what would happen if I continued like this, and calculated my life backwards…. I estimated how many years it might take me to ‘make it’ in Sendai, and how long it might take in Tokyo, and I concluded I’d never make it in my lifetime! So I decided I had no choice but to look abroad.”

He started visiting galleries in Tokyo, seeking those with an international outlook, and from around 2008 started to consolidate his style. “I actually began this work around 2000, with my graduation project,” he says. “But many people told me, ‘These are not even pictures,’ so I reluctantly switched course. Then I couldn’t resist any more, and I spent about eight years drawing alone by trial and error, without showing anyone.

“I started doing 3D-CG around 2004-2005, completely self-taught. It took a long time to get the hang of the software. The application was foreign, and I had to type in a lot of numbers. My machine was also very underpowered — it would take one or two nights to render anything.” Lately Takamatsu has been exhibiting more overseas than at home. “If you really want to participate in the world, it doesn’t matter where you are in Japan,” he says. People often talk about the disparity between the centre and the regions, but as Takamatsu demonstrates, it is no longer necessary to be ‘in the scene’ — indeed, this may even count against you.