THE STORY OF CHAOS LAYER : YOSHIROTTEN, Kosuke Kawamura and GUCCIMAZE
Gallery Tsukigime closed its doors in March of this year after three years of operation. What is "CHAOS LAYER", an exhibition by YOSHIROTTEN, Kosuke Kawamura, and GUCCIMAZE.
Photo : Gallery Tsukigime
—— Please tell us the story behind the opening of the new building.
The gallery in Ikejiri-Ohashi called "Gallery Tsukigime" closed in March this year. It was called Tsukigime because it was a parking lot that was used as a gallery space, but soon after that, we found a similar underground parking lot in Meguro and decided to reopen the gallery there. At that time, I was asked to help out with the opening exhibition.
—— How did you decide on the theme?
Since we were going to put a lot of work into it, I wanted to make an exhibition that would have an impact. That's when I approached GUCCIMAZE and Kawamura Kosuke, who work with graphics as their main focus, about doing something together. However, doing a group exhibition has been done many times before, so I suggested that the three of us create a piece together, and we decided to make it a joint project.
—— How did the three of you become friends?
I met Kosuke through a friend of mine. We got to know each other through our similar tastes in music and the neighborhoods we hang out in, and we've been working together since then, doing art direction for the solo exhibition at PARCO and the AKIRA exhibition. I met GUCCIMAZE at a club, and we were both junior graphic designers, and then we got involved with PAN magazine. We both had similar tastes and hung out in the same social circles, so we bonded pretty easily. Normally, it's not easy to hand your work to someone else, but the three of us have a close relationship and trust each other.
—— Who decided on the title "CHAOS LAYER"?
It was my decision. I wanted to include the words "chaos" and "layer," and in the process of passing data to each other, the number of layers increases, and I think the chaos includes the chaotic situation of the world. This is how I feel now, and it's the same for society. I thought that what was happening in our work was chaos, and I thought that it would be a good title for the mixture of these things. We were able to express ourselves freely using the title as the theme.
—— When did you start the project?
We hadn't had much time to prepare for the project since we first talked about doing it together in April. The main photo of this project is the one I took when I randomly brought the two of them here and asked them if they wanted to do something (laughs).
—— That's why the picture was taken in a room with no interior design. It seems like if this pandemic hadn't happened, this exhibit would not have been possible.
That's right. We can't have events, we can't have gatherings, we can't drink. This kind of control always bothers me. So to take back a sense of control, the only thing I could do was to create something. It was the right time for me to create something that was a mixture of various things, so I thought it would be fine to use the "now" of each of the three of us without any theme. We didn't want it to be serious; we simply wanted the audience to be entertained.
—— When you first heard the title "CHAOS LAYER", what did you think?
Both of us are close in our personal lives, but we had never talked about making things together before. This was the first time we talked about the technical aspects of Photoshop. Even though we use the same software, we all use it in different ways, so we talked about the process like a child would talk about a game, "Cool! How did you do that?” Then YOSHIROTTEN suggested calling it "Chaos Layer," and it seemed like a natural fit. All three of us have different styles, but we're all in the same business, so it's not easy for all three of us to work together on one project. We don't usually work together, but we're comfortable in the same space, so we decided to give form to that. I thought it would be even more interesting to mix things up, so that's how it all started.
——I learned that it was finished only three months from the time I heard the title.
I think it would have been impossible if we hadn't known each other well. The three of us know each other, our likes, our roots, our strengths, etc., and we didn't have to worry about each other, which I think was the reason why things went so smoothly. Of course, there are older and newer members, but more than that, I think the key to the chaos of this production was the fact that there were no barriers between day or night, downtown or playground. It's not about being careful, but about having the same level of respect for each other. If this hadn't been the case, I think the story would have been different. I think it's because we trust each other so much that we were able to create a chaotic work without becoming too chaotic.
—— If it hadn't been for the three of you, do you think it could have been finished?
This balance is really good, and of course we know who made what. But when you look at each piece as a single work, you can't tell whose work it is in any real way. And yet, I believe that each of us has created something that we can proudly say is our own work. And above all, it was really fun to do.
—— How did you feel when you first heard about "CHAOS LAYER"?
Out of nowhere, YOSHIROTTEN said he had a place he wanted to take me, and he took me to an empty parking lot and said "This will be the gallery" (laughs). That's when he said, "Let's do the first show with the three of us. I was the youngest, and I’m from the generation after YOSHIROTTEN and Kawamura, so I was genuinely happy to be included and recognized by them. At that time, I still had a vague idea of what kind of exhibition I was going to do, and I had no idea where I was going to land. But I was so excited that my expectations went way up, which was a feeling I had never experienced before.
—— How did you decide to pass the data between each other?
Actually, it all started when the three of us got into a conversation about certain features in Photoshop. I had been working for a design company for a long time, so I had the opportunity talk to them for delivery, but I had never discussed data creation with other artists, so what they said was very impressive. There are many ways to create things in a straightforward manner, but the two of them were creating data in an unbelievable way. It's not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that both of them were extremely meticulous with data, so it’s interesting to share that kind of data with others. Also, it would be interesting if people like us showed each other Photoshop layer data, so we decided to shuffle the data.
—— How do you feel when you are handling each other's data?
It's kind of like looking at each other naked. In particular, I was allowed to interact with the data of two of my mentors, but I wondered if it was okay for me to manipulate the data of two renowned artists. Each of us probably thought the same thing, but I thought it the most because of my age.
—— How did you feel after actually working on it?
The three of us had become friends through drinking and hanging out on the streets of Shibuya, so it was very easy and comfortable for us. At first it was a little overwhelming, but once we got started, it was surprisingly easy to do. When I started and passed the work to the next person, I was thinking about what they would think, and when someone passed it to me, I was excited to see what kind of visuals and data would come. I would wrestle with whether or not I could erase this layer, or go deeper into the layer than just putting it on top. It was an endless process of replacing, switching, erasing, and so on. However, I think the three of us subconsciously knew how to find the right balance, like "this is where we should stop”. If it had been with any other two people, it probably wouldn't come out like it did.
—— I was told that there were no conflicts of opinion.
Because we know each other so well, I think we were able to navigate each other's paths without clashing too much and make a nice mash-up. We didn't have any conversations during the process like, "You could do this a little bit more," but rather a simple exchange of ideas like, "Okay, I got it, I tweaked it, and the last person can have it”.
—— Finally, please talk about the highlights of this project.
We usually go out and have fun in the same places, but we all come from many different backgrounds. Perhaps if we had only hung around with people of the same generation, we might not have been able to get it done so comfortably. But actually, the enjoyment of this event came from the different generations and the different ways of consuming culture. I want people to see the mixture of all kinds of layers. I can say this because I am the youngest.The profiles of three people will be included.
July 30th (Friday) ~ August 20th (Friday)
B1F, 3-2, 1st floor, Chuou-cho, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
(Please enter directly from the parking lot.)
Closed on weekends and Mondays
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1979, he now lives and works in Tokyo. He is a collage artist, graphic designer, and the art director of "ERECT Magazine". Kawamura expresses himself in many ways, such as shredding, analog & digital collage, computer graphics, and live painting. He also creates flyers for live concerts and events. He has worked on many collages with artists such as Katsuhiro Otomo, Keiichi Rinaami, Morishita and Masaya Nakahara, and works in numerous genres, from fashion to underground culture.
Born 1989 in Kanagawa, Japan. Graduated from the Department of Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University. After working for a design agency, he began working independently in 2018. Based in Tokyo, he creates work for Japan and abroad, collaborating with numerous artists and brands. He has become known for his unique graphic style—three-dimensional typographic forms that convey a sense of tangible sharpness, set in vivid, venomous color schemes.
Born in 1983, he works across a wide spectrum of fields, including graphics, moving images, 3D works, installations, and music. In 2018, he mounted a massive exhibition of his works, his largest to date, titled "FUTURE NATURE" at TOLOT/heuristic SHINONOME. GASBOOK33 YOSHIROTTEN" was released by GASBOOK.