The first work of Hideki Inaba I saw, was the advertisment he create for iPod Japan in Relax Magazine issue 101 July 2005 and his Bursted Helvetica typeface for Shift’s cover design. Two very beautiful artworks with a great intense for details. I saw he spend a lot of time to do it. I was full with entusiasm, as I hear he will have a performence at the opening party at Soso cafe.

At 16th of September 2005, friday morning his work arrives at the cafe, five posters with letters on it, two “N”, one “L” and one “2”. The poster were made for the exhibition called “Newline 2” a collaboration between Hideki Inaba and Shift. It was Hideki Inaba’s second exhibition at Soso cafe, the first one was called “Newline”. My first impression of the poster’s was, that their graphical language is different to the work I allready seen. Different not in a negative meaning. The typeface of the poster’s have a very reduced, clear language, you see immediately the letter on it and if you do not, it is a nice arrange of abstract forms. I was eager to see the opening event.

At six o’clock PM, all was prepared for Hideki Inaba to rock the evening. Beamer and Laptop were installed. At six thirty Hideki enter Soso cafe. He is a very slim men and at the first sight, he looks very likeable to me. After a few moments he sat behind the laptop and start to create items on adobe illustrator. He looked very relaxed and cool behind his working tool. Sometimes he drank a beer or talked to the people.

The first items, forms I did not recognize. The by the second and third, I saw that he create letters in alphabetical order. The creation looked very spontaneous to me, he create, he reject, he go back and he go forward. Hideki took elemtary forms like line, circle and square and deformed them into a letter, guide by his free feeling for form and color. Each letter had his own character; one just with ouline, one very geometrical, an other one with organic forms. Altogether the letters had an very raw but beautiful character, each was unique, nevertheless all together harmonize. It was a pleasure to look at his creations for me and the hole audience. Every finished letter he send up to the shift office to print out. In the course of the exhibition his print out’s were all over the room, like the spirt of Hideki Inaba.

At the end of the opening event all could see his name, Hideki, with his letters on the floor. And I think some people took his printout letters as present to their home. As I talk to Hideki Inaba after the show, he showed me his sketch for the event. He made it on the airplane from Tokyo to Sapporo on a putebag. He told me also that he never go to a graphic school or something like that. And I think you see that, in a positive way, in his graphical language. It is more raw and pure, than works of most graphic students. He told me also that working for clients is very diffrent to free working, “for clients you have to listen to their opinion, and spend more work in the details”.

At all it was a successful and relaxed opening event in a pleasant atmosphere. Next exhibition in Tokyo will start from 21st of October. It must also be great exhibiting.

Hideki Inaba / NEWLINE 2 Exhibition, Sapporo
Date : 16th -30th September, 2005
Place : SOSO Cafe
Address : 1F Sansei Bld., S1 W13 Chuo-ku Sapporo, Japan
Tel: +81-11-280-2240
Open: 11:00 – 21:00
Fee: Free, it costs just in case you eat and drink.

Text and Photos: Tim Engel

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Ricky Powell