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This month’s SHIFT cover is designed by Akinori Oishi. He has expanded his activity in Europe since he got the award of the New Talent Competition at the International Multi Media Trade Fair in France, “Milia 2001”. He is a graphic artist and specialized in an interactive animation. His work was exhibited at “DOTMOV Festival 2005” as a special guest exhibition. He creates many graphic works, filled up with small graphics, which express his own universe as well. These his graphics will be seen in SHIFT 2006 calendar.

Tell us about yourself.

After studied media design at IAMAS, I got the award of the New Talent Competition at the International Multi Media Fair in France, “Milia 2001,” with “MICRO-PLANTATION” which I created while I was at IAMAS and this led me to go to France. I belonged to a creative design team in France, TEAMCHMAN for 3 years and most of that time I worked in Europe. Currently, I teach at an art university ECAL (Ecale cantenale d’art de Lausanne) in Switzerland as a part-time instructor and also I teach at a art university in Japan, so I make lots of round trips between Japan and Europe.

What brought you to become a graphic artist?

At first, it was my dream to become a comic artist of art comics and my work was published in the monthly comic magazine, Garo. My comics of those days were like cutoff animation which could be an original of cartoons. While I was drawing art comics, I felt like Japanese comics were too much commercialized and how small their perspective was. I forwarded to Europe where the art comic was well established to take a workshop class of the animation production at an art school there. I was very amazed at possibilities of computers in that class. After I came back in Japan, I studied digital media design at IAMAS and I started to create graphic arts and animation based on monochrome drawings, and eventually to create interactive works, too.

From Exhibition Catalogue of “LE PETIT BONHOMME Exhibition” YCAM (2005)

Tell us about your activities in the design team, TEAMCHMAN in France and at the art university, ECAL in Switzerland. What made you go to Europe and work there?

In the design team TEAMCHAMN, I worked on creating projects along the theme of “integration of art and game” with team members who were very well-skilled programmers and sound designer, and also worked on other producing TV commercials etc. As a part-time instructor at ECAL in Switzerland, I’m a teacher of MID (media & interaction design) courses. Since Swiss design is way advanced, it always gives me a lot impulse. I started to work in Europe because I got to know people in TEAMCHAMN at a festival I was invited. It just happened to me through my network with them. To be a friend with members, I visited their office and studio several times, and I just found myself working with them.

What do you think are good parts of the European art scene and system? What do you think of the Japanese art compared to the European art?

Compared to Japan, Europe has a larger demand share to the art. Opportunities to see arts are not only in exhibitions, they are almost everywhere. People in Europe are knowledgeable about the art in some way. I like working in Europe because they admit even a tiny thing and this is very attractive part to me about the European art. Other characteristics of the European art are art events and festivals are held very often and that there are also many opportunities for artists’ activities. While there are many places to show own art works, the commercial art entertainment has not developed greatly. Since it doesn’t have an industrial base for this kind of entertainment unlike Japan, many of Japanese comics, game software, and even contents of TV programs are imported to Europe. People in the European art industry are longing for such Japanese society which lets the entertainment grow so successfully. However, it’s strange for me to see the Japanese entertainment is introduced in Europe as the art.

OPNIYAMA” is popular among children. From “LE PETIT BONHOMME Exhibition” YCAM (2005)

Tell us about “Akinori Oishi/LE PETIT BONHOMME Exhibition” held in this summer.

Akinori Oishi/LE PETIT BONHOMME Exhibition” was held at YCAM (Yamaguchi
Center for Arts and Media). It was exhibitions of compiled works from my IAMAS’s works, activities in France, to current activities – games displayed on a big screen which can be played, separately colored wall paper which is creating a cityscape, and one-bottom game of simple animations with a few cartoon strips. A stamp stand was set up in places and visitors could enjoy exploring the graphical miniature universe of a little characters, LE PETIT BONHOMME who appeared everywhere at the exhibition endlessly.

* LE PETIT BONHOMME means small people in French.

Coloring together a graphical miniature world “LE PETIT BONHOMME” live.
From “LE PETIT BONHOMME Exhibition” YCAM (2005)

What are your recent main activities?

I offered my animation work to the DVD2 project of MAIS IM BUNDESHUUS which beat all ends up at the Swiss movie awards. You can get the information about this project on the web site of the Swiss national broadcasting “Swiss info”. In addition to it, I worked on illustrations of the whole pages of the picture book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. The 2nd edition “in Love” is now out in stores, too. I draw comics for French comic magazine, “Ferraille” and they are published serially. I create analog works vigorously as well as animations and interactive works.

Selected work at “SHIFT2006 CALENDAR”

Tell us about your winning design for SHIFT2006 calendar.

This is a pen-drawing on a sketch book. Its monochrome is influenced by my way to draw comics since I was a little and its fill-up style is influenced by a building plan which I saw when I worked at architectural design studio as a
part-time. Like the building plan means something, this drawing also expresses some building or city. These tiny various objets d’art’s shapes are like a font for me.

Tell us about this month’s SHIFT cover.

I like a airplane since I was a child and I still get excited about getting on a airplane however often I may get on it. So my idea of the cover is that I would like people to come and join SHIFT all over the world by traveling by air. Try to click the Space key, and a character will come down like a parachute. Not just look at, enjoy playing with it.

What is your coming schedule? What do you want to challenge?

The animation of MAIS IM BUNDESHUUS is invited to a film festival in Switzerland, so I am going to the conference early in the new year and attend its official screen show. I’ve just started to prepare for the exhibition at the Yokohama Portside Gallery in the next year and for exhibiting new works. It would be a great challenge to a giant wall painting with full of my charactor “LE PETIT BONHOMME” and make it the building named also “LE PETIT BONHOMME (small people) ” in a big architecht.

At the last, please give a message to SHIFT’s readers.

Thank you very much for reading to the end and your interests. Please enjoy
my universe of “LE PETIT BONHOMME” which is full of the small graphics.

Akinori Oishi

Text: Yurie Hatano
Translation: Fumika Sugimoto

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