PEOPLEText: Yurie Hatano

The second week was the exhibition “Hanko Arimasu” by Eji Yamada from Ultra Graphics. The same event was held in HB gallery, Tokyo, in this spring. The design of stamps he does, is not just typography, he puts the character of each person in each stamp. There were many stamps, which I know who they are, and all of them express people’s character, and it was really fun. We enjoyed seeing big stamps on the wall, and trying real small stamps. And we could also order his stamp there. Usually, some experts in the graphic world enjoy his work, but this time, regardless of age or sex or their job, many people enjoyed his work.

Re-design of Ainu Pattern, The Music, Exhibition

The third week’s exhibition was a collaboration between Wabisabi and Ultra Graphics. The theme is “Redesign of Ainu”. We chose this theme because people in Hokkaido are familiar with their design and we respect their design a lot. How can we redesign their completed design and make them ours? Both companies worked hard about this plan. Actually, I regret we didn’t have enough time, and we could make greater works if we had more time. Finally, I loved “Bonsai cake” and “Whale cake” made by the owner of SOSO cafe to celebrate the finale of our event.

DO MUSIC!, AIR DO, Music Support Campaign

Does Wabisabi have other works?

We designed the poster of AIR DO, the airplane company in Hokkaido. It is AIR DO’s campaign advertisement to support the annual rock event, “Rising Sun” (Sapporo) and “Summer Sonic” (Tokyo). The advertising agency commissioned us to work on this project. We did it last year, too, and it’s our second time to work on it. I’ll say Wabisabi is the best to work for rock!! We worked for posters, novelties, visuals, and music of this project. It feels great to see huge 16m board made up of 20 boards. The last poster is one of objects for JAGDA new designer’s prize. JAGDA new designer’s prize which Sabi got has the same worth as Japan record grand prix for a new singer. Although he is 39 years old, he is still called a new comer in graphics. FABULOUS!! Anyway, Sabi is busy with exhibitions and having lectures in seminars, in Tokyo, Osaka, and all of Japan. We work to form what we have thought up in spare moments from his work.

What do you place the most importance on when you design?

To make what moves us! That’s everything and the basis of our motto when we design!

Crow and Trash

Could you tell us about Wabi’s rock band “Flemings”?

Wabisabi’s first work was to design the jacket of “Flemings”. It’s a maxi single we recorded in just one take in a studio. You may think I was young, but I wanted to earn a livelihood with our band. Wabisabi got SADC semi grand prix with the poster of Flemings. On the omnibus rock CD “Rawk’n’Roll Revolution”, which is sold in 12 countries around the world, there’s our band’s music, we are there as the one of three bands which are representative of Japan. However, we lost the drummer from our band, and can’t play our music anymore. Well, can I have a recruitment drive for our drummer here? I addicted myself on this situation, and I can’t stand life without music!!

Congratulations for JAGDA grand prize for new designer, Sabi!! How do you feel about it?

Thank you very much. I got this prize by the grace of all people who were with me for great works. I’ll keep working hard for great works.

How do you think about the relation between music and design?

Well, especially for me (Wabi), I’ll say it’s equal. I’ve thought jacket design and music make all the great things in the world. I can say same thing with musician’s style and fashion. No reason for their attractions. I started music, and got to feel without thinking. Well, when I look back what I said in this interview, I found I’ve talked about rock a lot and you may think we limit our work to just rock design, but we don’t at all, just to make sure. I talked about music a lot, because the theme of this exhibition was “THE MUSIC”.

What do you think of the design and creative scenes in Sapporo, which is your stronghold?

Today, there is no problem with where people work. There is no better place for me than Sapporo, I love it. This place gives people a broad mindedness and tenderness, and their works reflect them. But I also go to Tokyo. I want to feel the speed of Tokyo style, the speed people live, and the speed time passes. We can’t feel it just in the Internet. Sapporo doesn’t have it. About design and creative scenes, I think Sapporo Art Directors Club has much power for me, because I get the feeling of “competing with others” in actuality. Great creators in Japan get together in Sapporo, and see our works earnestly. Before the life without this, I was satisfied with making just what I like, but now, I want to compete with them.

Please tell us the concept of the cover design of SHIFT this month.

This is the arrangement of what we made in the beginnings, and we’ve used it on our monitors as a screensaver. We got inspiration from “LIGHT MY FIRE” by Doors. Don’t you think it’s sweet if a computer has a heart? Some of them might have uneven heartbeats. I’ll feel so glad if computers all over the world beat their heart when people visit SHIFT this month. Great!!

Do you have anything you want to do, or challenge in the future?

There are piles of unformed ideas, for which we’ve done the plot. So, we want to work hard and put it into practice. As you find from our unit name Wabisabi and our unit logo mark, we believe in our feelings as Japanese, which is hard to be explained by words. Therefore, we want to work all over the world with our original design.

Finally, please give readers your messages.


Thank you very much for reading all.(Sabi)

Address: 2F Tiyo Bld., South 3 West 8, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Tel: +81 (0)11 271 6666

Text: Yurie Hatano
Translation: Yu Murooka

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