PEOPLEText: Noriko Ishimizu

HYMN is an artist who uses her original technique called “virtual spray” with the theory of appropriation. She re-composes western masterpieces and character icons by digital bits and draws them with spray and Posca.

From September 14th, 2018 to 16th, Unknown Asia 2018 was held at Herbis Hall of Umeda, Osaka. This event known as a chance to connect young Asian artists was the fourth anniversary and 200 artists from 10 Asian countries participated in this. This time, a chief editor of SHIFT magazine Taketo Oguchi gave the SHIFT Award to HYMN. In this interview, she talked about her production.

Please introduce yourself first.

I’m HYMN. I’m a Tokyo-based artist and 28 years old, and originally from Chiba prefecture. I graduated from graphic design department of Tama Art University in 2014 and started a professional career in 2017.

What was your impression about Unknown Asia 2018?

I saw many guests and reviewers. There were more commercial illustrations. So, I was anxious about that my work might be “away.” But, I’m glad that many people said nice about my work.

Adult Coloring (Crying Woman), 2018, Spray and Posca on Canvas, 1,000 × 803 mm

Please comment about the SHIFT Award.

I remember that Mr. Oguchi came to my 
booth a few times. But, I did not expect the award and it was a surprise. I’m glad that my work was chosen.

Your biography says that you had the first solo exhibition at gallery in Harajuku, Tokyo in 2015. At this exhibition, what kind of work did you show?

It was by a chance of graduation and my style was totally different from current one. It was digital output of my hand drawings. I worked at design company after graduation, but I wanted to make art.

So, you have already started to integrate analog and digital technique back then.

Yes. I have used a painting tool of computer since I was a little and already used to that. My interest to turn digital to analog becomes a series of virtual spray.

Adult Coloring (Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon), 2018, Spray and Posca on Canvas, 803 × 803 mm

At Unknow Asia, you showed “virtual spray” of Matisse, Picasso, and Dick Bruna. Please explain concepts about those.

The common concept is “Adult Coloring”. Virtual spray is one of its series. It is an expression of spraying with pixels, which are an element of digital display, and I color by graffiti technique. Graffiti has different styles and I’m specifically interested in a style of roughly drawing on the wall. I want to do that as a painting.

Why did you choose Matisse, Picasso, and Brun as a subject?

I chose them because, of course, I like their 
work and also they are well known by many people. I check subjects for coloring, so that is another point to think too. I think that I can convey my interpretation to people by using well known subjects.

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