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    5 QUESTIONS
    MAYUMI YAMASE


    Mayumi Yamase is a Tokyo-based artist whose practice is the summation of human and abstract themes, given life through whimsically colourful and organic forms. After producing works for Reception, COMME des GARÇON HOMME PLUS S/S 2017 and MAN/WOMAN show in Paris, Yamase's creations find themselves on a variety of surfaces from footwear, textiles and paper. After her recent holiday in Europe, Mayumi has a quick chat with Norse Store about where she came from, and how curiosity plays into her creative process.
    CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHERE YOU GREW UP?

    I was born in Tokyo and moved to LA until I was 6. My parents were exporting vintage clothing to Japan at that time. After they decided to open a store in Aoyama in late 80's, my mother, sister and I moved back but my father stayed on in LA a while longer so we were always back and forth. After finishing up at high school, I moved to London to study at Chelsea University of the Arts and ended up staying for 7 years. I eventually moved back to Tokyo and now I am based here working as an artist with a little freelance journalism on the side.


    WERE THERE INCLINATIONS DURING CHILDHOOD TO BECOME A PAINTER?

    I was influenced by my family mostly, especially my mother and my older sister. My mother was an animator for Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. whilst she was living in the US. We were kids back then of course and really loved the characters she drew including those from such things The Flintstones, The Smurfs as well as all things Disney. Now she works as a fashion designer but draws and paints a lot when designing. So, drawing and painting have always been there even since before I can remember. My sister too is very talented and was always drawing / painting whilst growing up so this environment helped to decide my path.
    CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHERE YOU GREW UP?

    I was born in Tokyo and moved to LA until I was 6. My parents were exporting vintage clothing to Japan at that time. After they decided to open a store in Aoyama in late 80's, my mother, sister and I moved back but my father stayed on in LA a while longer so we were always back and forth. After finishing up at high school, I moved to London to study at Chelsea University of the Arts and ended up staying for 7 years. I eventually moved back to Tokyo and now I am based here working as an artist with a little freelance journalism on the side.


    WERE THERE INCLINATIONS DURING CHILDHOOD TO BECOME A PAINTER?

    I was influenced by my family mostly, especially my mother and my older sister. My mother was an animator for Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. whilst she was living in the US. We were kids back then of course and really loved the characters she drew including those from such things The Flintstones, The Smurfs as well as all things Disney. Now she works as a fashion designer but draws and paints a lot when designing. So, drawing and painting have always been there even since before I can remember. My sister too is very talented and was always drawing / painting whilst growing up so this environment helped to decide my path.
    YOUR PAINTINGS CAN BE BOTH ABSTRACT BUT ALSO FIGURATIVE – WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM?

    Much of my work concerns an affinity of human life, which could be domestic, physical or a sense of living that sometimes is inspired from something inside the human body or the cellular image of a living creature. To explore such things through my work, both abstraction and metaphors of creatures are the recurring themes within my practice. These represent and manipulate ideas that may be unrecognizable at first but may still have perceived connections to something living.


    YOU'VE COLLABORATED WITH BRANDS SUCH AS RECEPTION AND COMMES DES GARÇONS – HOW DO THESE COMMERCIAL PROJECTS COME ABOUT?

    It's always quite a natural process. A couple of seasons ago my artwork was used as the main visuals for the MAN/WOMAN show in Paris. The guys behind Reception present their collection at MAN so that is how it came about. For COMME des GARÇONS, one of my friends works as a designer there and invited me to me assist on projects as an artist. It was the same for my next project.
    YOUR PAINTINGS CAN BE BOTH ABSTRACT BUT ALSO FIGURATIVE – WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM?

    Much of my work concerns an affinity of human life, which could be domestic, physical or a sense of living that sometimes is inspired from something inside the human body or the cellular image of a living creature. To explore such things through my work, both abstraction and metaphors of creatures are the recurring themes within my practice. These represent and manipulate ideas that may be unrecognizable at first but may still have perceived connections to something living.


    YOU'VE COLLABORATED WITH BRANDS SUCH AS RECEPTION AND COMMES DES GARÇONS – HOW DO THESE COMMERCIAL PROJECTS COME ABOUT?

    It's always quite a natural process. A couple of seasons ago my artwork was used as the main visuals for the MAN/WOMAN show in Paris. The guys behind Reception present their collection at MAN so that is how it came about. For COMME des GARÇONS, one of my friends works as a designer there and invited me to me assist on projects as an artist. It was the same for my next project.
    WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

    I just completed the designs for two T-shirts for BEAMS T and these will be available soon. Also coming soon is a capsule I did for FABRICK© / Medicom Toy. I am now working on a few other exciting collaborative projects along with a solo show at Isetan in Shinjuku and another in Europe.