COOL was born in hope of becoming a bridge to let the art lovers all over the world inspire each other, link together as one, and create a new future in arts. The main contents consist of interviews of both New York-based and international artists and creators, special feature articles, art reports from around the world, reviews and column series. We contribute to the cultural exchange through arts and to the development of the art industry so that people in the world can enjoy arts casually and New York and major cities in the world can connect through the media COOL.
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COOL: To start with, would you please tell us about the undertakings that you're currently working on?

TAKASHIRO: Well, a DVD is coming out soon. While being primarily a computer-generated image creator, I've been DJing as well recently. The DVD will contain tunes I selected as a DJ and video I added as a VJ. It will be released from Universal/Def Jam on September 7.

C: I know you, as a VJ, hosted an event at ageHa (a club in Shinkiba, Tokyo) the other day. How did it go?

T: It sure was a wingding, I'm tellin' you. It was for the seasonal Opening of the pool on the premises, so it became sort of a poolside party filled with a whole bunch of mad people. Too many to fit in so they had to start controlling incoming guest volume later on.

C: What got you started as a DJ?

T: I turned 40 in summer last year where I started feeling that I should take up something new, one by one each year, and that's what. Traditionally, DJs are to perform at clubs, but I, for one, am aiming to become one that does not perform there. Per my principle, I'm always searching for a new media and a new place. I've been a "living room" artist, and in that sense, I wish to grow into a DJ whose music is playable and enjoyable at home.

C: I understand that you have been VJing since your teens. What were your influences?

T: I was an Art major at Nihon University, already as rebellious as I am now. I would go mouthing like "there's nothing to learn from college professors," fly to New York and see Jim Jarmusch's, Spike Lee's and such. Overseas has been a huge impact on me. I was in a great deal under the influence of the subculture and underground culture of video and music. Back in those days, Paradise Garage was the club to go and I would hit the place week after week in late 80's.

C: I have the image of Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee having been analog advocates up to date, and I would say your digital-oriented works are quite in inverse relation to theirs...

T: Do the same stuff as them and I'd be stuck in the 80's. I'd rather Move ahead and make good use of technologies and media of the leading edge, while keeping in touch with their analog spirits.

C: I hear that you work about 20 hours a day...

T: I would call it creating rather than working. About 4 hours and a half of sleep works the best.

C: I believe it's safe to say that you employ and practice new things at all times. How do you manage the time for collecting information and working on ideas?

T: First of all, I don't collect information. I have monitor screens, but no TV, 'cause I don't have a tuner. I don't browse on the internet or read magazines. I'm on a diet trying to stay "thin-formation." [Laugh]

Gaining information on the internet deludes you into thinking you Have come to know already so much about it just from reading it that there's no need for you to actually go out and experience it. I call that "inf-obesity." [Laugh] When you stop that way of information consumption, you'd want to get real live information. You'd get your idea about it by experiencing it. Frankly speaking, I think it's time for us to stop collecting information, time to discard it and keep only necessary pieces. Inspirations have already been inside us, or you get one or two of those spontaneously on the spot by hands-on experiences. Isn't that enough?

As for working on ideas, I place a significance on time to face myself, instead of time to collect information. I make it a point of sparing an hour and a half or two for that everyday. Just like today when I sat myself in a Denny's for many hours and was making notes of ideas on these Post-its. (He takes out of his pocket awful heaps of
Post-its of notes.) Thus, I keep a pocketful of ideas in here all the time and am realizing them one by one.

C: Any reason why Post-it?

T: It comes in handy when you have to jot down something while on the
phone, 'cause the adhesive keeps it from moving around. Besides, though it's kinda untidy pieces of crap, yet colorful ones. Pretty, one might say. [Laugh] I'm making no sense what so ever here, I know. Anyways, I'm not really one of those fancy fellas you see in the industry.

C: Where did your title "Hyper Media Creater" come from?

T: As a student at university, I had already had my hands broadly on images, music, graphic design, media promotion and so on. One time, a reporter on a newspaper came visit the university to interview me. He said it was not quite appropriate to refer to me as a film director or a TV director, then he came up with the title which what I had been doing appropriately fell under. It's my identity that I express myself widely on a level beyond the concept of media I have gone through such as print, mobile, television and live.

C: What's this? (An unusual thing with a small monitor and a circuit board integrated together sits on a disc.)

T: That's something I'm building now. It's a form of media which starts up when the lying monitor is lifted upright. Just like how you read a book held upright, I've been simply experimenting to see if it's possible to make a monitor viewable the same way. I'm learning stuff on my own and doing this by trial and error. Basically, I'm the Akiba type of a guy. [Laugh] Everytime I go to New York, I visit those Canal Street shops and spend hours checking out parts. I don't go to 5th Avenue, well, except for a few occasions when I must be up there on business. [Laugh]
This year, I went to New York in January for shoots for a Documentary movie of A Bathing Ape in Soho which I've been producing. On a side note, their close neighbor, Louis Vuitton, is another client of mine. (Mr. Takashiro produced the Louis Vuitton-Takashi Murakami animation film "SUPERFLAT MONOGRAM.") I support A Bathing Ape as a leading worldwide brand name that's out from Japan.

C: Being globally successful, you've been to all over the world. Where's your favorite place?

T: Tokyo. The city I belong to. I like Japan and I enjoy Japan. I was going around Europe like Greece until a week ago. Yesterday I was on location in Shonan and was hanging out at one of the teahouses on the beach afterwards. Next, I'm going to Hokkaido this weekend. I was doing promotion for Okinawa and its tourism for a while and it went quite well, so I might do Hokkaido next.

Creators and artists do two things at base: to "create" and to "create and convey." In the past, all we had to do was to "create," but today, in addition to "create," we are expected to give thoughts to how we "create and convey" our intentions. As far as I'm concerned, I "create," "create and convey," and furthermore I "convey," that is, to convey what's already there. There have been quite many commissions where my expertise as a media and communication specialist is all the clients ask for in sending out their messages.
After all, creating boils down to communicating. In jobs like promoting Okinawa, all my responsibility is just to "convey," because enough is already there ready to be brought to public attention. The beautiful seas, a lot of good food, fun stuff... My clients demand the art of conveying in my way. I don't have much of ego like, "I'm an artist and do not do commercials." As long as my schedule allows, I do take jobs of a wide variety, even small ones, and get one job done to another.

C: Is there any difference you feel between New York and Tokyo in the feedback and opinions about you that you receive from people?

T: I don't believe there is anymore. Born in Shibamata, Katsushika in Tokyo, I'm all Japanese from head to heel and in love with Japan head over heels and traveling around all over the country all the time. So I sort of feel if I'm not accepted in Japan, neither will I in New York.
I think the 80's was the time when New York was really exciting, with all inclusive: music, art and clubs. Then San Francisco was hot from late 80's to early 90's and Amsterdam in late 90's. And now Tokyo is the happening place, I think. Now the Japanese brand names are huge worldwide, whether at Paris Collection or in Soho, New York, and you see Hidetoshi Nakata in advertisement everywhere. I think the
Japanese is doing great in the world.

C: As a kid, what did you wish to become?

T: Well, In the lower grade, my teacher would lecture me for writing "becoming a bird" as a future dream. [Laugh] I was like, "It'd be cool. Being a bird, I wouldn't have to work." [Laugh]

C: How about your current dream?

T: No idea what I want for the future. I've got engagements already lined up up to around 2010. Got quite a few jobs about soccer, too, but I'm a total stranger to
the sport. Hidetoshi Nakata is a good friend of mine and he doesn't know the first thing about computers. He gets vacation only twice a year, summer and winter, and he was with me both times last year, traveling around. [Laugh] I was in London on business and he lived in Italy, and we joined each other and together visited around Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania... We're unlearned in each other's profession which may be the secret of us getting along well. [Laugh]
Anyhow, the nature of the jobs brought in is diverse, but I'll just get one down to another, that's all.

Being a big fan of Star Wars, I think of my life in three parts, Like Greek myths as well. In Part I, I discover a different myself and realize the life I have led is false. In Part II, I devote myself towards what I really must do, accomplish them, and meet various people on a journey I continue on. In Part III, I finish the last work and finish my life complete. Perhaps, I'm somewhere towards the end of Part II at the moment. Still on the journey.

C: What are you up to now?

T: I'm publishing a book on my thoughts to what could be subsequence to digital. It’s the first book I've written in the last eight years. I'm doing tons of digital works, of course, so some might way, "What? Thought you'd be the last person to be thinking something like that." [Laugh] I'd really like you Japanese to read it as it's something like I'm introducing new concepts to the Japanese. There's a book I recently read and was impressed with, which is by an author whose name is Mark Lehnardt. He is a man of vision by profession who’s impacted Britain considerably by observing his ideas on the country’s outlook and dreams. I wish to deliver a new vision and dreams for Japan as impressive as his.

I'm also into body training right now. My body fat percentage reads about 7% at the moment. I realize myself being at the gym working out all the time. Strengthening body improves your mobility and gets me further.

Tsuyoshi Takashiro
Filmmaker / Hyper Media Creator / Captain of Future Pirates, Inc. / supervisor of Toei Animation, Inc.

Born in Shibamata, Katsushika. A Grand Prix winner at the International Video Biennale, the nation’s largest video art competition held in Tokyo. Following the debut, nationwide and worldwide attention has increasingly been drawn to the image creator of the digital age. An animation film by Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami, "SUPERFLAT MONOGRAM" shown at 300 store locations worldwide, is a recent production.

URL: http://www.takashiro.com/

text, photo by Mieko SAI
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