Nov 09, 2015 8 Questions with: Yoskay Yamamoto
Yoskay Yamamoto is a distinguished self-taught artist from Toba, Japan. He moved to the U.S. when he was a teenager and is currently living in Los Angeles. He curated his most recent exhibition at GR2 called “81 Bastards” and currently has an installation piece at the Japanese American National Museum for Giant Robot’s Biennale 4. I was lucky enough to meet him at the LBMA Vitality & Verve’s opening party during Pow! Wow! Long Beach and we spent some time talking about his artwork. Following up with an interview, he answered some questions on what’s the latest with him.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m in the middle of moving my studio and living space. I’m relocating to Long Beach, CA and pretty excited to be living by the ocean.
For my art, I just finished an epic group show with my fellow artist collective “81bastards” at Giant Robot in Sawtelle Japantown. I had 7 artists visiting from Japan and we worked several days at my studio in the Valley and at Giant Robot to make some collaboration work and set up the show. Over all, we showcased over 100 pieces including individual work from each artists and collaboration work.
How did you get involved with art?
I was always into drawing or making things with my hands since I was little. My professional career started as an extension of my hobby. I was studying graphic design at Santa Barbara community college and during that time I started to paint on my free time.
During my internship at Shorty’s skateboards, I met my mentor, David Flores and he invited me to be part of the group show he was putting together at his boutique that he runs with his friend in Santa Barbara.
I sold some art to local artist during the opening and everything kind of took off from there. Eventually I started to showcase my work in galleries in L.A. and it became my full time gig. I never thought I would be a full time artist but now I really enjoy what I do and feel lucky to be in such a position.
Where do you find inspiration and how does it reflect your work?
I think the inspiration is all around us; we just have to be in the mental state to be ready for them when they appear. Being around artists always motivates me to better my craft and helps me to up my game. Especially the experience that I just shared with my friends from Japan was really refreshing and inspiring to me. I always work alone, so to be sharing my studio space and working together and live painting at the opening was so much fun for me. Watching 7 artists expressing in their unique way was such a great experience.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up around 8 or 9, check my email and make breakfast.
Usually start work around 10 or 11, and then work all day till 2am or so.
I take breaks in between to eat, to go for run, and to read, but most days I’m in my studio working on a project.
What are you reading, listening or watching at the moment?
I just reread, “Sputnik Sweetheart” by Haruki Murakami.
I discovered “The Uncluded” last month and I have been listening to a lot in my studio.
I have been watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” lately, I have been fan of “Seinfeld” but never spent time to watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” but I’m really enjoying it.
If you could collaborate with anyone on an art project, who/what would it be and why?
Because that’s my team and it’s so much fun to paint with them. 🙂
If you could give some advise to your teenage self, what would it be?