From Japan comes as always good stuff: Akira Kurosawa, Godzilla, Hayao Miyazaki, panties vacuum, kigurumi – everything that happens in that realm so far, sooner or later comes and renews the imagination of the decadent West. Japan “land of fools”, is the home of Tetsunori Tawaraya. Very young cartoonist and illustrator of some screaming bizarre things that I decided to interview after seeing some of his works at the fair Lucca Comics & Games at the stand of Michele Nitri’s Hollow Press. With this brief english speaking transoceanic interview I hope that italian readers fall in love with is work as me.
Hello Tetsunori! At first I would like to ask you about your italian experience with Michele Nitri, who decided to publish your comic in the magazine UDWFG. What did you think of Italy and the Italian comics before to e-meet Michele?
I used to be a movie freak, and loved watching Dario Argento. Americans tend to show how creepy they can get, but Argento reaches the extraordinary realistic of dead. It’s stunning. I always have to rewind and pause to see the great composition. Then i got into Sergio Leone. He knows how to control silence. I’ve never seen any movies that has more influencial music than his movie. Of course Morricone did a great score, but Leone put right music on right spot. It’s incredible. Unfortunately, not so many italian comix has been translated to japanese.
Recently I see your originals works at Lucca Comics fair. What about your so minimal/obsessive tecnique?
Sometimes adding dynamics is tricky, a lot of my works need extra chunk of it. Adding too much details make whole page worse easily. I usually draw too dense, if i do the same on background, it makes everything blur. So, i usually pay attension on contrast of density very carefully.
What about monstrosity and deformation? It’s possible that the rich, complex folklore of Japan influenced your works? Does the occidental’one influenced your work too?
Well, japaense folklore totally inspired me unconciously. There are so many weird tradition and horror tales in country side. I used to go to the creepiest spots like, abandoned Hospitals, Cemetary, Tunnel where they cause accident. Tales like a swamp monster Kappa and a demon in the snow Namahage are 110% mutants. They are famous in Tohoku region (distretto nord est di Honshu ndr) where i grew up. I like occidental culture as well. I’m trying to make creations with no trace of nationality, so i really don’t limit the origin of my influence.
Sorry but i must ask you wich manga do you like when you are a very very young boy?
I’ve read so many… I remember the first character i drew in kindergarten was Kitarou from Gegege no Kitarou (in Italia Kitaro dei Cimiteri ndr). Read everything like CoroCoro Comic, BonBon Comic, from Weekly Shonen Jump to Osamu Tezuka stuff… (tutte diffusissime riviste giapponesi per ragazzi ndr)
Tell me more about japanese artists: there are some japanese illustrators that you like? And why?
Osamu Tezuka will be the one. Remarkable story telling, and natural skills of illustration. Especially the details of weird desease, and mutants are cool.
In this regard I would like to ask you something about your imagination. Usually what goes through your head:-)? The world of the dream that kind of influence has on your work?
Ummm, maybe it’s not true. I barely dream. And most of time i forget it. I used to grow up in the country side, and schools were very far away from the house. I always think about funny stories on the sidewalk.
What do you do when you don’t draw?
I’m in 2 bands and do solo project. 2up (pronounced up up) is the duo with tons of energy on punk-house element since 2002 | 2uptacos.com | Hangaku is the Synth punk duo started last year | hangakunoise.co/ | and, my solo project is called Vastieu Ramen | vastieuramen.bandcamp.com | So, pretty tight schedule with all the projects.
Your works are ballonless, but you play music – what is for your “the silence”, what hides in it?
Silence is in the bathroom and train. I definitely need silence when i work on lyrics, or comic script. Ideas behind the silence.
I read that you’re working with Le Dernier Cri, you can tell us how did this collaboration come about?
When Pakito (Le Dernier Cri) came to Japan in 2013, i went to see him because i’ve known his silkscreen for years. He seemed interested in my work, so i went to visit him in Marseille in January 2014, and we thought it’s good idea to make something together
An european as me is really fascinated by the East, in particular by Japan. But what do you think about the Western Civilization?
I’ve never been to Italy, but visited France and Germany, it was great experience. It’s very interesting that they are into japanese animation these days. Renaissance meets Anime seems very intense.
You move between Tokyo and San Diego. What is the difference for an artist between these two cities?
You have to call yourself “an artist” to show your work in japan, but anyone can show works at many places in U.S. Street art quality is very high, and respected in America. San Diego has mixed culture with Mexico, since it’s so close from the border. It’s more unique in a way.
What about your next works?
Solo book release will be on a few publishers. Color Code (Canada), Le Dernier Cri (France) and more. I’m in the part of group exhibition called Moving currated by Manuel Donada. Whole exhibition moves to different city monthly. NYC – October, Helsinki – November, Miami – December. I think it will continue moving to many more cities in 2015 too.
Can you imagine your life from now to twenty years?
I will be doing the same shit but less hair.
And the world from now to 200 years?
They will start shooting the pod of ashes to outerspace. No land is available for deads anymore. People pray on the satellite monitor, or pray to the sky.
What’s really underground in Japan?
Kuruu Crew (Psychedelic noise band) – Masaru Aikawa (Artist from artist warehouse Highti in the east of Tokyo).