Conjuring Bold Memories Out of Fine Lines — Interview With Takashi Nakamura
Memories are more likely to hang by a thread as time elapses, but when thousands of fine lines are composed to form a slice-of-life, emotive painting, it connects us to the past more strongly and intimately than ever. Meet the magician who conjures up beautiful recollections using pencils and pens (only!). Inspired by cartoons, Japanese illustrator Takashi Nakamura recreates snippets of everyday life with an observant eye and impeccable attention to detail. Here, the eclectic music lover shares the importance of holding at least one exhibition every year, and how he reconnects with himself through the creative process.
AWW: What do you want to explore and bring to people through your work?
Takashi Nakamura: I just want to paint as many works as possible and awaken dormant memories in people who see them. I would be happy if it brings back the feeling of air in the forgotten landscapes when you see my paintings.
AWW: How did you find your passion for illustration and develop your current style?
Takashi: I have been painting for a long time. It is very familiar to me and I can relax and enjoy myself in the process, so I have continued to do so.
Pencils and pens are the art materials that are really close to my heart; and they have directly informed my current style. When I was a child, I watched a lot of cartoons and animated TV shows, which has also influenced my style greatly.
AWW: Can you walk us through your creative process?
Takashi: I like to take pictures as an inspiration for my motifs. I often combine several scenes and subjects, and draw them in the same painting.
First, I make the rough sketches repeatedly two or three times, before drafting with a mechanical pencil. After that I draw and finish the work with pens.
I wouldn’t plan everything at the beginning. I decide on the colours and parts to be drawn out depending on my feelings at that time. Sometimes I change the draft during the process.
AWW: How do you stay motivated?
Takashi: I keep myself motivated by listening to my favourite music, looking at other people's paintings, and reading novels. Nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain my motivation sometimes. So I try to hold a private exhibition once a year, and I keep painting with that as my goal.
I always look forward to making a collection of my works for the exhibition. It may be like making an LP album for a musician. I want people to see my paintings, but I am not good at meeting and talking to them, so I get nervous every time. But it is the only chance to have people see my original paintings in person, so I want to keep doing it.
AWW: Can you show us your studio or work desk? What are the 3 things that have inspired you most?
Takashi: I listen to music a lot. Whether it is old or new, playing on the radio, the internet, or CDs. I try to listen to everything without having any specific genre in mind. Lately, I've been enjoying Django Reinhardt's album Djangology. I also like foreign folk songs and old songs from Japan. Painting is often monotonous work, so it's very important for me to be taken on an inner journey by music.
I love reading, especially fiction. I like to spend time imagining myself being in the story of the book.
Painting is what I do, so when I look at others’ works, I think about my own. Of course, there are many drawings that I like, but sometimes I get tired of looking at them. It is easier for me to be inspired by creative works other than paintings.
To find out more about Takashi Nakamura, please visit the artist’s IG account | @takasinakamura83
All images provided by Takashi Nakamura.