STUSSY INTERVIEWS JAPANESE PSYCHEDELIC POP ART LEGEND KEIICHI TANAAMI
In support of their current product collaboration with legendary 77-year-old Japanese psychedelic pop artist Keiichi Tanaami, streetwear kings Stüssy visited Tanaami in his home for an enlightening discussion of his life, artwork, and childhood experiences that forever influenced his beautiful, trippy visions.Keiichi Tanaami was born in 1936 as the eldest son of a textile wholesaler in Tokyo. He was 9 years old when Tokyo was bombed during the Great Tokyo Air Raid of World War II in 1945. Images seared into the back of his mind at this time would become major motifs in his art works: roaring American bombers, searchlights scanning the skies, firebombs dropped from planes, the city a sea of fire, fleeing masses, and his father’s deformed goldfish swimming in its tank, flashes from the bombs reflecting in the water.
at the time.In 1999, a retrospective of Tanaami’s works from the ‘60s was held at Gallery 360º in Tokyo. The exhibit was praised highly by Yamataka EYE (Boredoms) and KAWS, cultural leaders of the new generation born after the “60s, and as a result, Tanaami’s works once again became popular amongst youth culture. Since 2005, Tanaami has been presenting new works that fall in the realm of fine art. In these works, he continues to manifest images from his personal memories and from his dream world — personified goldfish, deformed characters, rays of light, helical pine trees, fantastical architecture, young girls — through the various mediums of painting, sculpture, film and furniture.Tanaami has worked as a professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design since 1991, where he has helped bring up young new artists such as Tabaimo. Recent exhibits include “Day Tripper” at Art & Public in Geneva (2007), “SPIRAL” at Galerie Gebt. Lehmann in Berlin (2008), “Kochuten” at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (2009), “Still in Dream” at Frieze Art Fair (2010) and “No More War” at Art 42 Basel (2011).
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