Champ Interview
Tokyo, Japan


Joji Nakamura is perhaps one of Tokyo’s understated contemporary artists, helming an intuitive and subconscious-like approach to his artist expression of abstract scribbles, drawings, and most recently, paintings. Holding exhibitions in Clear Edition & Gallery, Tokyo and Pon-Ding Space in Taiwan, his latest works can also be found in United Arrows‘ Roppongi Store.

We spoke with Joji during his ‘Summer Show’ exhibition at So Gallery in Tokyo to talk more about his exploration with drawings and paintings, and his ongoing impulse to unconsciously draw, driven by his hand and intuition.


  What is your process when approaching a piece of paper, or canvas?

I just start to draw or paint with an unconscious intuition. I try to catch a moment when I feel like “Ok, this one is done.”  If I lose a moment, I start to thinking about (my drawings) too much and which kind of style I should be drawing and what people like, rather than following my own intuitive way.

The ‘Summer Show’ paintings had a stream of bold blue colour throughout each work. What attracts you to the colours you select to use in your work?

I started using colour from my last group show. I used red last time, so this time blue was new for me.
It might be too simple, but blue is one of my favourite colours and why I was drawn to it.


What are your main inspirations and influences for you and your artwork?

I get inspiration and influence from my favourite artists, and also music is an important and great inspiration for me.

Are you always feeling creative? Or do you have to be in a certain headspace?
Yes, I think I always seem to hold the right feeling .

What does the term, “artist” mean to you? 

It’s a difficult question. For me, making art is the only one thing that I really want to do.
So, I think that’s the meaning of a true artist.


What particular materials (pens, pencil) do you always use?

Pens, pencil, and I use acrylic paint with my hand .

Being based in Tokyo, what do you love most about living here?

 My friends are living in Tokyo that’s why.

You have a strong community here in Tokyo of fellow artist friends (also part of Clear Edition Gallery, Roppongi) such as Madsaki, Ken Kagami, Taku Obata.  How important is being part of a community here in Japan?

It is not so important for me. I mean, they are my friends, so I love to doing something together with them. But I don’t think I am necessarily in the community.



All photos: Champ