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Yoh Nagao (Tokyo, Japan)

Welcome to the colourful, psychedelic and bizarre universe of this irreverent young Japanese illustrator

The work of Yoh Nagao is so irreverent and skewed that we just had to get some of it up on Dazed Digital after he paid a visit to Dazed Towers with his portofolio. In between regaling us with a twisted tale of an ex-tutor's love for his cat, we discovered that he had made quite a name for himself in Europe already and was hoping to head for the Big Apple next. Suffice to say, Yoh Nagao is a talent to keep an eye open for in 2010...


... your work all about?

They are sometimes mental pictures, sometimes fictions that are based on real episodes from my life. But they're not serious.

... the next great art movement going to be?
I don't know, I think any major movement will come for a while. I think style will return to basics.

... the most satisfying thing about working in collage?
It's the moment when I cut the piece perfectly and fit it to painting or drawing. Currently, my style is a bit more about drawing and painting than collage. I like seeing whether the choice of the collage parts has been successful or failed much later on.

....the best piece of advice you've ever heard?
"Do not spend your days indifferently. Encounter more exciting people somewhere else, then make your life more fun." I'm not sure this is completely same as I heard it!  Actually, this was from my mother about three years ago, when I was working for a company as day time job... very boring.

... the most important thing for an artist to remember?
No matter how difficult the situation you are in, you have to follow to the pure and honest heart of your creation. Then you have to enjoy it extremely. Otherwise, you never change anything.

... the most inspiring thing you've ever seen?
When Tadanori Yokoo did a lecture at my university. He talked about cats most of the time... so seriously! It was about he how the cat is free and doesn't care about other stuff. He has some cats as pets, so he knows about cats very well. And he also said, "Cat is really good, dog isn't. I wanna be like a cat!" His story was inspiring things in two ways, one is paying attention to something ordinary around you – if you see it carefully again then you can find more interesting points or new information. Then other one is that he was concentrating too much on talking about the cat, so he forgot the time and the lecture time needed to be extended. He showed us he was like a cat during that time – concentration makes you really exciting, even with a cat story.

... the greatest book you have ever read? What did you love about it?
I really don't read books. Seriously, books only make me sleepy.

... the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I got up to lots of stupid mischief when I was kid. I wold put long tape n the road sticky-side up and throw fireworks into somebody's property, and at the traffic.

... the next big thing?
Moving to NY from my home town Nagoya city in Japan in 2010. I haven't got out from my home town yet.

... the point?
I travelled to New York by myself when I was 19 years old and I have decided to live in New York some day. I've lived in the same place so long. I really need big change in my life.