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Kanji Kohanda Puts Bespoke Art to Denim

We speak to the London-based Japanese street artist who will be hand painting pockets of Evisu jeans sold tomorrow.

Japanese graphic artist Kanji Kohanda  is one of the many that plays a part in dictating how the art scene changes, keeping street culture in check. Keeping it real from the streets of Japan to London town, he talks to Dazed about Japanese influence, the comeback of Orbital, and why the London art scene is one of the best in the world...

Dazed Digital: How did you first get involved with graphic street art?
Kanji Kohanda: I purely thought it was cool. I was young and started getting interested in fashion, skate, and music. Mostly fashion. I opened up magazines and wanted to be like the people in them.

DD: How does the Japanese art scene influence your work?
Kanji Kohanda: I’m not 100% sure, but there are so many influences from outside Japan in so many different ways, be it culture, art, music, fashion. It also could be bit tricky sometimes as media is so strong and influences Japan. Quite often I find people think it´s good because of it´s on magazines or media, but it’s all about street.

DD: What do you think about the current street art scene in London?
Kanji Kohanda: It is definitely one of the best scenes in the world. I still haven´t been able to find the name, but since last year I’ve started seeing small flower stickers (sometimes heart, just recently) on walls, in lots of pastel colors. They’re very nice, who is this?! Anyone? I´m big fan of her! (I´m guessing it’s a her).

DD: Any other street artists if note that you admire?
Kanji Kohanda: One Japanese artists I like are Yoshitomo Nara and Tenmyouya Hisashi but others I like that are based in London are Kaws and Kiki San.

DD: Are you a fan of EVISU jeans?
Kanji Kohanda: Its a funny thing, I didn´t used to be but now yes for sure.

DD: Is it true you're not supposed to wash them?
Kanji Kohanda: Not true! Yes, I wash my jeans but not every week. Maybe once every 8 or 12 months?

DD: This event is happening at LA1 in Camden..are you a fan of Camden yourself?
Kanji Kohanda: Camden has own atmosphere so I would say yes. Secretly fan of Lock Tavern upstairs on Sunday, nice vibes. But I’m a fan of South to be honest.

DD: Whose style do you admire?
Kanji Kohanda: DJ Jellyfish(His name, James Smith from London) from Smash record. He’s smashing it up big time. Very inspiring. He doesn’t play anything, no rules. Very street in a way.

DD: Who are you listening to at the moment?
Kanji Kohanda: Anything really, lots of techno and German Techno..."Beardyman", "Carl Craig", "Vetiver", "Orbital".

DD: I know Orbital are playing at Sonar festival...
Kanji Kohanda: I was at Sonar festival last night! Orbital was inspiring me lots, it was amazing. They can still rock thousands of people. It felt very fresh and trendy. Shame I haven´t got into them much. That´s my homework when I go back to London, listen to Orbital!

DD: What fashion labels are you wearing right now?
Kanji Kohanda: "One",which is a brand new label, ‘Evisu, and  "Inoue Brothers". Look them up!

DD: Any signing out or up and coming projects, you want to mention?
Kanji Kohanda: "Scott Morrison, New Evisu project!!" and "Bread & Butter" in Berlin. I´m also painting canvas with "Macca 123", and the event at LA1 in Camden.

Kanji Kohanda will be painting the pockets of Evisu jeans sold on Friday June 26 from 11-4pm, at LA1 Clothing Shop, Chalk Farm, London.