All art is D.I.Y. right? Well, unless you don’t make your artwork yourself (Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons––we know who you are and what you don't do). Not to discredit these art world darlings, of course: commanding an entire assembly line to produce a work of art is an admirable administrative feat in itself. But when you have nothing but creativity and willpower and are able to make something out of barely anything—turning base/banal materials into gold/art—you know you’re a certified alchemist. Such is the story of the Japanese artist Shoxxx, who is currently hosting “Japoneeeze Mayoneeeze” at Galerie Knoth & Krüger in the heart of Kreuzberg.
BAPs: What inspires you?
SHOXXX: Places with unique and funny D.I.Y. ideas: I like it when people use junk that they get from the streets and repurpose the products/materials in a "wrong" or unexpected way. This is why Berlin's chaotic streets with dumped furniture or strange stuff also bring me inspiration. This junk might be the best material to create works of art or works of whatever– gratis, the only one!
BAPs: Your favorite book is:
Shoxxx is not only an alchemist with her D.I.Y. aesthetics but also a puppet master and perhaps even an octopus. Ok, I’ll explain. With one arm she creates puppets (some of the cutest fluffy monsters you’ll find in Berlin) and with the other (seven?) she’s prolific in graphic design, illustration, screen printing, live animation, painting, music (a self-proclaimed amateur) and comics. Now, I did not conduct DNA experiments when I met her at the opening of “Japoneeze Mayoneeze,” but the number of ways her creativity mutates from one visual format to another is impressive—perhaps a by-product of the artistic freedom she’s experienced since moving to Berlin in 2005.
Part of Shoxxx's installation for "Japoneeeze Mayoneeeze" at Knoth & Krüger. Photo: C. Phillips
Shoxxx (real name: Akiko Matsuura), born in Hiroshima, shares with me that art in Japan contains a clear demarcation between the top one percent of already established art world titans (think Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara or Aida Makoto) and the struggling ninety-nine percent of artists attempting to grow an art career in the rather infertile soil that the Japanese societal and economical structure has created. Not much breathing space, you see, for that t rich creativity and production that only seems to blossom in middle grounds.