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Kota Toyoda Gallery Talk

STAR CHILDREN" is a solo exhibition currently being held at "chignitta space" in Kyomachibori. The gallery talk by Kodai Toyoda, a painter, was held at the opening of the exhibition. Please also enjoy the video.


Kota Toyouda

Born in 1991 in Osaka. Started working as an artist at the age of 15. In 2013, he held solo exhibitions "Space Circus" at Slope Gallery in Tokyo and Digmeout Art & Diner in Osaka. In 2014, he participated in "smART project" in California and created a mural painting. In 2015, he held the traveling exhibition "Plain" at Slope Gallery and Digmeout Art & Diner, starting with Ron Herman Cafe Minatomirai in Yokohama. In 2017, he held his first overseas solo exhibition "Home At Last" at Nepenthes New York. In 2020, he will hold an exhibition "STAR CHILD" at BEAMS JAPAN B GALLERY.


gallery talk

Mr. Toyoda, it has been a while.

I am sure you all know who is here, but could you please introduce yourself to everyone who is watching the insta-live?

My name is Kotai Toyoda. I am a painter. I draw pictures of starry skies. Osaka is my hometown, so I started this traveling exhibition "STAR CHILDREN" at Chignitta.

Painter, Kodai Toyoda. That's nice. Could you tell us the short history of how you decided to become a "painter" in the first place?

Toyoda: I liked to draw pictures since I was a child, but I didn't really want to be a painter or anything.When I was 15 years old, I had an experience in which Taro Okamoto came to me in a dream and kept saying the power word "revolt" to me. I thought, "Oh, I see. Then I suddenly felt the urge to create something other than Pokémon, or to draw a work of art.

Isn't it amazing to hear in a dream a word you don't know, "rebel"? Taro Okamoto, it's like you really came down.

TOYODA: Yes, I remembered it so vividly.

You must have had a revelation from Taro Okamoto.

Toyoda: I hope so.

Did you know that Taro Okamoto existed?

Toyoda: I knew about the Tower of the Sun because I grew up in Osaka, and until then I had only had a scary image of the Tower of the Sun from photographs, but after seeing it in a dream, my perception of it changed dramatically, and I began to understand it as a sensation, or perhaps it just felt right to me. I was painting, but as I absorbed music, movies, and various other things, I ended up with what I am painting now. Looking back, the theme of starry skies was in my painting from the beginning.

When I saw a painting by (Jackson) Pollock, I tried to see if I could use it as an homage to express my own painting, and it turned out to be a great fit. I love lip-slime, and I wondered if I could use it as a sampling technique for my paintings, so I tried Pollock's method, and it worked.

Kodai-san, there was a moment when you decided to become a painter as a professional occupation.

Toyoda: After graduating from high school, I took the entrance exam to Kyoto Seika University to study Japanese painting, but I failed with flying colors. Laughs.

But I did not have the option of applying to other schools or becoming a ronin, so I just wanted to live and die painting. At that time, I was offered a chance to exhibit at "digmeout ART & DINER," and the experience of actually having customers look at and buy my paintings made me realize that I wanted to make this my career.

space circus exhibiton「space circus」at digmeout ART&DINER

That's right. digmeout was your first solo exhibition.

Toyoda: Before that, my father is a painter and designer, and we had our first father-son exhibition at a place called "SLOPE GALLERY" in Tokyo, and my solo exhibition was at "digmeout ART & DINER". My first solo exhibition was titled "SPACE CIRCUS. It was the beginning of my life as a painter.

At that time, the picture of the circus tent was huge. Normally, in a first solo exhibition, you would try out a lot of small paintings, but I remember thinking, "What kind of a bold guy does something like this" when a huge painting arrived.

Toyoda: I don't think I knew what I was getting into. I didn't even think about the size of the wall, I just thought, "This painting must be this size," and painted it on the spur of the moment.

Star Window(SILVER)

Sasanuki: The title of this exhibition is "STAR CHILDREN," and the theme of "stars" is the message, but "stars" was in the theme from the beginning when you started drawing.

Toyoda: Dripping is a momentary process, but I feel that it contains emotion, energy of the moment, and groove, and I think it fits the act of painting the starry sky. Also, the endlessness of the universe, and the fact that there are so many things that we can see but don't understand. I feel like these things can express what is inside my mind, and I think that is a major motif I want to write about.

Sasanuki: I am also happy that there are so many colors. We do various types of exhibitions at Chignitta, but I would say that there is a wide range. The last exhibition was "Calligraphy," and this time I felt the momentum of a sprouting living creature. I think this color must also have a great significance in Kodai's work.

Toyota: Yes, it does. It is very important. I think that everything I paint comes from my own experience, and color is definitely linked to that, and I just want to "make it feel good to the eye.

I really like cheap toys, and today's sweater is no different, but I often get inspired by these kinds of things with color. I hope that when people look at my paintings, they will feel comfort and relaxation. I want to send positive energy to the viewer.

round and round

Sasanuki: Just by looking at them, each one is a fantasy or a story. Also, I felt a sense of relief when I saw these paintings, as the days in Corona have been passing by in an indifferent manner, and recently there have been many colorless days.

Toyoda: As Sasanuki-san said, I also like to go for a walk in the midst of my daily routine, and this mountain scenery is actually from my hometown, Ikoma. It is in the middle of the countryside, lol. When I take a walk, I want to capture the moment when an ordinary landscape looks beautiful or lovely depending on my state of mind, so I add colors that match the scene.


Sasanuki: This exhibition has also evolved from "STAR CHILD" to "STAR CHILDREN" and has more children. LOL!

Toyoda: It's also a fancy phrase, but I wanted to create the feeling of an increase in numbers as the exhibition made the rounds. Also, the motif of angels was newly introduced this time, so I wanted to draw a lot of angels, which is why I chose this title.

Your previous works had the image of "pop abstract paintings," and this is the first time you have included angels in your works.

Toyoda: I was asked to draw an angel for the month of December for the FM802 calendar, and I wanted to draw an angel, so I drew an angel shooting a shooting star bow and arrow. That was the first time. Until then, I had been drawing abstract pictures, or pictures where you could sort of tell what was depicted by looking at the title, but now that I had an angel, the content became more concrete.

warm hand

With the appearance of angels, there is now a wider range of abstraction, such as the image of angel wings and the motif of angel hands in this painting.

Toyoda: The hands can also look like wings, can't they? It's more concrete, but still retains my touch.

The window motif is also interesting. The frame gives an interesting sense of "inside and outside," or how do you create this?

Toyoda: This looks like one piece when you look at it from the front, but when you turn it over, four pieces of the campus are fitted together. The frame itself was custom-made by a furniture craftsman in Tanba Sasayama.

You must be Mr. Aranishi. (Hiroto Aranishi, representative of the woodworking and living store "6" ROCK)

Toyota: That's right.

As far as the frames are concerned, both father and son are custom-made by Mr. Aranishi, aren't they?

Toyoda: That's right. I have them change the color of the finish and so on.

You mentioned Mr. Aranishi's name, but I think that your father, Koji Toyoda of Palm Graphics, is also a big influence on you.

Toyoda: As for painting, my father is in the business, so he taught me about painting materials, like "there are these kinds of materials" or "there are sprays," but he never gave me any advice about what I should paint, and I think that was very good, rather than teaching me something strange and losing my originality. I was taught that it is important to stretch out and do things freely. They have been very supportive.

Sasanuki: When we introduce your exhibition on Chignitta's Instagram, the number of "likes" increases dramatically. This is not only because there are many fans of Mr. Kota who support him, but also because even people who do not know Mr. Kodai think "I like" straight away when I upload images of the flyer and his works. Rather than thinking about it too hard and trying to understand it in their heads, they just look at the pictures and say "nice," "cute," or "the colors are beautiful. It's like a pure "like" from a child looking at a picture, and the "likes" increase a lot.

Toyoda: That makes me very happy. I have been conscious of that for the past few years. I have a clear meaning in my mind for creating artwork, but I want people who take a quick look at my pictures to think "cute," "beautiful," or "soothing" in addition to the essence of the picture, or I want them to receive my work with that kind of feeling. I am glad to hear you say so, and I can sleep well today. LOL.


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