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MURKOS interview

We are pleased to bring you an interview with MURKOS, who will hold a solo exhibition at Chignitta Space from November 3 (holiday Thursday) to November 13 (Sunday).

We interviewed Murkos on a sunny autumn afternoon just before her solo exhibition. Please read on to enjoy her personality, stories from her student days, and other details that will help you enjoy the solo exhibition in all directions.



Graduated from Osaka University of Arts with a major in oil painting. Currently based in Osaka, she exhibits her works in solo and group exhibitions and also does a lot of client work for key visuals of commercial facilities and product creation. She specializes in portraits and still-life paintings with vivid colors and light touch lines.
<Artist’s Instagram>


I discovered that oil painting is fun.

— You are an illustrator and painter, so tell us the story of how you started your career in the art world.

I went to a public school in Osaka that had an art department, and in the first grade I studied drawing and the basics, majoring in oil painting. In my first year of high school, I tried oil paints for the first time and found it very interesting to realize that I could dilute paints with oil, which was something I had never felt before. After graduation, I entered the oil painting course at the Osaka University of Arts. My teacher at the university introduced me to a painter named Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and I was attracted to his style.

— How was entering Osaka University of Arts? Did it further expand your world?

That is, I was more worried about my negative attitude toward my own personality than about painting. It seems childish looking back, but when I first entered the university, all I did was compare myself with the students around me, and I suffered from self-loathing. Why am I still moping around? There must be a different way of living, a different way of thinking, but what is it? Just as I was searching for answers, I received a letter from an alumnus of a children’s outdoor activity program I had participated in as a child, asking if I would be interested in becoming a volunteer leader for a camp to be held in July.

It was my turning point

— Did they call on you when they heard you were having difficulties with MURKOS? No. It was just a coincidence. Every year the recruitment of leaders was just put in the city’s PR, but this was the only time it was necessary, so they sent letters to the past participants and I received them. At the time, I was fed up with my own personality and was looking for a way out, so I thought, “This is it! I thought, “This is it! It was a completely different activity from art, but I learned a lot from it. — What is the outdoor activity program like? And what do the leaders do? As part of a learning activity for children, we had to reach a distance of more than 150 km from Fukui Prefecture to Osaka Prefecture by foot over a week. It was quite a challenging program, but when we reached the destination, we felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Leaders are trained to ensure the safety of children and families, as well as physical strength, energy, teamwork, and self-discipline in the preparatory stage.

— A child walks from Fukui Prefecture to Osaka Prefecture? That must be quite a training for the leader who leads them…I can’t imagine that with the cute MURKOS. I have already experienced the harshness of the training as I participated in it as a child. Among the mental training and experiences in the leadership training, I was influenced by the training called “Initiative Game”. The game is designed to learn through the events that occur in the game and was conducted as a training to know each other, to build relationships, and to welcome children by “valuing yourself and others equally,” and “creating a place where you can be yourself as you are. In the game, participants are given physical limitations in the simulated experience of not being able to use their legs, eyes, etc., and they inform those around them of their limitations and share their feelings and concerns with each other in a collaborative process. At the same time, an atmosphere in which people did not have to talk if they did not want to was also important. This went beyond training for outdoor activities, and I realized that I would later apply my thinking and pseudo-experience to real-life experiences. Concentrating on leadership training alongside my academic work during the summer of my sophomore year of college, which I spent in agony, was an opportunity for self-discipline.

— What did you find out or change? One of the biggest things I changed was the color of my artwork. Until then, I had been creating works in dark colors, but one day at a campsite, I had an epiphany: “There are a lot of artists who use dark colors, and their works are amazing. There are many artists who use dark colors and their works are amazing. But I don’t have much experience yet, and I don’t have deep thoughts. So who would be interested in painting pictures that are so dark and withdrawn inside?” I woke up inside myself. From there, I started using brighter colors, and suddenly it became easier to live, and I was more motivated to go to school and create.

Painting is something that guides me

— That was an important turning point in your production. The bright colors of MURKOS are characteristic of your work and attract many people. Now, tell us about your production from this point on. I am often asked why I draw women, but it is because I enjoy drawing women more than my obsession with the subject. It is especially interesting to be able to flesh out the body and draw the form freely, and I am attracted to things that are not in a fixed shape, but rather in an irregular form, which is perhaps my motivation for drawing people. I place great importance on composition, and I enjoy freely creating human forms and facial expressions. I do not draft the lines until later, so I decide on the color of the hair first, then paint the eyes and mouth here, the arms like this, and the body facing this way, as I see fit. In portraying people, I do not want to say “this is how it should be,” but rather I want the viewer to feel free, and I want to paint expressions that change in appearance from moment to moment. The most important thing with color is to “not make a clash”. When I want to bring a different hue next to the one I am currently painting, I mix the colors with each other little by little, blending them together to the extent that they are not apparent. I believe this feeling is similar to human relationships. By knowing the differences between us and others and leaning into each other, we can gradually fit in without repelling each other. Mixing colors is a feeling of knowing others. Then I finish it with a line so that you are not overly conscious of the colors and shapes.

— I think it is MURKOS’s particularity to put the outline line at the end, but is it a finishing touch because you have something in mind? I learn a lot when I paint, and it is connected to “pseudo-experience”. Just as the act of coloring teaches me to know people, the act of putting lines in a picture at the end gives me a realization that creates something different. For example, there is a sense of discomfort that something is different when put into words. When I add lines, I sometimes feel such discomfort, but it is not because I am not able to draw what I want, but because this is the picture I am able to draw because I am the person I am now. I sometimes learn such a feeling from the relationship between color and line, and I enjoy drawing them.

A Sense of ‘Consciousness of the Invisible'’

— For this solo exhibition, you will pick up oil paint again, which you have been away from since you graduated from college. You also try 3D, AR, and NFT. I think the expansion of expression is wonderful for your first solo exhibition. Please tell us about the theme of your solo exhibition and your aspirations.

I had stayed away from oil paintings because I felt I could not express my current style in oil paintings. However, at the very first meeting this time, you suggested that I should try oil painting since I have a background in oil painting. In fact, I discovered that the colors in oil painting are more beautiful than I had expected. I have wanted to create three-dimensional works for a long time, so when you suggest that I should try it , I tried it. A certain volume of my works will be shown at my solo exhibition.

The theme of this solo exhibition is “the feeling of being aware of the invisible. Everything has a story leading up to this point, but it can pass by in a series of visible and invisible, conscious and unconscious. By some chance or accident, you may become aware of that thing that day or want to know about someone else. In addition to imagining, we can now easily learn about the fragments of “that day” that someone left behind with our smartphones. From this inspiration, I decided to paint the oil painting in two layers. After finishing the painting, I would apply the base coat again and paint a new painting on top. The first painting, which is no longer visible, can be viewed in AR as a work of NFT. I would be happy if you could enjoy my works from multiple perspectives, including physical painting, 3D, AR, and NFT, and feel free to enjoy them. I also hope that many people will see this exhibition and that it will lead to the next one.


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