A skull and flower motif, dynamic pointillism, fine attention to detail, original calligraphy that transcends cultural borders. This is the long-awaited second Japan solo exhibition of USUGROW,a cult-favourite in the world’s underground art scene…
DIESEL ART GALLERY is pleased to announce ORGANIC CONTRACT ‒ Artworks of Usugrow, opening August 21st (Fri.) and running until November 13 (Fri.). Usugrow started working as an artist in the early 90′s, while engaged in the underground music scene. Through art related to music, skate culture, and apparel design, Usugrow’s artistic activity steadily expanded worldwide. His work couples a dynamic and delicate pointillism and line work depicting a motif of skulls and flowers, with an original calligraphic style developed over years and overflowing with a feeling of statelessness. He takes skulls, which typically bear a negative connotation, and draws them from a different perspective as a thing of beauty; and he takes letters, something that people come in contact with routinely every day, and adds to them an extraordinary sensation and feeling of elation. Those who set foot in this space Usugrow creates may each find their own new sense of value and beauty in this feeling of discomfort.
Usugrow’s first solo exhibition in Japan in 10 ten years, this large-scale exhibition will allow a peek into the artist’s process, displaying rough sketches, in addition to nearly 40 artworks, including Usugrow’s signature pointillism style, as well as calligraphy, and a new ink brush style.
The 90′s that Usugrow started working in were a time when the internet had not yet spread. Bands sent each other demo tapes through the mail, manuscripts and papers were sent by fax, the patched together black and white concert flyers were mass copied in copy machines. The illustrations and shirts Usugrow made, he sold in person. Despite limited communication tools, Usugrow steadily grew a core fan base, and as he gained experience and recognition, he leapt from the frame called the “underground” into the world art scene.
The people who had known Usugrow from the time he was drawing nothing but flyers had of course seen his artwork countless times. Surely many fans picked up on the fact that Usugrow’s art did not rely on cheap shock tactics; rather, it delicately wove several subtle elements into one massive, cohesive story. Those perceptive enough to notice this undoubtedly were drawn into Usugrow’s grand world view from that moment onward. Although Usugrow’s chance to display his artworks domestically came in the form of a group exhibition, he went on to have solo exhibitions overseas in North America, South America, Oceania, and Europe. It has been 10 years since Usugrow’s last solo exhibition in Japan, held in Sendai in 2005 and independently planned.
From the start, Usugrow never got caught up in putting out his art in only one way, instead working in a variety of mediums such as live painting, murals, and music-related activity. He places his emphasis on working with others and drawing in the audience. His art exhibitions evoke the feeling of a concert, displaying precise, skillful illustrations (Stillness), alongside a fluid calligraphy that brings elation to a common activity (Movement). The resulting space, a display of Usugrow’s countless art styles, calls forth an extraordinary feeling.
“I used to draw skulls before because they just look cool, but things have changed recently. There is no more interesting motif than a skull, and I think they fit my philosophy. A skull is a symbol of death, but it also represents a life at the same time. A skull is not originally a skull from the beginning. You lived, died, and became a skull. I want to treat a skull more beautifully as a symbol of universal nature in everyday life. Isn’t it good to have a beautiful skull?” (LTRHDS Letterheads interview excerpt)
Works on display can be purchased at DIESEL ART GALLERY – www.diesel.co.jp/art