Keiko Aikawa “The desire to draw a painting that can stir imagination” 【Interview】

Image Keiko Aikawa and work: “an individual”

Keiko Aikawa, a writer who expresses human’s mixed feelings by portraits.

This time, we had Keiko Aikawa, a painter working at Niigata Prefecture, talk about his own work and character.   

The present style emerged when I tried not to make the paintings’ expressions read

Image Work: “lonely lonely”

If there is any concept of the two works that are put on the Initial Gallery, could you tell us about that?

“Lonely lonely” is a well-memorized work because it was the first painting that I changed the style.

Since I decide the image or structure while drawing rather than settling it at the first place, I keep drawing and erasing over and over again, until I feel something touch my heart.

I try to visualize my image while drawing because I will get satisfied if I outline a sketch.
It’s the ideas which flash into my mind while drawing that makes me excited and amused.

Over my past works, I was painting portraits, but I didn’t like drawing faces since then.

I didn’t know how not to draw the feature, so I used to faint it.

Why didn’t you want to draw faces?

You will look at it if it has an expression, right?

If you meet someone’s eye, you follow it, which is easy to read.

It became this style when I thought of drawing a painting that can stir up people’s imagination.

Let me ask about the work “an individual”. Is there a specific model?

There’s not a particular model. The work comes from my image.

However, I do look at magazines which can help me with the position or structure.

At first, I draw it based on the reference and then from my imagination.

I have done some works where I drew a photographed model, but there is only a few.

 I want to announce that I act as a painter

Do you have any interesting stories of your childhood that is associated with painting, or things that you liked to do?

I liked to draw since I was little.

I remember being happy when I was praised by my nursery school teacher.

It was an ordinary girl that I painted that time.

Also, I was strongly influenced by manga.

I was always reading comic for girls when I was in elementary and junior high school.

I was constantly copying the comic for girls with a tracing paper.

At that time, I believed that it would improve my drawing skills and ability.

I loved the sense of achievement I could get when I was able to able to draw the same picture. So, I used to do that all day by myself.

When was it that you started to become a painter in earnest?

At university, I was in the design department and majored in painting, so that was when I entered the path towards painting.

Before majoring in painting, I was taking a computer design class, but I remember having a hard time since it didn’t suit me.

After being a third-year student at university, I got able to major in painting, and that was when I started learning it.

Although design always has a customer and there is a need to fulfil their demands, painting and art have more freedom and the artist can do whatever they want.
To that, I though that design meets me better.  

What did you do after graduating from university?

After graduation, I held some exhibitions with my colleagues who I was painting with since I was at university.

During my campus life, I held some exhibitions at the university’s gallery space with my voluntary members, but as I expected, it was different from owing a gallery to plan and display works by ourselves.

Could you tell us about your solo exhibition?

I held my first solo show at Niigata. To tell the truth, I was scared at first.

Instagram wasn’t spread well yet and I wasn’t familiar with twitter. So, I couldn’t advertise my exhibition that much.

My aim wasn’t to sell but was rather to announce my voice; “I work as a painter!”

Since I’m always drawing, I become desperate to show my paintings when it’s good.

Do you control the pace of your project?

I had never thought about my production pace.

Since I have my job, I keep working on it in my spare time.

It only takes about two to three days to finish one painting if it goes well.

I can draw it when I’m on a roll, but I can’t come up with anything when I’m not.

I have a sense of feeling that my work went well when it finishes at a point where I haven’t put that much hand.

Have you ever worked under pressure to produce an exhibition?

I do have.

When it says, “20 new work displayed” on the newspaper or magazine and the gallery asks me how much I will exhibit, I can’t afford saying, “I will exhibit 20!”, so that’s why I get pressed for time.

I draw every day, so basically, I assign my daily works that I have been working for to those exhibitions.

Also, I think it is the same with all of you, but I try not to exhibit the same work at the same place.

I consider it a waste to exhibit the same work. Isn’t it better to display a new one if you’re going to display the same?

Is there anything you do when you want to refresh from your job?

I used to be in a band because I liked music.

I love singing and playing the guitar and base.

At the atelier, I often sing while playing it.

Also, I always put music on while doing my work.

 It would be better if people can feel art closer

In the future, is there anything that you want to work on such as exhibitions in metropolitan areas or abroad?

I do want to do a solo exhibition at Tokyo since I ‘ve only done a group one.

Talking about the activities abroad, I would like to set up an art fair if I have the opportunity.

I’m interested in working abroad since I sometimes get likes in Instagram from foreign users.

You’re sending out information by Instagram but are there any responses?

I’m not that good at using SNS but I think it is better to use it in the process of gaining fans.

There’re only few authors who use SNS through their work activity, aren’t they?

However, I’ll keep using Instagram since I got some offers for a job through it.

Frankly, what is your impression of the initial gallery?

I wondered what investment and art is when I first heard it.

I do think it is better to buy a painting after looking at the real thing.
However, it will probably be OK if it is an author that you like or have once bought because you can grasp how it will look like.

It seems that the initial gallery looks through the record of activity, which makes my heartbeat quickly as an author.

What do you think of the art gallery’s conditions in Japan?

I’m keener on the view from the people who are not authors.

I assume that there are people who like art but have never been to an art gallery.

It is true that there is a somewhat formal atmosphere, so I hope that it will be a place where people can enter freely.

Come to think of it, a gallery café called VUCA was a place where you could feel art more closely.

There are people who consider art as noble thing, but there are works which are not that much expensive.
I hope that art becomes an entertainment that everyone can enjoy and feel close.

See more of Keiko Aikawa’s works

>Initial Gallery(イニシャルギャラリー)

Initial Gallery(イニシャルギャラリー)