Japanese Pop Art Posters
a talented 24-year-old graphic designer with hopes and dreams of becoming an artist, Tadanori Yokoo found its way to Tokyo in 1960, in the same way the town was erupting into municipal disobedience. His time had been perfect: some thing was in the atmosphere; Japan’s youth were feeling troublesome and so was Yokoo. Blending Andy Warhol’s pop and Peter Max’s psychedelia with standard Japanese woodblock prints, generally ukiyo-e, their commercial work – primarily posters for theater productions and movie releases – became crazed artistic poems, items of pure creative expression that had small related to the topic matter. His subversive, autobiographical and playful design (a 1967 poster for play John Silver features an apology to the director for finishing the artwork belated) immediately chimed with Tokyo’s developing counterculture, and Yokoo soon discovered himself at the epicentre of all things avant-garde, working together with scandalous writer Yukio Mishima, theatre radical Shuji Terayama as well as starring in Nagisa Oshima’s agitprop movie Diary of a Shinjuku Thief.
After a vacation to ny in 1967, in which Yokoo had been introduced to Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, the West woke around Yokoo’s inimitable aesthetic. Through the Beatles and world, Wind & Fire to Santana and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, he became the go-to musician for far-out rock bands; he lent his dreamy visuals to a poster for Roger Corman’s acid B-movie The Trip; and, in 1972, he was honoured with a solamente show at MoMA. Today, with a museum of contemporary art in Kobe called after him, the 79-year old indulges in his childhood dream of artwork canvases.Koshimaki-Osen, 1966Koshimaki-Osen, 1966 © Tadanori Yokoo
When did you realize that imagemaking had been your own future?
During my last year at senior school I won first award for a poster design for a textile festival, that has been then imprinted and place on show into general public. I made a decision to take advantage of the chance and two many years later on I became a graphic designer… but, truly, i wished to be a painter.
Arriving in Tokyo in 1960, the thing that was the atmosphere like?
The problem in Tokyo had been totally political. There is a large campaign from the Japan–US safety Treaty, and also the town was high in radical pupil motions. But there clearly was no real cultural movement among young adults back then.
Were you associated with any protests? Do you relate solely to that feeling of unrest?
I only got included as soon as: it absolutely was within the mayhem in front of the Parliament household. Searching straight back, developers were eventually privately of this organization but, myself, I happened to be against it.
Exactly how did American tradition commence to influence work?
After a few years, the governmental climate in Tokyo began to gradually calm down. By 1967, underground motions had been just starting to emerge and, thus, my internal Modernist totally vanished. In its location I began fusing my natural Japanese visual with American Pop Art, which produced all my major 60s work.