Wednesday, May 14, 2008


From commenter magwea, I'm happy to present this superb little video:
"Unofficial godfather of Same Hat Suehiro Maruo interviewed on French television and uploaded for your viewing pleasure."

In addition to a short interview with Uncle Maruo and footage from the Midori anime adaptation (and revealing footage of his studio and some sketches and uninked pages), the clip also features one of my all-time favorite artists, Tadanori Yokoo! Dude may rival Umezu in terms of old but productive scampy genius, and Yokoo's still producing really interesting paintings and work to this day. Oh yeah, and there is also an interview with Yoshitaka Amano, if he is more your thing. ENJOY!

Thanks again, magwea!

UPDATE: Reader ThatQuebecGuy has sent along a full translation of the French narration from this clip. What an awesomely generous thing to do. Thanks again for this!

(00:18 to 00:29) One of the most important minds behind the universe of Final Fantasy, for the video games fans, Yoshitaka Amano is a living god who introduced the whole world to Japanese art by bringing it into the digital age.

(00:36 to 00:49) His career debuted during the seventies with his work on television on such series as Maya the Bee. Today in Japan, Yoshitaka is selling more than one million of his drawings collections, his paintings and watercolours are displayed in museums throughout the planet.

(00:54 to 01:10) Yoshitaka Amano: For me the act of painting is like taking photos, what I want to say is that there is a parallel universe that exists and moves in front of me, more realistic that our reality, and I just need to try to capture it in my eyes and attempt to replace it in my picture frames.

(01:19 to 01:30) Fascinated by the universe of chivalry and medieval legends, Yoshitaka created the designs of numerous characters and settings for animated movies and series such as Angel's Egg, Vampire Hunter D and The Sandman novel.

(01:41 to 01:58) Yoshitaka Amano: I've always been attracted by the Celtic world; it's as if the Celt mythology has always existed inside me, I don't know if I unconsciously mixed the Celtic imagery with the one of the Japanese shogun, maybe, anyways those two imaginaries have a common point in sword fighting.

(02:21 to 02:40) Yoshitaka Amano: In a video game, the player will, so to speak, continue my work of world creation; it is his their job to assure the relay of my imaginary, everyone must work on his own universe. Me, I'm just the antenna that shows the way to the one playing, and if the gamer understands my painting than we're playing on the same orchestra.

(02:59 to 03:17) It's in Tokyo, a city who honors its creations, where Yokoo Tadanori, precursor of the graphical avant-garde, moved. Born in 36 he imposed himself in the art scene as soon as the sixties by inventing a style that combines the traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e art (woodblock prints) with pop-art, he was even nicknamed the Andy Warhol of Nippon.

(03:22 to 03:53) Yokoo Tadanori: What interested me at the time was to mix the motives of pre-modern Japan with the one of the pop-art. Already, at the end of 19th century, what we call the Meiji period here, there was an opening toward the cultural and artistic influences from Occident. In fact, I only continued this tradition of the mix by utilizing the motives of pop-art from the sixties.

(03:57 to 04:11) During the sixties Yokoo Tadanori was directing publicity and animated films. Here, he revisits the Yellow Submarine of The Beatles in a committed version where he denounces the Vietnam War, American Imperialism and Japanese Militarism.

(04:34 to 04:45) The work of Yokoo caused scandal, like when he diverted a view of the Mount Fuji from the venerated Hokusai to represent a young movie actress as an erotic offering to the sacred mountain

(04:50 to 05:32) Yokoo Tadanori: Miyuku, this painting represents the actress Miyuku, naked. She has an erotic presence that is also charged in concerns. I wanted to make those two aspects visible in this picture frame; at the same time the erotic charge of the erupting volcano and also the demonic side of this woman with witch's nails and fingers, she's like a cat, ready to scratch. Well, evidently this pose was judged provocative by the Japanese society during that time.

(05:45 to 05:53) Exhibited recently at the "Fondation Cartier" in Paris, Yokoo doesn't hesitate to juxtapose sex and religious symbols in a savage and morbid atmosphere.

(06:02 to 06:42) Yokoo Tadanori: My interest for eroticism comes from my fascination with death. Death is very present in my work, you know in death's appearance, there is eroticism and vice versa. For me those are two faces from the same reality, but it's not abstract, I always felt that way and it's this organic vision that led me down this artistic road.

(06:49 to 07:08) A young orphan employed in an traveling circus suffers the perversions of the troop before being saved by a hypnotist dwarf; it's the story of "Midori - La jeune fille aux Camélias" (Midori), a manga created by Suehiro Maruo and also adapted in a movie in 1992. Too shocking, the movie was confiscated and prohibited by the Japanese authorities not long after its release.

(07:27 to 0:7:36) An object of cult interest in Japan, Maruo sequesters himself to his home refusing to appear in public granting only a few interviews, he accepted our request to meet with us.

(07:45 to 08:05) These two editors came with us in hope of speaking with him. A self-taught artist and maverick in the manga scene, this angel of the bizarre is the master of the ero-guro, a genre that mix the grotesque with extreme sexual debauchery.

(08:08 to 08:24) Suehiro Maruo: My work is heavily influenced by the surrealists and especially by the fantastic drawing of Max Ernst and of course the Japanese woodblock prints like the ones of Yoshitoshi.

(08:33 to 08:50) Maruo also integrated in his work the supernatural creatures that haunt the traditional woodblock print. The drawings of the sacred monster of this perverted menagerie are reminders of the old movies by the Germans expressionists.

(08:59 to 09:20) Suehiro Maruo: Yes, the cinema of this period affected me quite a lot, the classic European movies, also the ones of Georges Clouzot and films like "Les Yeux sans visage" (Eyes without a Face) and by the way, I do not make any distinction between cinematography and manga, the story of my comics are made to be read like movies.

(10:15 to 10:17) Suehiro Maruo: Those are the one I'm currently drawing.

(10:25 to 10:31) Maruo already made almost 20 comics and many of them are currently published in Europe, in countries like France.

(10: 33 to 10:36) Suehiro Maruo: And those are originals from Midori.

(10:49 to 10:52) And tell us Maruo, who are your fans?

(10:53 to 10:59) Suehiro Maruo: They are girls, it seems strange for me too, but they represent the majority of my readers.


Hige said...

Je ne comprends pas le français, but enjoyed the pictures. That's some jaunty-ass music, too.

Anonymous said...

ohhh, tracks is propably the most awesome tv-magazine in reference of music, pop-culture and art in exsistence. I'm so glad that it's also aired in germany...too bad that i live in england at the time, so i can't see it...anyway, thanks to the guy who posted this!

Le Lezard Noir said...

a few videos of possible interrest here then

myrto said...

Great find! I had seen paintings by Tadanori Yokoo before, but I wasn't familiar with the artist. Does anyone know what is the song that plays during the Maruo parts? If you would like, I could try and translate some of the interview parts...

Ryan S said...

@hige: yeah, same here-- I just like seeing the artists in their "natural environment"

@a tree: That's cool-- I'd never heard of arte tracks before. If you find more links or clips, let me know.

@le lezard noir: Hello, friends! Thanks for the comment. I think next week I'll try to do a post with your videos and talk about Akino Kondoh. PS: i saw your books at tacoCHE in tokyo! I'll be posting pics soon.

@myrto: If anyone wants to post the text (french speakers?) or other details, I'd love to hear them.

I strongly recommend looking up more about Tadanori Yokoo... I love his work so much. His most iconic stuff was tied to avant-garde student theater and Shuji Terayama,etc. SUCH GOOD STUFF>

Anonymous said...

ahh! i want to know what maruo said! i've never seen more than a few brief pictures of what he looked like until now. if anyone could translate this video, i would be very grateful! it also excited me that there were images of his in the video that i don't have anywhere. i've got a minor collection of jpegs, but many are too small to help me complete my tattoo! my whole left arm is all maruo images laced together, but i need a little more for a few small spots and also to spill onto the top of my chest in a little ring. when i get a decent image of what i have, i'll post it here. there is an old image of my midori tattoo on this blog somewhere....

Anonymous said...

Good find, and a great interview (even without being able to understand much) :). What's that "pants" song all about?

Ryan said...

@winslow: Your wish has been granted-- one of our readers have sent in a full translation into English. It's interesting-- he's very soft-spoken and has a slight lisp almost, in his speaking voice.

An entire Maruo sleeve? I'd love to see more recent pics of how it is going. If you have any specific pages or imagery that you'd like to have higher-res images of, I'm sure someone here can help you. Just let us know what you're looking for (newer pieces, like from Panorama Island or his gallery work? Stuff from specific short stories? just let us know!) // You definitely have to share the pics when your tattoo is complete :)

@gary: Check out the updated English summary of the narration and interviews. :)

Anonymous said...

Totally checked out. Thanks a bunch to the translator.
Wicked stuff!