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Article: [ARTIDE After Talk③] Kenji Shimizu

【ARTIDE After Talk③】志水 堅二さん

[ARTIDE After Talk③] Kenji Shimizu

ARTIDE recently released the project's first item, ``Multi-Compact Wallet,'' through crowdfunding Makuake.

TIDE director Utsumi visited the participating up-and-coming artists and shared their feelings and memories during the process of this project, which was based on the theme of ``fusion of art and local industry,'' and at times, their true feelings leaked out. I will send you the details of the conversation.

The third person is Kenji Shimizu. This time, we visited Mr. Shimizu's home and atelier, which is like a secret base, and asked him about his story.

Please enjoy it together with the ARTIDE page and note (Shimizu interview) .

Photographer: Shuhei Kubo Interview/Composition: Keisuke Kishimoto *The interview was held in November 2020.



#idling talk

Utsumi: In interviews with ARTIDE yesterday and today, I went through the ateliers of each artist, and I was really glad that Shimizu ended the interview. I had a great time during the interview, but it feels like I'm at a bar at the end of a drinking party (lol). The background music that is played is jazz and will make you feel really good.

Shimizu: Because we are a night bar (lol).

Everyone: (laughs).

Utsumi: This is a really fun space (lol). It's a great place to gather with friends and have a drink. You come to see quite a lot of people, right?

Shimizu : That's right. By the way, there is a real bar next to this atelier, but perhaps because our entrance looks more like a bar, the postman and courier mistakenly asked, "Is this the bar?" Sometimes I end up entering the wrong place (lol). If you carelessly leave the door unlocked, you'll be in trouble (lol).

Utsumi: I think this is definitely a store (lol).

Shimizu: In the end, I was asked, "What is this place?" I said, "No, I'm home." (laughs) Well, if you look at the exterior, you can't tell what people are doing there, and you can't tell if it's a house or an office (lol).

#Main story

Utsumi: Thank you for your cooperation today. This time, I would like to look back on the ARTIDE project together. This was our first challenge as TIDE, but I would like to hear from Mr. Shimizu candidly about his feelings and thoughts during the process of creating it together, and his impressions after seeing the completed work.

Shimizu: Understood, thank you very much. We've prepared some alcohol, so let's have some fun.

—— What did you think when you heard the idea of ​​expressing art on a leather wallet with ARTIDE?

Shimizu: Actually, it took quite a while to get into this shape (finished product).

—— When you were staring at the model of TIDE's multi-compact wallet, did it suddenly come to you?

Shimizu: That's right. I looked at the development diagram you sent me, tried various things, and thought, ``Ah, this is it.''

At first, I thought it was a good idea to put the original drawing into a leather wallet, but there are many different kinds of drawings, so even if I put the original drawing as is, it didn't seem to link to the leather wallet, so I thought it would be boring.

On the other hand, I thought that the people who used their wallets would forget about the original artwork. That's why I wanted to make this a stand-alone game that you can enjoy watching. On the other hand, I think it's kind of artless to include Bridley (a character who is depicted as a symbol of time: Bridley the tin bird).

Kenji Shimizu

Utsumi: At first, I envisioned using the original picture as is. However, I was betrayed in a good way.

Shimizu: That's the easiest pattern (lol).

Utsumi: In fact, I thought that was the only way it would turn out (lol).

Shimizu: Well, that's shallow (lol)!

Utsumi: (laughs).

Shimizu: I wouldn't say that drawing it exactly as it is means applying it (lol).

Utsumi: No, I thought there was no other way (lol).

Shimizu: Maybe it's a little easier for other writers, because they have abstracts. In fact, it made me wonder why I was included in this group.

Utsumi: At first, I also saw the character (Bridley) standing there, so I was wondering what would happen. But in the end, it was really good. I'm glad that they were able to create something completely different, with a different personality and depth from other writers.

Shimizu: I also miraculously fell in love with this form (multi-compact wallet), so I'm glad I did. If it were to take a different form in the future, for example a larger item, I think both the other artists and I would have a hard time. Although it is important to draw a picture on each item, it is also difficult. It's different from drawing a bunch of them all at once.

TIDE Director Utsumi

----ARTIDE's multi-compact wallet was released at Makuake on November 14th, and it was sold out in 40 minutes, creating a huge response.

Shimizu: Thank you. I'm happy. However, since the sale started on Makuake on Saturday and it quickly sold out, it seems that some people were unable to buy it because they had to work on Saturday. A friend of mine who is a dentist said he couldn't buy one. So right now (at the time of the interview), it seems like people are waiting for it to be released on EC.

Utsumi: We thought about the release date, quantity, and price until the last minute, but I've heard that there are many people like my acquaintance who were unable to purchase due to their own circumstances. We will create opportunities for it to reach as many people as possible, including releasing it on EC, so we hope you will look forward to it. On that day, the day it was released at Makuake, I was nervous and sat in front of my computer all morning without even stepping out of the house. We celebrated the release time at 2pm while looking back on the project so far. Then, each time I pressed the update button, 1, 5, 10 items were sold...and they were sold out in 40 minutes. Up until then, I had been feeling anxious and anxious, but now I feel like everything has paid off and I'm really glad I did it. Isn't it possible to understand the same things online at the same time as people all over Japan? I think this is amazing. I'm really happy.

Shimizu: This is an initiative that can only be done in times like these.

Utsumi: It was my first experience to start from scratch and bring out something that I had spent a year working on from concept to concept...and when I nervously looked at the computer screen, I realized that it had influenced dozens of people. So I was very happy. I'm glad I did it. But it's still a long way off.

Shimizu: I was nervous, a lot. I was nervous when it was released and the Instagram live I did before that (lol).

(The talk progresses while having drinks courtesy of Mr. Shimizu)

Shimizu: Well then, I'll pour you some alcohol (lol). There's plenty, so drink as much as you want.

Utsumi: Thank you! I'll enjoy having this.

—— Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories about the production process?

Shimizu: There's a reason why I used silkscreen (a type of stencil printing, in which holes are created in a mesh-like plate and ink is applied only to the holes). I wasn't trying to be easy on myself, and there is a compatibility between the materials and the paints, but I wanted to eliminate individual differences.

The reason why we don't want to show individual differences is because of editions. Just as there are people who want to look at individual differences when choosing a painting, there are also people who want to choose an edition. There are some people who say that earlier numbers are better for prints, but just because the number is earlier doesn't change the content. It's not in the order they were printed. The first one is better and the later numbers don't deteriorate. Some people say that the versions are getting sweeter and sweeter, but that's not the case. However, even in the case of prints, there is a number that you like, such as a lucky number.

Utsumi: I see!

Shimizu: Some people want a specific number, such as 7/20. So it's better not to be different. When I tell them that each one is different, they naturally want to compare them. That kind of mentality naturally comes out. So I started showing them this, and then showing them this. I include drawings in my art books, and each drawing is a one-of-a-kind piece. That's a good thing, but you still want to choose. After all, art books are expensive at around 70,000 yen, so I want to see the actual item and choose it with my own eyes, rather than a gacha-gacha style. But if you let them choose, there's no end to it. That's why I wanted to send something equally special to everyone, so I tried to avoid individual differences.

Utsumi: I see! I heard that for the first time. I can't believe there was such a secret.

Shimizu: I haven't said this before.

Utsumi: I'm happy!

Shimizu: I have experienced that people choose different editions in the past, so there are some people who want to choose the edition, and in fact, there are people this time as well. I wonder what edition number it should be. I also want to make it a birthday, or I want it to be 8 with a wide end. Also, there are some numbers that I don't like. In the art book, I omit the numbers that say that.

——The only charm this time is Shimizu's model, but what was the background and reason why you decided to incorporate it? Personally, I think this charm is the most playful part of all ARTIDE items.

Shimizu: Thank you. Playfulness is my main point. The reason behind this is that when someone around you asks, ``What is that (wallet)?'', the person who purchased it may not be able to explain it immediately. I thought. It's difficult to explain to someone that you can search for the original art on the spot on your smartphone on the internet (makuake, note, TIDE page, etc.), say that this kind of artist drew this kind of original art, and then put it in. ? So, if you have this charm, you can explain, ``What's drawn on the wallet is the face of the character named Bridley, who's on the charm.'' that's why.

At Shimizu's atelier

Multi Compact Wallet-SHIMIZU KENJI

--That 's a very easy and interesting reason. It was created with the assumption that someone would suddenly ask, "What is that?" when using it on a daily basis.

Shimizu: It's a slightly unusual wallet, so you'll probably wonder, "What is that?" (laughs) There's one more secret. If you leave this charm as it is, it will just be hanging around, and won't it get in the way? That's why I think everyone often carries it around by storing it inside their wallet. However, if you place it on the wave pattern on the back... Bridley can ride the waves.

Utsumi: Ah, that’s true! The length of the charm is also exquisitely calculated. I didn't know that at all! Wow, I want to tell someone about this!

——This charm itself is playful, but you can really play with it on your wallet. It's beyond playfulness! It is interesting!

Shimizu: I think about a lot of things. I'm not a designer, but basically I thought about the person who would use it, the situation, and the scene. I want to try it out and change it if I find it difficult to use, and I don't want to recommend something that is difficult to use. So I had other things like the zipper changed.

——So the sense of fun you incorporated into the wallet was based on the user's perspective.

Shimizu: After all, it's something you'll use, so it's better to make it easy to use. No matter how much art it is. It would be fine if this were an art “work”. After all, this is a wallet. I think there is no point in art if it becomes unusable.

Utsumi: We also have a strong desire to use it. That's why I made it. It's natural for people to buy it as a work of art and have the freedom to display it or use it, but as a creator, I want them to use it.

Shimizu: Bridley begins with the embodiment of the passage of time, the flow of time, life and death,

I want it to deteriorate with use. I want it to become ingrained in my memory as I use it.

A long time ago, before Bridley came out, there was a time when people were drawing old tools. In front of the tin toys, there was a hammer and a huge saw for cutting ice. I would buy things like that from antique stores and draw them. We don't know who was using them, but it gives us a good idea of ​​who was using them. Was this someone using it? Or, how many years after using it will it become like this? The memory of that person is ingrained in the old tools. My research at that time was to record these feelings in pictures. As time passed, I started finding tin toys that someone had played with and drawing them, and from there I started drawing toy birds.

Until then, I had never drawn anything with a face. Until then, I had been drawing things like withered flowers and rusty old tools. By drawing faces, you can express expressions and create even more stories. A sad face will make the picture sad, and a happy face will make the picture happy. When it comes to flowers, I leave it up to the viewer to decide how to perceive them. Depending on the person who sees it, it may make them feel lonely, or it may make them feel energetic, or it may be the exact opposite. For example, when I see the color red, some people feel it's too strong for me and make me feel sick, while others feel better. It's different for each person. When I was in my 20s, I thought that there was no need to convey what I thought, because expression is just expression, not communication. I was already drawing the way I wanted, thinking, ``I don't care if this is interpreted in a different way than I intended.'' However, I realized that when drawing faces and expressions, there is no difference in the emotions of the viewer and the artist. I used to think it was okay because it wouldn't get across anyway, but when it gets across, I'm happy because it gets across.

After that, I read in a book that Japan's character culture is unique, and there are characters in towns, cities, and even prefectures. Like Kumamon, every town, city, and prefecture has its own character. The need for this is unique. In the end, I have to preserve the era in which I lived. I want to convey in my work that I was living in a time like this. That's why I think character culture is important. I used to think that characters weren't art. We drew a line between it and manga, and even our teacher used the word manga-like as a bad term. I don't think that is the case anymore.

Utsumi: I think the days of making judgments based solely on first impressions are over. There's really been a lot going on this year, and I guess you could say it's been exposed. You don't know what people are thinking, do you? I don't know what the experience was like. Of course, you have first impressions, but young people probably don't have that impression, but the older you get, the more experiences you have. The impression I got on the spot and the impression I got when I talked about various things in depth can be 180 degrees different. The same goes for art, but it's not fun to judge something based on its appearance alone. However, I originally had no interest in art at all (lol). I'm glad to know that I can see things that way.

Shimizu: That's really important.

Utsumi: Right now, I can't help but want to touch art. Before, I wasn't really interested in art or museums. However, I was glad that my perspective changed after working with him this time, and I was glad that the atmosphere was kind and forgiving, allowing me to say that I had never been interested in art. I was afraid that if I said something like that, people would think, "Huh?", but this time I was able to work with various artists, and I realized that "art isn't all that sublime, everyone expresses it in different ways." I felt like, ``We're all the same.'' Up until now, I had thought that these people were from a different category, living in a different world, but now I feel much closer to them.

Shimizu: Ah, I see (lol). People who cut their own ears or do strange things are always talked about, they stand out, and everyone likes them. And when a person like that draws a picture, there are things that are imprinted on it. I don't think young kids today have that. Although there are actually many people who express themselves, I think they are still a minority.

Utsumi: I had the opportunity to talk with various artists at ARTIDE this time, and they were all really facing themselves. Not only sensual things, but also deep insight, examination, and face-to-face expression. It was really fun to have the opportunity to hear how everyone deals with life.

Shimizu: There are a lot of things we don't know about the world (lol). There are fewer and fewer funny people who draw. Sometimes really weird people start it. But first of all, strange people don't get into university. I had the impression that there were the most strange people at cram school, but once they entered society, they were no longer there. There are only people left who have good social skills and can work. For example, meeting deadlines.

Utsumi: In that sense, I thought it was really good to have these five people this time. Of course, each person has a different personality, but I really enjoyed working with them and learned a lot from them.

Utsumi: I really want to talk as much as I want so that the last person at the drinking party is comfortable and we can't stop talking, but the time has come. Thank you for today!

Shimizu: Please come visit us again (lol). I'm the one who should be thanking you!


Kenji Shimizu

Born in 1971 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Completed the Department of Design, Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts.
Shimizu's works, which have participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, incorporate many classic elements of Japanese painting, such as cherry blossoms and Mt. It is none other than Bridley's presence.
The tin bird "Bridley" was born as a symbol of time while drawing many old toys. Not only are they used as cute toys, but they are also depicted in a variety of phantasmagoric forms, including phoenixes and Yatagarasu.
He is an artist who depicts the sophisticated world of Bridley.

In 2020 alone, Bridley's worldview has been exhibited in many places, including three exhibitions in Tokyo and one in Osaka.

Multi Compact Wallet-SHIMIZU KENJI

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