Known as the biggest art and design event in Asia, the 35th International Tokyo Design Festa [ link ] continued its long tradition in bringing together artists from all over the world. Held biannually at Tokyo Big Sight, the gathering of creatives number in the thousands as each designer, artist, and presenter creates their own unique space to display work. Among these artists was one in particular who captured the attention of each passing guest.
Known as Banako, we met up with one of the events youngest and most charismatic artists. Encapsulating the genre of “Kimo-kawai” (gross but cute), Banako’s conceptual art space had those passing by sucked into an elaborate world full of fantastic colors and goo. The artist herself is a Tokyo native who was encouraged at a young age to express herself visually as she grew into an artist. Axiom had the chance to get a sneak peek into the Banako’s world built around an extraterrestrial love story.
It’s great to finally have a chance to speak with you. Could you tell us a bit about yourself as an artist?
B: Sure! My name is Banako, and I am a 20 year old artist living in Tokyo. I have just finished college where I studied art and design. I now work as a graphic designer and production assistant at Natural Paradox [ link ]. But at the end of the day I spend all my time with Tsumashi-Kun, he and I are inseparable!
Yes, about Tsumashi-kun, could you tell us a little more about him and your project?
B: Well, you see, it’s a bit complicated because I’m in love. Tsumashi-kun was born out of a series of oil paintings and sketches and came to life through this project. I am always chasing after him and I’m not sure when I’ll ever see him again. Everything I create is really just an image built from what I remember through my memories. I’m hoping that one day it will all come back to me and I’ll finally be able to meet the real Tsumashi-kun…
That is quite the story, but it seems like you are not the only one who finds Tsumashi-kun interesting. Can you tell us a bit how people are reacting to your work at this event? Has it always gathered this much attention?
B: Everyone is always curious about things they aren’t quite sure of, but I am always happy to explain. People are really interested in the food I make from Tsumashi-kun’s world. A lot of it is based off of recipes and ingredients that most people can’t pronounce, after all, they are from the far ends of the universe. At the end of the day I’m just glad to have people interested in something new and get them as excited to experience something unusual.
You must be satisfied then, we had to wait in a line just to get a chance to talk with you! How long have you been sharing your work…erm…story at this show?
B: This is my third time having a space to share at the Design Festa, and so far things are going really well. A lot of people want to know if they can buy my things or if I will make something for them. But the truth is I am just here to tell them about Tsumashi-kun. It is a bit selfish, but he’s the most important thing about this whole process.
To take a glimpse into the world of Banako & Tsumashi-kun be sure to check out her blog [ link ]