KENICHI HOSHINE INTERVIEW
Where are you living these days?
I’m living and working in Brooklyn, NY.
How much of Brooklyn is there in your work?
I moved here in March of this year so I can’t say that there is much of Brooklyn in my work. I don’t think my environment affects my work too much.
You have an interesting way of veiling an image, covering elements with a wash. Can you tell me a bit about your process and the way your style has evolved into what it is now?
Most of my work you have been seeing lately have layers of beeswax over them. I have always found images that are obscured or fragmented to be more interesting than “complete” pictures. I am drawn towards implied images that suggest certain moods and narratives. More often than not, I will draw or paint a “complete” image then delete/erase/sand parts of it until I achieve the desired picture. I probably spend more time editing the image than actually putting it down on the panel or paper.
Do you ever find it hard to know when to stop working on an image? I find it especially easy to over-work something when it’s digital. You used the word “delete” so does this mean you’re on the computer a little bit?
I shouldn’t have used the word “delete” to answer your question. I don’t use a computer to make my paintings. It’s all “analog”. It is quite difficult to know when a work is finished, or at least “feels” finished. Often times I will take a piece that I think is finished and I will lean it against a wall for a week or two. I will walk through the room and steal quick glances at it or at times I will scrutinize it for 10 or 15 minutes. I may tweak little things here and there during this “aging” process. But the week or two that goes by helps me “make peace” with a particular work and allows me to come to a conclusion that it is indeed finished.
Are you influenced by other contemporary visual artists?
Lately I have been looking at more photographers than painters. Just to name a few: Uta Barth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, members of the VII photo agency, Alec Soth, etc.
Some of the elements in your paintings look like found photography, do you hunt down vintage portraits and things like that?
Back when I was in school, I used to visit countless antique shops and thrift shops to look for old photographs that family members have discarded or sold through the years. I would collect old Polaroids and antique “cartes de visite”. But lately I have been using my personal photographs as a basis for some of my paintings. Photography has always been a serious hobby of mine.
I know for some people the process of making work is a struggle, do you enjoy the process of making your work?
There is nothing more depressing/gut-wrenching/maddening than making a bad painting or botching a good one. All artists go through this. That being said, on the flip side of that, it is quite exhilarating to be able to produce work that you are happy with. So I guess I have to say that I do enjoy the process of making my work quite a bit.
What do you do to relax?
Battlefield 1942 for the PC.
What kind of music are you into?
Some stuff I listen to: Will Oldham, Dirty Three, Explosions In The Sky, Iron and Wine, Mitch Hedberg, Mogwai, Drive Like Jehu, etc. I also like to keep the tv on in the background when I work. It’s usually on the Travel Channel with Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations or Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on loop.
It’s funny to picture you painting a ghostly portrait of someone while Mitch Hedberg is talkin’ about how much ducks love bread. If I came to visit and I tricked you into spending the day with me, where would we go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What are your favourite spots?
Breakfast (brunch) – I would want to take you to Buttermilk Channel here in Brooklyn. They have a wonderful brunch that is southern American / comfort food.
Lunch – An ideal lunch would involve a great bowl of pho with shrimp summer rolls and a cup of Vietnamese coffee at the end. There are a bunch of great Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown.
Dinner – A fat, rare portherhouse steak at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn.
Note to self: trick Kenichi into hanging out! Do you wanna end the interview with a quote?
“I want to hang a map of the world in my house, and then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down.” – Mitch Hedberg
If it’s ok with you, I’d like to plug these 2 sites:
Thanks for everything!