Tadasuke Jinno translated a love of design, after working as a graphic designer in Japan, into a visual art practice when he moved to New York. Immersing himself in the classroom via art education to help learn English and focus on a new creative direction, he began producing really lovely, structural installations and sculptures that play with ideas of scale, space, and solidity. This interview finds him in the last weeks of a three-month residency in Berlin!
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First, I'd love to know a bit about you -- can you introduce yourself?
I am a New York based artist from Japan. I was Graphic Designer in Japan for 10 years. And I started as an artist after I came to NY in 2011.
You worked as a graphic designer for several years before pursuing a fine art path -- what made you shift your focus?
After getting married, I moved to NY. For the first 6 months, I went to ESL. However, I started to think that I would like to study English outside of ESL, such as in technical school or graphic design classes. At that time, my wife told me about Art Students League in NY, and that was the turning point to shift my life to art. At the beginning, it was a simple motivation to go to the League; I could keep in touch with art while learning English. However, while taking Mr. Charles Hinman’s class, I was then pretty much into art.
How did moving from New York from Japan have an impact on your work?
Because I started my artist activities since I moved to NY, I think my works are greatly influenced by living in the city. Since I came to NY, I always felt like it’s real, but not realistic. Even though I’m getting used to life here, I still feel like I am watching a movie somewhere. Perhaps this feeling leads to the basis of my artwork: a slight discomfort.
Much of your work focuses on using heavy, architectural materials, and creating installations that put the viewer inside or outside of the work. What is the significance of your choice of materials and these structures?
About materials: I use them as inorganic as possible. I prefer materials that do not have much to their image. Because I don’t want a strong meaning on material, the materials I use will be changed in future.
About structures: I think the action, as an audience member enters the structure after looking from outside, is the switch. Looking and imagining the inside, and then entering into the structure... I think that a spiritual switch from a world of reality to unreality would be turned on. My artwork my exists when you enter and feel a sense of incompatibility from what you imagined.
Do you do any research of any kind in preparation?
Regarding recent works, I research especially the sizing -- to learning how much space makes people feel wide or narrow when they enter, and I try to be actually surrounded by masking tapes. Also, I make a structural design drawing using 3D software to understand the actual size.
What is your studio like?
My current studio is GlogauAIR in Berlin where I have been participating in the 3-month artist-in-residence program until the end of April. It’s a dwelling with studio. I get up early in the morning as much as possible and work on works until the sunset. Because I want to use the work space as much as I can, I do not put anything else in the space other than a bed to sleep in, and a small desk and chair.
What do you consider the most challenging part of pursuing an artistic practice, whether creatively or professionally?
I think it’s sensitivity and passion to support the sensitivity. Financial matters and techniques are important. But no matter how much money you have, you cannot pursue an artistic practice without sensitivity and passion, I think.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
When I was always fixing one work for long, a teacher at the Art Students League once said to me, “There is no ‘perfect thing’ in the world.” The words made me realize that I would rather experience more trial and errors toward improvement than pursuing only one perfect, because I’m just an entrant to art.
What do you need most, or value most, as an artist?
It’s a sensibility to see things without prejudice.
For example, the sensibility that you don’t feel like it’s just flowers when you look at flowers. The sensibility that [helps you believe the surface] does not feel it is hard when you see a wall.
What does "success" mean to you?
I wish I’m able to keep making artworks and having exhibitions until I die.
What are you working on right now?
I'm making an installation that you can see, touch, go inside, stay, sit down, and walk in. Specifically, it is an art of an aisle along with a wall, which is narrow and dark, and covered with cloth. You can walk through the inside by following the feel of small light, walls, and multiple materials such as expandable cloths. And I am considering that a few people can stay. It will be a visual art you can feel by putting feet in colored water using acrylic board, light and water.
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