The saying, “when a door of opportunity closes, another window will open,” seems true for Japanese artist Jun Kitagawa. His pop art, which includes dressed sculptures around Tokyo and wall paintings, was brought by the disappointment of a t-shirt business that didn’t fly. Soon after using his rejected t-shirts to dress up public figures, Kitagawa was on his way to becoming an artist.
Kitagawa was inspired to be an artist by his father, who was a landscape painter. He quit his job at an architectural firm and tutored under a sculptor to learn techniques using metals and clays. Aside from the sculptures, Kitagawa also paints. His recent works include paintings of giant zippers across establishments such as the Japanese garden in the Chinzanso Hotel, and a former house in Tokyo, which has already been torn down. One of his zipper paintings found its way at the Roppongi Tunnel as he was commissioned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to cover numerous pieces of graffiti. Kitagawa sees a deeper meaning in depicting zippers. “The zippers convey that what we are actually seeing in this real world is just a surface, and that once we peel it off, we see there’s another hidden space, which is completely different from our side,” he said.
However, not everyone finds his work amusing, with some seeing it as either a prank or vandalism. Kitagawa remains undeterred. “Whether the audience sees my work as pleasing or disturbing, the visual impact that jolts people awake is an essential part of my work,” said the artist.
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