Traversing the creative world in all directions

Armed with knowledge and experience in architecture and design, a wealth of ideas, and precise and accurate handwork, Norihiko Terayama is now firmly establishing his own world. He is truly one of the most remarkable artists of this time.

Norihiko Terayama was born in Japan in 1977. He is well known in Japan as a product designer.
He grew up in a creative atmosphere, with his grandfather known as a restorer of Nikko Toshogu Shrine and his father still active as an architect.
Influenced by his father, he studied architecture and then went to the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where he majored in product design from Gijs Bakker, the founder of DROOG Design. He also did a one-year internship at the office of Richard Hutten, a member of DROOG Design, before returning to Japan. Tracing his career in this way, it becomes very clear that his current work is based on architecture and design.
Norihiko Terayama, armed with an abundance of ideas and meticulous, precise handwork, is certainly establishing his own world, and is perhaps the most notable artist of the moment.

From here, I would like to introduce him in a Q&A format to explain how he came to enter the art world from design, his concept of works, to his future vision.

You are very active as a product designer and have recently entered the art world. How did you come to the decision to create art?

Norihiko Terayama: I have made many things as a designer, but when I made “Crust of the polygone” it was the first time I made a work free from function.
Until then, my previous works were design works, so it was very important to emphasize functionality, but this work was made without considering such practicality. Until then, I had never thought about going outside the framework of design, so even if I came up with an interesting idea, I never tried to make it into reality. However, when I had something I wanted to create, I thought it would be wrong to ignore it, so I started calling myself an artist so that I could freely create things. Artist is just a title, but by calling myself an artist, I have broadened my perspective on making things, and I feel that I have become freer.

Mr. Terayama, you have various series of works, but all of them seem to have a focus on dots and lines. What do you think?
The contrast between natural and man-made objects is also a major theme for you.
Could you elaborate on the concept of your works?

Norihiko Terayama: In creating a work of art, I go through a lot of trial and error before the final shape is determined, but I think the reason why many of my finished works include lines, dots, and objects arranged evenly is largely due to my background in architecture. At that time, I drew drawings by hand, and I liked to use 0.3mm and 0.5mm pens to draw lines with varying thickness and strength. I think the process of creating a surface is similar to the process of making things today.

It has not been very long since you started your career as an artist, yet you have created a very diverse series of works.
Where do you get your diverse ideas?

Norihiko Terayama: In my case, I am in the process of creating a work of art, and ideas for the next work of art come to me. So I have a strange feeling that I am working on the current piece in order to have an idea for the next one, and ideas for new pieces keep coming to me without interruption. So, at first glance, all the works seem to be created in different directions, but in fact they are deeply connected and intertwined. In the future, however, I would like to create works with completely new ideas from scratch. To be honest, there are still many things I would like to create, but I have not been able to do so yet. I think I need to do something about the environment where I don’t have enough time to make progress by myself. I feel that design work is important for me because it is connected to society, but in the future I would like to create an environment where I can focus on my art work and concentrate on making art.

How do you see the art world from the perspective of a designer?

Norihiko Terayama: I can honestly say that I know nothing about the art world. I only know the names of a few artists, and I have no knowledge of their techniques or history. Also, I don’t know if I need to know them or not. However, although it is difficult and elusive to create my own work without being restricted by anyone, I feel that I have become obsessed with the freedom and the fascination of expressing my inner sensibilities in a form.

There are many designers around you. How do they react to your artwork?

Norihiko Terayama: I haven’t heard or heard anything in particular from them. As a designer, I have always been a bit of a strange maker, so I am sure they just think I am just another guy making things freely.
Among my fellow designers, there is no one who does what I do, so I would be happy if they think that there are designers like me, and that it is OK to make things more freely.

What does a gallery mean to you?

Norihiko Terayama: For me, a gallery is a place that understands me and my works. A gallerist is someone who explains my work to the viewers in a sincere and easy-to-understand manner, as if it were their own.
Of course, it is important for the relationship with the gallery to sell my works, but I don’t think that is the most important thing. I think it would be fun if we could try to mutually influence each other in some way.

Please tell us about your influences or favorite artists.

Norihiko Terayama: Anyway, since I started art, I feel like I can look at artwork in a different way than before, so I think there will be many artists I like in the future.
Among the recent exhibits I saw, I liked Christian Boltanski’s work.

Please tell us about your future plans, such as what kind of activities you would like to pursue or what challenges you would like to take on in the future.

Norihiko Terayama: Since I haven’t been an artist for very long, I would like to spend the next few years actively creating a variety of works and focusing on getting people to know me as an artist.
Ideally after that, I would like to devote myself to creating opportunities to showcase large wall works, three-dimensional works, and installation works to the international community.

Norihiko Terayama, armed with an abundance of ideas and meticulous, precise handwork, is certainly establishing his own world, and is perhaps the most notable artist of the moment.