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Being creative with Shrines and Temples.
Sean came to Japan 5 years ago from Tasmania, Australia. Recently he has been producing art works based on shrines and temples (in Joetsu city, Niigata). During times when not taking English lessons, or when on weekends away from the conversation school where he works, he spends his time focused on his art work. Last year in September, he had his first exhibition and has plans for a second this coming December. His dream being to one day make a living from his art.
Using pencils and watercolour, he describes the tiles and wood in fine detail, rendering the scenes in deformed 3D to emphasise and immerse. Some of his influences come from Japanese manga; like Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Matsumoto Taiyo’s Tekkon Kinkreet. In Joetsu city, he can walk and plan his images, drawing inspiration from the roadside rocks and trees, moss and the long history of the area. In his words, he describes it as “shinpiteki”: mysterious in Japanese.
Since he was young, he has enjoyed drawing. He attended the local university art school, majoring in design and was employed at a design office soon after graduation. There he helped produce web content until the company unfortunately went bankrupt. For about 1 year following, he engaged in freelance design, but found the commercial work limiting creatively, and his enthusiasm for design was soon extinguished.
While considering his future, he recalled advice his parents had given him about broadening his horizons. An opportunity to attend an interview for a large English conversation school in Japan gave him a chance to do so.
While a child he had always had a keen interest in things Japanese; watching Astroboy during the 80’s animation boom, and having an interest in package design during his studies at art school; describing the many wrapped layers of souvenirs as like that of an onion.
The conversation school sent him to Joetsu. A peaceful city similar in size and atmosphere to his hometown, where he soon met other creative people, including illustrators and musicians, also pursuing their arts.
In May 2009, he married his girlfriend of 4 years; Ayako, and he said with some jest, “I plan on living here at the moment”.
Last year, in Australia, he had his first exhibition with an old friend and artist, displaying about 20 pieces based on popular Japanese monster and hero TV series. After some success, and after returning to Joetsu city, he decided to pursue art seriously and immediately went about setting up a studio for his new work. Now, based in Joetsu, he is able to walk around his local area sourcing material for his next exhibition. He currently keeps a blog and regularly updates on his progress; receiving approx. 300 hits a month. He is positive about the future, and hopes to share more of his art with both local audiences and those abroad.