In 2011, a tsunami swept away Yuya Saito’s house, towns he skated in, and everything in its path. This experience influenced his skateboarding artwork greatly.
Yuya Saito is a Japanese artist who specializes in skateboarding artwork. He graduated from Central Oklahoma University in the United States and currently lives in Yokohoma, Japan. His artworks have been exhibited in several fairs across the U.S. and Japan.
Yuya’s unique artistic style is a combination of a curved support and printing technique. He brings forth the chaos and discontinuity experienced in his hometown in Japan due to the frequent natural disasters.
Skateboarding Artwork That Captures a Myriad Facets of Disarray
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Optimism and hopelessness of chaos
I loved the disarray and fragility.
Yuya’s history with art started with Ushio Shinohara’s exhibition. There was this humongous mural, 26ft tall and 164ft long, which shook him to the core. He attended the fireside chat that was held at the venue, where he asked him: “Have you ever felt hopelessness?” Shinohara answered, in a cheerful mood, “I do feel hopeless every day, even now. That’s why I make art.” The fact that the enormous mural was born out of hopelessness, fierceness, and optimism really moved Yuya.
Afterward, Yuya’s unique skateboarding artwork gradually came to life. He’s been skateboarding ever since he was 14 years and speeding through the chaos of people, buildings, cars, everything, all densely layered on top of each other, he had always witnessed countless dramas sprouting and vanishing.
Then in 2011, the great earthquake hit northern Japan. The tsunami swept away Yuya’s house, towns he skateboarded in, and everything in its path. “This experience made me revisit the idea of the city from an entirely different perspective,” he says. “I began to focus more on how humans have handled and coexisted with natural disasters.”
Physically overwhelming the viewer
Yuya is currently working on a large curved work 5ft tall and 12ft wide. All of his work is made of curved wood, and unlike the ready-made canvas, it has to be designed from the scratch. It’s a time-consuming process, but it’s a very important part of expressing his roots in the dynamic sensibility of skateboarding, as well as its relation to natural disasters. “By persisting to use curved wood,” he says, “I am able to create a sense of space that crosses 2D and 3D which leaves the viewers feeling physically overwhelmed by the work.”
Skateboarding artwork series: ‘Days’ and ‘Drop’
Yuya has several skateboarding artwork series that include ‘Days’ and ‘Drop’. The ‘Days’ series cuts out the overcrowded intersection of people, things, and events all of which characterize the city on one screen. “I express the city as a space that consists of chaos and fragility,” he says, “where innumerable dramas are born and disappear, all of that being right next to the possibility of a natural disaster. “
As for the ‘Drop’ series, the motif comes from “drop-in,” a skateboarding technique where the skater slides down, or more accurately, throws him/herself in, over the edge into the half-pipe or ramp. “Not only in skateboarding,” he says, “but also in other aspects of our lives, the act of jumping (taking a leap) from something requires courage. The shape of this piece represents the power to face challenges and overcome fears.”
Art that celebrates the irrational nature of humans
“We have lived with natural disasters since ancient times,” Yuya says. “And that has not changed–we still do and will live in an uncertain, unstable world that can collapse any moment. Despite all of that, we continue to gather and build things. I want to leave art that acknowledges and celebrates the irrational nature of us humans.”
To see Yuya’s latest artworks, visit Saatchi Art >
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