Introducing Artist Makoto Egashira


WordsManon Baeza

A delicious mix of nostalgia, kitsch, abundance and exuberance, the Japanese artist Makoto Egashira agreed to sit down with PEN after we discovered his work on Instagram. It was the opportunity to discover how sculpture can give new life to everyday objects, more precisely, bed sheets.

Following his studies at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, the artist settled in Tokyo to make a go at a career as an artist. Only 33 years old, Egashira creates busy floral works, each more intriguing than the next. Having trained as a sculptor, he is currently focused on a body of work that uses the various prints of bedspreads.

‘Rose print blankets are familiar to most people in Japan. I have always used a rose blanket.  I thought it was normal.  I looked at the blanket again later and realised that the pattern was very flashy and I didn’t like it.  But this is how I became interested in this rose print blanket.’

Before each sculpture, the artist wanders the streets of Tokyo, observing the innumerable passersby and trawling vintage stores in the hope of finding old children’s toys. He also explains how the world created in the work of mangaka Shigeru Mizuki is a continued source of inspiration. The result is a number of hybrid works which combine a rococo style with worn colours and kitsch motifs. His original work, inspired by the backstreets of Tokyo and the soul of its inhabitants seamlessly blends past and contemporaneity.

While Egashira does not normally collaborate with other artists, he recently worked alongside stylist  Nao Koyabu for an excellent editorial published by the Japanese edition of iD magazine. Otherwise the only people the artist is used to working with are Japanese bed manufacturers. While his sculptures are perpetually in motion, the artist is now looking to to new adventures.

‘I want to stay in a country other than Japan for a while. I want to get inspired by travelling through various countries and communicating with the people living there and the things there. I want to create new artwork. But of course I will continue to create artwork using blankets.’

Since 2015, the Japanese sculpture has bounded one exhibition to the next across Japan. His work is currently on display as part of the festival ‘Rokko meets art’ in Kobe as well as at the boutique ‘Isetan’ in Shinjuku in Tokyo. His work will soon be available at the boutique ‘Nishikawa’ a futon cover specialist in Kyoto.

Photo provided by Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kawasaki