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Worlds of colour and detail – spotlight on artist Yoh Nagao

By in Interviews


Yoh Nagao is a Japanese artist with an amazing eye for colour, and his detailed collage pieces are brilliantly out of this world! You can see examples of his work here:

We caught up with him to talk about his creative background, influences, and future plans…

Being an artist

Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself

Colorful, Trippy, Eccentric.

'Moment of Oasis' by Yoh Nagao

How and when did you start out as an artist?

After graduating from art school (Nagoya Zokei Art University in Japan), I worked for several design offices. At the same time, I was making art work for myself. Around 6 or 7 years ago, I started to exhibit my works for group shows and art events. Since then, it has become my main work.

What training did you have?

Actually my major was graphic design at art school, during which I trained in composition and use of color and etc. Image layout is also strongly related to my current collage work.

What has been your best creative achievement so far?

I don’t have it yet really… I feel something incomplete always.

General Questions

What’s your favourite quote?

‘Be honest to your art’, Takashi Murakami.

'Odd Couple' by Yoh Nagao


Who is your favourite artist?

Neo Rauch, Shinro Otake, Keiji Ito, Eiko Ishioka

What are you aiming for?

To catch people’s eyes and heart. My art is a sort of communication tool with whic to connect with people, so creating art is kind of  like writing a letter to a stranger for me. Because friends are my treasures in life, I like to make as many masterpieces as possible, so my friends don’t get bored!

How will you get there?

Work hard, be humble and promote my work… and enjoy it!

Is anything holding you back?

Not really.

You and art

What sort of reactions do you get to your work? are you ever surprised?

I’m not surprised by reactions – people tend to be impressed at how hard I have worked on my art. The initial reactions start to fade after a while.

'Hammer' by Yoh Nagao


From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?

Sometimes several months, sometimes a couple of days. It depends on mood, motivation and my deadlines.

What music do you like to listen to when you work?

I often listen to electro or instrumental. My favorite musicians are SBTRKT, Little Dragon, Toro Y Moi, Battles, The XX, XXYYXX, Frume, Ray Barbie and Toe.

What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?

Every time when I’m making new piece, I encounter some small new ideas. That could be little hint of a new direction with which to expand my range of expression. Coming up, I have a group exhibition in Paris called “Mythic 27” and a mural project in Berlin, both in spring 2013. I am going to use the shows to try out some new styles.

'Daydream' by Yoh Nagao

Being inspired by art

Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?

I am not inspired by specific people, however I have been taught a lot of important quotes about life by great people and friends. Making art is more like talking to myself, then taking out something from my memory or image in my head. Therefore, seeing, feeling and searching something new everyday is very important to get inspiration.

What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?

For me, all the stuff I see can bring me some inspiration. The Internet, magazines, city-scapes, sky, people, animal, garbage, anything like anything.
Always try to see things around you, along with a pure heart. Our life is filled with full of information, so we can’t afford to miss something  worthy. I think this stance is very important.

What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?

It is “Day Dream”. This image was used for my favorite magazine, Dazed and Confused.

an artist’s advice

Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?

Being an artist is hard, I’m struggling a lot everyday. but if you decided to be an artist, you are the artist already. Because being an artist means you are not controlled by anyone, you are able to follow your pure heart.

'Point to Point' by Yoh Nagao

2 comments for “Worlds of colour and detail – spotlight on artist Yoh Nagao

Joe Roache

December 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

Your work is very unique, colorful and beautiful.

Elena Svobodina

January 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I love your colors. Your works catch eyes and thoughts

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