ーーFirst off, I would like to applaud you on your Fuji Rock festival performance. I heard that your baggage had gotten lost and you had some problems. But despite of all of that, your performance at the festival was amazing.
For this interview, I would like to concentrate on your art exhibition held at commune. You have exhibited your artworks several times at other venues around the world but this was your first time exhibiting your works in Japan. Can you tell us how the opportunity to exhibit at commune came about?
Chaz : Thanks tour can be stressful, but I’m glad I have/had an opportunity to do some work outside of music. I was fortunate enough to meet Miyuki and commune at the SF Art Book Fair. I’ve always had a passion for graphic design and the book fair is a great place to find new artists and meet people. Miyuki and I kept in touch and 2 years later we finally planned a show! It was destiny.
ーーI feel like your paintings and collages are bursting with emotion whilst still being abstract. The composition and the color scheme of your artworks are very bold yet simple. The style of the paintings resemble the likes of Picasso and Matisse. By creating art, can you tell us how you were able to find this particular style of painting? How did you end up with the style and technique you use now?
Chaz : I’ve never had the patience or diligence to make realistic paintings, I think my style will remain fauvist for the most part. It feels good knowing I can make something child like and stay connected to that side of my brain that doesn’t consider rules. I can’t remember my mom getting upset how I’d color outside the lines and she’d get mad… I loved it! I felt something just by not following the “rules”.
ーーIn your past exhibitions around the world, you chose to exhibit paintings that used a range of colors but in your exhibition in Japan, I had an impression that the color blue as well as the color vermillion were used and emphasized. Why did you want to feature paintings with these colors in your exhibition in Japan?
Chaz : I chose all the colors at random, I dove into painting them in Oakland and when Miyuki opened them in Tokyo they were completely different to me. A part of me almost didn’t like what I made.
ーーWhy did you feature an apple in your drawings?
Chaz : An apple represents an idea– Isaac newton, apple computers, adam and eve.
ーーI felt like you were limiting the amount of exposure of your paintings to the audience by making them remember the eyes and the lips in a very vague way. Mediums such as painting, collage and drawing can all be used as a form of expression. How do you differentiate the use of all of them? How do you know which medium is best for the project?
Chaz : I never know what to do, I just start and if it’s crap I throw it away or start over.
ーーI think you said in another interview that compared to music, because art can be visually seen it can leave traces of personal thoughts. The exhibition was called “ This is Silly” and tackled the topic of life and death. Therefore I believe you were deeply considering such topics at the time. What made you come face to face with such topics?
Chaz : Life and death is a constant theme in my work. if it’s not those two then its mainly about the time in between. I liked the name ‘This is Silly’ because it brought just the right amount of humor to the pieces.
ーーAfter you finished creating your works and exhibited them, did your perception towards your own artwork change in anyway compared to when you were making them? Did you consider or look at them in a different light?
Chaz : Not really, my perception on changes once I see them on the gallery wall. Thats when I respect them.
ーーDo you have any themes that you would like to take on in the future?
Chaz : Not at the moment.
ーーPersonally, I would like to see some works like “Desert Void” in Japan. Do you have any art forms that you would like to try exclusively in Japan?
Chaz : I’m a fan of the voids too. I’m hoping to create more of these in the future, I’m not sure where yet though.
photography Keisuke Tanigawa
text&edit Ryoko Kuwahara