Layering a Mixture of the Good and the Bad | Hitomi Endo Interview


Hitomi Endo

The Whitestone Ginza New Gallery is holding a group exhibition entitled "Dimensions II" featuring the works of six gifted young artists, as a project to nurture the future of contemporary art. Its goal is to discover new talent and create opportunities for their presentation. And by exhibiting the works of several artists in the same space, it aims to bring new perspectives for both the viewers and the artists themselves.

For this exhibition, we conducted interviews with the six participating artists in order to reveal their inner worlds. We asked them the same set of questions to find out how they developed their current artistic expressions, and unravel the relationship between art and modern society as depicted in their artworks.

Traces of Disparity Enhanced by Overpainting

Hitomi Endo "CLOUDY PARK" (2022, 130.4 × 162.3 cm, acrylic on canvas)

1. Why did you decide to become an artist, and what makes you keep creating art?

ー I decided to become a painter because my mother used to make paintings herself. She hung her own paintings on the walls of our house, which gave me the chance to gaze at them. As a child, I wanted to create paintings that would brighten up someone's room, and that is the creed that I still follow today.

2. What do you think are the characteristics that define your artworks?

ー My paintings are formed by repeating a process of drawing what I see or feel then erasing certain parts. I have a "notebook of memories" where I randomly draw the things I see and the words I hear in my daily life. I then draw inspiration from these things, picking out certain images as I make it into painting. This "notebook of memories" preserves my experiences and feelings at a specific time and helps me recall them later on.

By repeatedly erasing some parts and painting them over, the meaning behind the image emerges from the disparity between those parts, rather than from the image itself. I carve out an image then erase it, gradually accumulating the traces of the erased parts. In a sense, by repeating a process of affirmation and negation, I am creating something new that is different from what it was before.

The act of painting over an existing image is connected to my expression of seeking freedom.

Hitomi Endo "Every Breath You Take" (2022, 162.3 × 194.0 cm, acrylic on canvas)

3. Your artwork entitled "Every Breath You Take" is a key visual of the exhibition. What kind of work is it?

ー It is based on a dream I had one day.

In a beautiful landscape that I had never seen before, I was a horse walking through a forest together with an unfamiliar mother and child. Although it was a landscape that can be found anywhere, it was a very beautiful sight in my dream, as if it was a world that I was seeing for the first time. Was it heaven? I do not know. It was the most blissful dream I have ever had, but it was also ominous and frightening at the same time. Every time I see that dream, I end up wondering if it is paradise or something else.

In order to recreate that world, I drew lines of various angles over several layers, creating a boundary between reality and the dream. The painting has a three-layer structure: inside the lines is a landscape, and I combined it with three different scenes and the people I saw in my fleeting recollection of the dream.

4. Are there any artists or artworks that influenced you? What do you like about them?

I was influenced by the works of Egon Schiele.

When I was taking time off from my studies, I was often perplexed with the use of paint colors. No matter what kind of paint I used, the colors always ended up becoming dirty. As I was looking for a solution to this problem, I discovered a book of Egon Schiele's paintings in a used bookstore in Kanda. The twisted body shapes and Expressionist lines and colors in his paintings felt raw to me, and I was impressed with his innovative composition style and his unique way of using colors.

Since then, I have always painted while paying attention to the fine line between dirty and clean.

Group Exhibition of Gifted Artists: Dimensions II

5. What does "art" mean to you?

ー I think art is a precious thing that develops and evolves with the changing economy, environment, politics, and technology over time. We humans have a broad-mindedness, a deep receptivity, and the power to expand our horizons despite being restrained.

In addition, I think art is something that lets us establish our own individuality, makes us reconsider our way of thinking and our values in unconventional ways, and gives us an inquiring mind that seeks to discover what is true, what is beautiful, and what is good.

6. What are your expectations from this group exhibition?

ー I think it will be a very good group exhibition that is completely unpredictable.

7. What are your plans for the future?

ー Right now, I am in the process of creating a three-dimensional artwork. I am still trying out different ideas that I came up with before. I myself don't know how it will turn out, but I am quite excited about it.

Hitomi Endo "Face" (2021, 65.3 × 53.0 cm, acrylic on canvas)

Hitomi Endo depicts the gap between fantasy and reality with an ephemeral but unique kind of awareness. The clear and bright colors and textures of her paintings evoke exhilaration and nostalgia, but they also have an indescribable exoticness that gradually entices the viewer into a strange, mysterious world.

The "Group Exhibition of Gifted Artists: Dimensions II" will run until October 21, 2023. If you can't make it in person, don't worry! You can explore the exhibition anytime online through the Whitestone Gallery Online Store.

View exhibition details »

Hitomi Endo "Ship" (2020, 33.4 × 33.4 cm, acrylic on canvas)

Born in 1990, Hitomi Endo graduated from Tokyo Zokei University with a major in Fine Arts in 2019. Endo was awarded consecutively ‘SOMPO Japan Special Award’ at “the 33rd Nichiyo-kai Exhibition”(2019) as well as ‘Tokyo Slider Award’ at “the 16th World Art Exhibition” (2020). In 2021, her work was accepted at the competition of SOMPO Museum of Art “FACE 2021”. In the following year, she was selected for the Grand-Prix at the 10th Exhibition “Debut2022”, a new face award for art hosted by Japanese monthly art magazine “Gekkan Bijyutsu”, receiving a unanimous vote from the jury: as the award’s privilege, a solo exhibition “A horse dreams as usual” was held in Tokyo. She was also awarded in succession at “Idemitsu Art Award 2022” and “FACE 2023”. Endo is considered as one of the most anticipated artists in the recent art scene. Her style, in which the core of the heart gazed tenderly blending with the landscape, has an exquisite visional and fresh presence. Her layered construction that beats a rhythm with its sensitive coloration invites the viewer to the unusual by its distinctive fluctuation and rhythmic movement.

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