From Canvas to Hotel Room: Yuji Kanamaru’s Artistic Vision Comes to Life in Park Hotel Tokyo’s ‘Artist in Hotel’ Project


Yuji Kanamaru’s artworks feature animals freely wandering through scenes, strange and fantastical creatures, and buildings that transport viewers to a dreamlike world. Kanamaru’s artworks are captivating due to their nostalgic ambiance, creating a feeling of yearning for an unfamiliar place. As part of the ongoing ‘Artist-in-Hotel’ project at the Park Hotel Tokyo, Kanamaru is creating an artist’s room that showcases his unique style.

Exploring Park Hotel Tokyo’s ‘Artist in Hotel’ Project

‘Artist in Hotel’ is a project implemented at Park Hotel Tokyo where artists stay at the hotel and create their works. Park Hotel Tokyo has embarked on a mission to infuse artistic consciousness into every nook and cranny of the hotel, alluding to the concept of "a space-time where Japan's sense of beauty can be experienced."

As Park Hotel Tokyo undertakes the exciting “Artist Room” and “Wall Art” project to transform the hotel’s traditional guest rooms and walls into artistic canvases, Kanamaru’s attention is now entirely devoted to creating an immersive experience that imbues every aspect of the room with art.

Yuji Kanamaru's Jukai Chojuzu

The project undertaken by Kanamaru this time is on the 34th floor of the hotel, overlooking Tokyo, where skyscrapers tower over the city. In the “Artist Room” created by Kanamaru, original depictions of animals, birds, and flowers, inspired by the artwork of ITO Jakuchu’s Jukachoju-zu(English Title: Animals in the Flower Garden), adorn the walls paying homage to his masterpiece.

Although Kanamaru’s work is still in progress, one cannot help but be captivated by the animals and creatures that adorn each wall. As soon as you enter the room, you are immediately captivated by an exquisite array of elephants, giraffes, lions, and tigers - each with unique charisma. In addition, not to be missed are the endearing sheep, as they play an important role in providing comfort during sleepless nights. Lastly, a Tapir, also known as “The Baku” - a mythological creature believed to devour dreams, is also depicted on the wall, situated at a corner where the bed will be placed.

As we depart from Tokyo’s concrete jungle, where towering skyscrapers dominate the skyline, we are suddenly immersed in a fantastical jungle overflowing with a kaleidoscope of creatures. Titled Jukai Chojuzu, Kanamaru’s work seamlessly blends creatures from Jakuchu's Jukachoju-zu with the cityscape of Tokyo seen from the hotel room.

The right wall features a tribute painting to Ito Jakuchu's Flowers, Birds, Animals, while the left wall showcases a depiction of a sheep.

The Room as a Work of Art

Imagine spending your hotel stay surrounded by art - this is precisely what the “Artist Room” offers. However, creating this masterpiece is a challenging feat. Completing this project, which colors an entire hotel room with art, requires time and patience. To bring the envisioned artwork to life, the entire wall of the room is first painted with a base color. Then, in Kanamaru's case, he overlays multiple layers of colors on the wall, much like in his canvas works, and draws adorable creatures sequentially on the wall.

Work in progress.

At the artist's studio. The two canvases in the foreground have finished their base coat.

Kanamaru’s art is a magical patchwork of diverse creatures and buildings that come to life on a single canvas. Aptly named the “small canvas”, it is a world of art that resembles a hotel room, taking the viewer on a journey beyond the ordinary.

On the wall, a painted tortoise becomes a canvas for a playful display of a chameleon, nautilus, and armadillo that appear to emerge from its shell, creating a whimsical scene that delights the senses.

Familiar materials such as linen and English newspapers, commonly used by Kanamaru, are ingeniously woven into the room’s interior design.

Artist Rooms to be completed in 2023

The highly anticipated artist’s rooms, which commenced production in March 2021, are set to be fully realized by mid-2023. The entire 31st floor of the hotel has already been transformed into artist’s rooms, each showcasing the boundless creativity and imagination of its respective artist. According to Kanamaru, “As the number of artist rooms increases, the artists' imagination is displayed. There are rooms where the paintings, which were initially only on the walls, are now extended to the ceilings, bathrooms, and even the furniture, with the artists adding their touches.” Clearly, the artists are constantly pushing the boundaries of their craft, and Kanamaru is excited to do the same. He shared, “I also want to create rooms that are equally fun and exciting, without losing to anyone else."

Prepare yourself to experience the nostalgia of the artist’s room, where the urban landscape of Tokyo effortlessly merges with the natural beauty of flora and fauna.

Photo by Park Hotel Tokyo and Whitestone Gallery.

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