An online event was held via Zoom with Sebastian Masuda in conjunction to the Japan America Society of Houston. This event focused on Masuda's works as an artist and his journey with colours.
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In this blog, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the event!
The session started off with a brief bio about Sebastian. During this section, they had an interactive poll where viewers could poll where they are from and if they have heard of kawaii.
When Sebastian joined in, he opened with showing his 2014 Colourful Rebellion Seventh Nightmare exhibit from New York City. He explained how, through this exhibit, he wanted to express what kawaii truly was. It was also his introduction to America as to who he was. (The exhibit is in the photo above)
According to Sebastian, when he was young, he was a bit hard of hearing, which made him focus more on visual information. He later went into theater arts during his college/university years. At the age of 23, he performed his own show. (1993 MAMA "Peanuts") This was a time where he was really starting to discover who he was. He performed another show in 1994, but critics and writer wrote poor reviews about it, due to his bizarre expressions in comparison to the "normal trends". After receiving so much feedback from critics, he made the decision to start working in Harajuku because he thought the people who hung around there would appreciate his arts more. He believed that he could make creations there, and eventually opened his shop 6%DOKIDOKI.
(This was a photo of one of Sebastian's first performances. He explained how he made a cake using whipped cream, put a girl on the cake, and then had someone drive through the cake. That was the whole performance.)
Sebastian also spoke about "pedestrians paradise" (it was said in Japanese but it was said a little fast and I missed it). This was the pedestrian flea market that used to be held in the Harajuku area. This is something Sebastian mentions in most of his lectures that I have attended. It is practically what started the big fashion and self expression movement within Harajuku.
There was a portion of this seminar that I have heard a few times already, which is the discussion of Sebastian traveling to 25 countries and doing various events for kawaii fashion! Through this he realized that only fashion lovers were enjoying his art and brand, but he wanted to continue with his artwork so that his audience can expand from children to elderly. Its really interesting hearing this because, yes, essentially when only the same people see your work, its only those people who will continuously see it as time goes on. But creating a larger outreach to those who will find it to be something new is difficult at times. Even for myself with my own clothing brand. Reaching out to others that aren't in your "circle" is not easy, but it is always the hopes!
The last portion, Sebastian discussed his 2020 Kawaii Tribe project. I discussed this project in a blog post that you can visit here. During this lecture, he also highlighted the Canadian Kawaii Tribe session!! I am really happy that I can be a part of these events and help to spread kawaii to many people.
(The Canadian Kawaii Tribe session that I helped to coordinate!)
One of the last things that Sebastian mentioned was that he wanted to concentrate on the thinking process during 2020's pandemic. He referenced the temples where the monks come to have mindless thoughts. He visited a temple and felt that he wanted to do this. "Keep thinking through this pandemic". This point really stood out to me, probably since I've been dealing with many personal thoughts lately in relation to my mental health. I remember when I went to Japan in 2016 and visited the island Miyajima, where I went to a temple that honoured many different religious beliefs. This temple was on a hill and, when I had reached the top and looked out onto the horizon, it was the first time I felt fully tranquil and refreshed. I hope that I can still find somewhere here in Ontario that I can visit soon and feel this way!! (Usually a visit a nice place called Tobermory, but I was not able to this year!)
This wraps up this article! Be sure to visit Sebastian's SNS to find out about more interesting events!