Takeru Amano Interview

Takeru Amano’s (1977) world is unique and reminiscent of childhood, inspired by the Japanese culture of the end of the 20th century in which he grew up. Takeru uses classical, philosophical or even mythological subjects and mixes them with neo-pop aesthetics and often a touch of humour. 

Recently, Takeru came to visit Vroom & Varossieau Gallery in Zaandam right after we both came back from the Urban Art Fair in Paris. During this visit he signed the Venus Neon (which is available now) and we had the chance to do an interview with him and discuss some very exciting plans for the future. We hope you’ll enjoy the interview and stay tuned for our upcoming events with Takeru!

Your iconic “Venus” has already been showcased in a variety of different formats, including paintings and sculptures. Now, Venus is shown as a beautiful neon. What are your thoughts on this and can you tell us a bit about how the idea came to life?

Takeru: I have been wanting to make a neon work for a while, and now that it is finally done I am very happy with the result. It is not easy to make a neon, it is expensive and it takes up a huge chunk of time. But now that it is made I am very content with it. The colour is perfect, and the size is great, too.

Do you have any plans to introduce another medium in the future? Since you have done sculptures, paintings, drawings, etc.

Takeru: I am currently doing the Venus as brass and in copper, two new kinds of sculptures which will be a small one and a big one. They are going to be finished in a golden colour. Venus has to be golden, right? You cannot do it in white, it has to be golden. It will be shown in Tokyo during a big exhibition this summer, and in Osaka. I would also love to show the neon in Tokyo during that exhibition.

In your work, you reference the “Venus”, as well as other classical art pieces like the “David” by Michelangelo, commonly seen as Icons. Has traditional European art inspired you from the beginning onwards?

Takeru:  Yes, it has. When I was younger I used to draw. Then when I turned 10 years old I went to an exhibition of works by Keith Haring in Tokyo. This is when I realized that you can also paint on walls, it doesn’t have to be on paper. From this moment onwards I really started to love art. When I turned 15 I went to Rome, Italy, where I saw the Pieta by Michelangelo, which introduced me to the ancient artworks that inspired me and my works to this day.

A returning figure in your works is the “Cat”. What is your relationship to this pet and how does it play a role in the creation of your works?

Takeru: It is my dream to have cats, which is why I like to paint them. My family prefers dogs, and I have a dog already, which I do add in my works as well. But personally, I prefer cats a bit more and I would love to have a cat myself, which is why for now I just have to paint them instead. And on top of that, people love cats and art with cats. They also like naked women, which you will find often in my works as well. The Japanese drawing style works very much in “lines”, while European art focuses more on light and layers. You will see this in manga style too, and even in the Japanese language (Kanji).

Do you have any plans coming up for the near future?

Takeru: There is a lot coming up in the near future. I have an exhibition coming up in Tokyo and in Osaka this summer. In September I will be part of a group show in Paris. Then there is a group exhibition in Miami with you (V&V), followed by a show in Taiwan in December. In 2023 there will be a show in Sato Gallery in Paris. But for this year mostly art fairs. Exhibitions take a bit more preparation.

It was great to have Takeru come by the gallery during his stay in Europe! Stay tuned for our upcoming events with Takeru. If you are interested in other works by Takeru, you can inquire about these through e-mail.