LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Takeo Hirose ("TH") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

TH : Ⅰ started studying photography by myself, in earnest in 2011 when Japan suffered from the huge earthquake disaster.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

TH : Through the earthquake I understood that the beautiful sceneries are not eternal but actually very fragile, and noticed the importance of taking photos of the Japanese beauty. I wish to express the world of traditional Japanese paintings and ink paintings with modern Japanese sensibility and the photo technology.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

TH : It was my choice.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

TH : I create works with motifs of Japanese scenery and materials.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

TH : I think it's important to take a lot of photos and develop them, and to see many art works other than photography and get inspired by them.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

TH : I think great designers are those who can influence people outside their area of expertise.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

TH : I evaluate whether the work has novelty and intelligence. In the case of art work, I evaluate by the impact, concept, and layer.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

TH : The value of design is that you can feel happy with it. I think it's important to look and feel good.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

TH : I would like to create works of cherry blossoms and wisteria, which are traditional Japanese motifs. Their blooming times are so short that I'm rarely lucky to shoot at the best timing.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

TH : I would like to take photos of the famous Kyoto Arashiyama bamboo forest illumination in an unattended situation. Since it is a very famous tourist spot, it is always crowded with many tourists and I can't calmly shoot there.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

TH : I think the way of developing is different from usual. I use cyanotype tone to make a little difference from traditional Japanese ink painting, which is another characteristic of mine.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

TH : Among the photographers, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andreas Gursky, and old famaous Japanese painters such as Hokusai, Hasegawa Tohaku, Ogata Korin, Ito Jakuchu are the source of my inspirations.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

TH : One of the most favorite works is "Theaters" series by Sugimoto Hiroshi. The idea of recording time by the long-exposure shot of movies made me so surprised and impressed. I love works which have layers of thought, or interpretation.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

TH : My best work so far is awarded one in the A' Design award. The title is "Skyscrapers NO.1". I think it is wholly well-balanced, bold yet intricate.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

TH : I recommend to see many art works in the museum. I feel that first-class arts have something in common.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

TH : Design enrich my life, make me happy and comfortable.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

TH : My most reliable supporter is my wife, who has often given hints and advices to me.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

TH : To keep creating my works.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

TH : I have found that I have red-green color vision deficiency and it is difficult to distinguish a certain color gamut. After that, I have been working on creating monochrome works and works that are not affected by such color blindness.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

TH : Photographers have many opportunities to present their works in the current SNS era, so I think that basically you should actively present your works and increase your fans. When you reach a certain level, it is also important not to present a work that you are not confident about and may not be evaluated.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

TH : I would like to continue creating bamboo forest works. In the future, I would like to create works with other Japanese motifs.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

TH : To be stored in a famous museum in the world. Delivering my works to collectors around the world.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

TH : There are still many things I can express with a motif of bamboo, and I would like to meet beautiful bamboo forests all over Japan.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

TH : Improving the status of photography in the art industry.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

TH : In the photography art, the manipulation and collage fields that emphasize the creativity of the artist will become popular.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

TH : I want to continue the current bamboo forest series for the rest of my life.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

TH : The quality of my works greatly rely on technological advances in cameras, development software, and displays. I became able to create works at a level that I could not do a few years ago.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

TH : The developing software is Photoshop and the developing display is DELL's 8K display. When developed with an 8K display, the resolution and perspective of the works become clear and more detailed developments become possible.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

TH : I wish people to ask about my intention to create the works.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

TH : When I walk with my dog, I often come up with a new idea.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

TH : I create my work by myself.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

TH : Mr. Kent Shiraishi, who is famous for the blue pond in Hokkaido, is my mentor. His online courses have taught me not only technically but also mentally, and my creative activities greatly influenced by him.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

TH : I was trained in books and online, and taught by Mr. Kent Shiraishi's online course.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

TH : I would like to meet with the famous Japanese painters of centuries ago, such as Hokusai, Ogata Korin, Tohaku, and Jakuchu.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

TH : Yes, I think it is very hard to be famous. However, I wish not to be famous, but to deliver my works to specific people who loves and cherish them.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

TH : My motivation is winning the contest and making the fans.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

TH : No, when I was young, I wasn't very good at art, but I was more interested in music.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

TH : I think that most of what humans can imagine now will be realized in future. We may begin to live on other planets or have contact with aliens.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

TAKEO HIROSE WAS BORN IN KYOTO, 1962. HE STARTED STUDYING PHOTOGRAPHY IN EARNEST IN 2011 WHEN JAPAN SUFFERED FROM THE HUGE EARTHQUAKE DISASTER. THROUGH THE EARTHQUAKE HE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERIES ARE NOT ETERNAL BUT ACTUALLY VERY FRAGILE, AND NOTICED THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING PHOTOS OF THE JAPANESE BEAUTY. HIS PRODUCTION CONCEPT IS TO EXPRESS THE WORLD OF TRADITIONAL JAPANESE PAINTINGS AND INK PAINTINGS WITH MODERN JAPANESE SENSIBILITY AND THE PHOTO TECHNOLOGY. FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS HE HAS PRODUCED THE WORKS WITH A MOTIF OF BAMBOO, WHICH CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH JAPAN.


Bamboo Forest Fine Art Photography

Bamboo Forest Fine Art Photography by Takeo Hirose

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