Artist Talk - Interview Wtih Tomoo Gokita

Forget the original intention, to tighten the loose feeling that tends to loosen even though it has not achieved anything in particular.

I decided to interview Tomoo Gokita , who has been indebted to <loosejoints> since its launch (remotely and loosely).

Mr. Tomoo Gokita (hereafter referred to as " TG "): What shall we start with? How many years have you been dating Shun-kun?

Satoshi Shun (loosejoints leader / hereinafter referred to as " LJ "): It's been about 20 years. At first, I got to know Mr. (Jun) Tsunoda , Yacchan (TOGA designer), and (Keita) Ishiguro when I was playing with them.
In fact, it was Gokita-kun who was the reason for starting <loosejoints> and the reason for its revival. Originally, I was asked to draw a picture for the "remix" magazine, and I wanted to leave it in a solid form. I wanted to create a form in which the works of artists around me could be more art and culture, so I asked Mr. Gokita, "Would you be willing to present your work in the form of a T-shirt?" <loosejoints> was born from the place where I interrupted and went to consult.
TG : When you first started <loosejoints>, it was earlier than <TACOMA FUJI> (which is also provided by Mr. Gokita), right?
LJ : Right. As Gokita-kun has been saying for a long time, I started thinking, ``I won't win if I say it's a label.'' But if I just take a break, Nabe-chan (Tomoo Watanabe/TACOMA FUJI representative) will also become very popular, and I'm happy if the flow of culture, including other labels, will grow.
TG : Sure, maybe. (Jerry, who also provides works to TACOMA FUJI and loosejoints) Cormorant fishing has become more and more popular.
LJ : I'm really happy about that. Even so, the people around me from that time all had their own characters. .

GAME OVERCoronaCities

- So you've known each other for such a long time. It's still going on, but when I saw the "MOO" exhibition held at Taka Ishii Gallery in August and September last year during the coronavirus pandemic, my style and stance changed all at once just before the pandemic. I think Especially from the solo exhibition held last March at Milan's gallery Massimo de Carlo , before "MOO".
LJ : First of all, I was surprised by the title "GAME OVER". I thought that the title was always ahead of the times, rather than the sensitivity to the times.
TG : I never thought I would end up in a world like this, so I got a little scared (laughs). But I really like that title. I usually decide on the title after drawing a picture, but "GAME OVER" was decided before drawing, which is rare.
LJ : Did you have a particular intention in mind?
TG : I just came up with the word "GAME OVER", but after that exhibition, I started doing color works. So black & white also includes the meaning of ending once. Then, when the work was finished, I was like, "Let's go to Italy!" I already had my ticket.
LJ : I was ready to go to Italy too.
TG : Right! I really wanted to go there, so I researched all the local record stores. No matter where I go, I only go to record stores. I almost never go to museums or galleries (laughs).
When I was looking forward to it like that, Italy became crazy, and that's it now. Seriously, I haven't met anyone lately.
—Are you in a phase where you don't want to see anyone anymore after COVID-19?
TG : No, I want to go out drinking with my friends. I really want to drink (laughs). However, there is also the aspect that I am strangely accustomed to this life. Originally, I work alone. Of course, I have a feeling that I want to go drinking somewhere at night. I wonder how everyone is doing.
LJ : More and more artists are moving from Tokyo to other regions. I also feel that the functions and roles of the city of Tokyo are coming to an end.
TG : It's changed. I also have a house in Tokyo, but I thought about it for a while a long time ago. I asked my wife if I should live in the countryside, and I actually went to see it. It's cheap anyway.
There were various candidates, but I thought that it was impossible for me to live in the countryside. I was at a loss. I think it would be nice to be in the great outdoors, but I would definitely get bored of it. It's fine to go on a trip, but it's a bit difficult to live here.
LJ : As Kiki Kudo said, it seems that the number of artists and creatives moving to New York is increasing.
TG : Speaking of which, have you been to Kiki's New York house? That place is amazing too. Do whatever you want (laughs). At that house, we talked about doing a session while relaxing, and my husband Brian (Claws, who is active as a musician and filmmaker) and everyone had a session for about two hours. When I was playing the percussion that was around there, people reacted to my performance and got excited saying, "Let's make a record!"
Ahahahaha. How long have you been talking?
TG : About five years ago.
LJ : Kiki-chan is DJing with Theo Parrish now, so it's amazing. —All over the world, artists, creatives, and people who are said to be relatively sensitive are starting to leave the cities more and more, and I feel a little lonely. Mr. Gokita, do you think your style will change if you live in the countryside?
TG : I don't think it will change.
LJ : Originally, Gokita-kun's works are based on cities and culture.
TG : Yes, so I wonder if there is a rural area. But it seems that there are still people who say, "Gokita is a subculture." (laughs)
LJ : Don't you have some kind of admiration for people who are firmly rooted in the culture? But now, I think that there is no "mass culture" in the first place, but what is "subculture"?
TG : Oh yeah, what do you think "sub" is? For example, Jun Miura is said to be the “King of Subculture”, but from the point of view of him, he does a lot of art. That person's scrap is really amazing.

Everyday Things, Radio, Classical

the way, Mr. Gokita, what kind of schedule do you usually work on? Has anything changed in Corona?
TG : It's always been the same. On weekdays, I get up around 6:30 every morning, and my wife and I are the ones who get up earlier to prepare breakfast. I leave the house at 8:30 and arrive at the atelier at 9:30. So I smoked a cigarette and thought, "Well, what should I do today?" I recently got an old tube radio, so I mostly start by listening to the radio these days. For me, mornings are important.
LJ : Gokita-kun, you've always been a morning person. Is it because you're more productive in the morning, including your brain and motivation?
TG : Yes, I feel like drinking in the evening (laughs).
Also, because of my work, I'm always alone, so if I want to drink in the morning, I can. So don't be hard on yourself. At the very least, I have a rule that says, "I'll be patient until 17:00." I've been doing this for a long time, and when I was in my 30s, my friends often brought me beer without an appointment, and I started drinking at 10:00 in the morning (laughs). I was thinking of drawing a picture from now on, but it's okay. That happened a lot before we got married.
Well, like that, I work in the atelier until about 17:00, and when I get home, I have a few drinks, eat dinner with my family, talk about various things, and go to sleep. When I drink at home, I get drunk very quickly, so I often go to bed earlier than my children (laughs).
Have you started thinking more about your family? Last year, school was closed, and I had more time to spend with my children, so I thought about a lot of things.
LJ : How do you switch between spending time with your family and painting?
TG : Basically, I don't think there's much of a difference. But I think I've always been a clumsy person to switch my feelings.
When I'm in the mode of creating a work, I'm so absorbed in it that even in my dreams, paintings come up all the time, so I get nervous. I try not to bring that kind of feeling into my house, so I take a deep breath before entering the front door, and cheerfully say, "I'm home!"
—It also feels like an old office worker. By the way, do you feel like you're listening to the same program every day on the radio in the morning?
TG : Yeah, basically in the morning it's Nippon Cultural Broadcasting. First, "Kunimaru Japan (Kiwami Theater)", followed by "Makoto Otake (Golden Radio!)". Then, Nippon Broadcasting System's "(Takada Fumio's) Radio Beverly Days." Basically AM.
LJ : Tube radio, does it sound completely different?
TG : Of course it's not a good sound in the HiFi sense, but for some reason it's a comfortable sound quality.
LJ : Whenever I visit the atelier, I think it's a place where the sound always feels good.
TG : But I try not to be an audiophile (laughs). I've stuck one foot in it, but if I keep going like this, I'm going to get stuck in a quagmire.
LJ : Because some people build utility poles (laughs).
—Do you still watch professional wrestling?
TG : I'm watching, I'm just watching old stuff on YouTube (laughs).
LJ : I heard that a long time ago, when someone from New York tried to set up a dinner with Gokita-kun and Ryuichi Sakamoto-san, he was turned down saying, "I'm going to watch wrestling that day, so I can't." Gokita-kun, you're a YMO fan! .
TG : Oh yeah, Mr. Tei (Towa) asked me, "Gokita-kun, Sakamoto-san wants to see you, but what do you think?" When I asked, "Huh? Seriously? When is it?", he said, "Tomorrow!" I thought about it for a while, but I decided that I really wanted to go to professional wrestling, so I turned it down. Sakamoto-san seemed to be laughing a lot. Actually, Mr. Sakamoto also seems to like professional wrestling.
LJ : That's an amazing story (laughs). Are you doing professional wrestling without spectators now?
TG : They seem to be doing it with fewer customers. I'm mostly YouTube. Classics from the 70's and 80's.

Fishmans, Ricardo Villalobos, Nonfiction

Besides professional wrestling, do you watch anything on YouTube?

TG : I think there are a lot of live performances. My son is a junior high school student, but he plays the electric bass, and when I get home around 19:00, he usually plays the bass while watching YouTube. With that flow, we always watch live performances and music videos together while eating.
LJ : Do you talk about music with your son and teach him how to play instruments?
TG : I have records in my atelier, but most of them are at home now. When I got home and went to my room, it was obvious that my son had listened to my records (laughs). Maybe you were listening to James Brown. I don't want to say "listen to this" too much, so when someone asks me, I try to answer. It seems like I'm listening to Fishmans, Eiichi Otaki, and Haruomi Hosono right now.
LJ : Well, it's pretty early in junior high school.
TG : I didn't listen to Fishmans because they were too much of my generation, so we went shopping together for the first time. When I asked, "Why did you know Fishmans?", I heard that he saw a video of "Mino (music)", which introduces rock masterpieces on YouTube. Now that we have the internet, the amount of knowledge is amazing.
LJ : It's not like us, a generation that was literally physically digging through archives. Mr. Gokita, what kind of artists and genres are you listening to these days?
TG : Recently I bought some 1940s New Orleans jazz guys and techno Ricardo Villalobos.
LJ : Villa Lobos is perverted and nice.
TG : That guy's sound is amazing! After listening to that kind of electronic music, listen to old jazz, and then listen to Latin. It's already a mess.
LJ : Come to think of it, when I meet Gokita-kun, I get the impression that he's always reading a book.
TG : I love books. I guess I read mostly non-fiction stuff now. The memoirs of criminals and the unsolved cases of serial murders of little girls are interesting. It's like you know who the culprit is but you can't catch him. Or maybe a biography of a musician.
LJ : Is there anyone who would definitely buy this artist's work?
TG : Hmm, maybe not. I usually stop by a bookstore and find something interesting there and read it. I love bookstores and record stores. In this day and age, it's not easy to go there, so I've been buying a lot of them on "Discogs" on the internet. I'm buying crazy.
LJ : Have you been watching movies lately?
TG : Maybe I haven't seen it much. Ah, but recently, I saw "Making of Motown" at UPLINK in Kichijoji and Scorsese's "The Irishman" at the movie theater. The Irishman had a good soundtrack. It was arranged by Robbie Robertson, and I bought it because it was great. —I often hear that people spend more time listening to music and cooking because of the pandemic, but less time watching movies.
LJ : Is it because the world has become such that there is no difference between fiction and non-fiction?
TG : It certainly could be. It's kind of funny. I watched Mori (Yoshiro)'s apology press conference yesterday, but it's already a bug. That's terrible.
LJ : It was a press conference that just added fuel to the fire. Gokita-kun, you made a collage of Abe (former Prime Minister Shinzo) when you first declared a state of emergency, but that was the first time you officially announced something political, right?
TG : Yeah, first time. I tend to avoid political things as much as possible in my works, but when I received Abe's mask, I thought, "I don't need it, this is it!" Every week, "Weekly Masses" was sent to me, and each time there was a picture of Abe-chan, so I just cut it out and glued it together.
LJ : Politics is still pretty bad, how about making another political piece?
TG : I don't even want to make that anymore. It's like I'm overwhelmed with anger and stunned. Are you going to do the Olympics? Not everyone wants it anymore. Originally I was against it.

new works, manual labor, masters

more interested in Mr. Gokita's next exhibition than the Olympics.
LJ : It seems like Bram & Poe in May and Dallas Contemporary in June! Are you going with color works?
TG : How did you know that information (laughs)!? Yes, the exhibition will be in color. I can't go back to my old style. I may make some works that are close to monotone, but there are no so-called black and white works anymore.
LJ : Aren't you going to oil painting?
TG : As for the oil... I'd like to try it, but it takes too long to dry, so I might not be able to do it.
LJ : Gokita-kun, you're a fast writer. The large size that was exhibited at "MOO" was also drawn in one day.
TG : Yes, he draws unusually fast. I shouldn't have been honest, but when I was asked, "How long did this work take?" I answered, "I made it in an hour and a half." ). People say things like, "I only have a month until the exhibition, but can you do it?" You can actually do it, but it's hard. Even now, I still can't draw anything.
LJ : Is it a question of motivation?
TG : Yeah, actually it's still like this right now (showing a huge white canvas in the studio).
LJ : Well, you put up a pretty big canvas! Gokita-kun, you stretch yourself, don't you?
TG : Oh yeah. KAWS, Eric Parker, etc. I would ask, "How many assistants does Tomoo have?" But after 50 years old, it's quite difficult to put up a canvas (laughs). It's physical labor, isn't it? I have 14 large canvases and I just finished stretching them all yesterday. Of course, I want someone to do it because it's tiring, but it's kind of annoying. I don't want to get tired of it because I'm going to take care of it.
LJ : The opening of a solo exhibition seems to be difficult every time.
TG : The opening is exhausting. Actually, I'm not very good at opening. I like it when my friends come over and go "wow", but there are a lot of people I don't know these days, and the art industry is so unique.
LJ : Since all kinds of people gather around Gokita-kun, I thought that this corona crisis might have been a time for him to calm down and be alone.
TG : Oh yeah, but of course I want to see my friends. Since there are so many different kinds of people, I would say, "My wife is telling me to stop drinking" (laughs). When I think about it, I have more time for my family and myself, which is actually a good thing.
—Are there any artists you've been interested in lately?
TG : I don't know because I haven't seen much of the latest information because I haven't been able to interact with Corona. Lately, I've only seen the works of masters.
LJ : I think Gokita-kun is already a great master, but who is the master Gokita-kun is talking about?
TG : I often see art books by real people like Gauguin and Picasso. Come to think of it, there were about two ripoffs from me at an auction. It's a foreign artist, and if you look closely, it's different, but at first glance, it definitely looks like my painting.
LJ : How do you feel when that happens?
TG : I don't think anything because I have a strange confidence that I'm better than you, even though I'm like, "Wow, I'm getting better." Also, I'm already in color now (laughs). Because I went to another world.

Published: GUGGENHEIM Vol.03


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