EAT&ART TARO is an experiential artist who takes food as his theme. Ulala Imai paints with a light touch and vibrant colors to depict everyday objects such as fresh fruit and buttered toast. The two artists, both of whom focus on the familiar with food, share ideas and talk about their art.
EAT&ART TARO (left) and Ulala Imai (right) at Shashokudo
Art from the Kitchen and Dining Table
After graduating from culinary school, I worked at restaurants. But I had always wanted to be involved in art, so I began catering at galleries and museums. Soon, I started presenting art projects on the theme of food, like Ogori Café (2008), where customers can only buy food for others, and Shokutsu (2012), a project where strangers living far apart send each other food by special delivery.
I am fascinated by the bloom and vitality of buttered toast and Muscat grapes, for example, and that is what I paint. When I’m taken with something, I snap a photo with my phone. Then sit down to paint it after sending my children off to school. I would like to paint what I am surprised, so I don’t sketch it out first. I start straight off by painting. Besides food, I also paint somewhat surreal scenes of dolls sitting around the table. I work on these late at night when my family is asleep.
It is interesting how similar that sense you describe of spontaneously painting what is there is to the act of cooking. Most of my works do not have a tangible form. So I can only imagine what you describe, which makes it all the more interesting.
Unwavering Focus and Enduring Willingness to Try Something New
The project I’m currently working on is based on interactions with people who live with individuals with eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.). It is a serious topic, so of course it is not a simple project, but in conveying what food means in contemporary society, I don’t want to shy away from these issues.
I don’t think that I will change the way I paint scenes of everyday life. But in the future, I would like to show my work in larger circles and take on the challenge of making larger sized paintings and paintings that in my own way reflect what is happening in society.
Original text was written in Japanese by Shinichi Uchida.
Photo: Shino Chikura
Cooperation from Shashokudo
Address: Oyama-cho 18-23, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
Closed: Sundays (some public holidays)