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A Dialogue Between Artists in the Different Fields
No.003
EAT&ART TARO, Contemporary Artist Ulala Imai, Painter

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

EAT&ART TARO (left) and Ulala Imai (right) at Shashokudo

Art from the Kitchen and Dining Table

TARO  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.

Imai  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.

TARO  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

TARO  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.

Imai  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.
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Original text was written in Japanese by Shinichi Uchida.
Photo: Shino Chikura

Cooperation from Shashokudo
Address: Oyama-cho 18-23, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5738-8480
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
Closed: Sundays (some public holidays)
https://www.facebook.com/shashokudo

Ulala Imai, PINE APPLE, 31.8 x 41cm, oil on canvas, 2019. I painted this when, after eating the pineapple and putting the rind back into the plastic bag, I suddenly saw how beautiful it was. Photos courtesy of Ulala Imai

Ulala Imai, PINE APPLE, 31.8 x 41cm, oil on canvas, 2019.
I painted this when, after eating the pineapple and putting the rind back into the plastic bag, I suddenly saw how beautiful it was.
Photos courtesy of Ulala Imai

Ulala Imai, BUTTER TOAST, 15.8 x 22.7cm, oil on canvas, 2019.

Ulala Imai, BUTTER TOAST, 15.8 x 22.7cm, oil on canvas, 2019.

Ulala Imai, MUSCUT, 15.8 x 22.7cm, oil on canvas, 2019.

Ulala Imai, MUSCUT, 15.8 x 22.7cm, oil on canvas, 2019.

EAT&ART TARO, ALL AWAY CAFÉ, 2016. Piece at Setouchi Triennale 2016. Café staffed by multinational servers who speak a total of 12 languages that do not include Japanese or English Photo courtesy of EAT& TARO

EAT&ART TARO, ALL AWAY CAFÉ, 2016.
Piece at Setouchi Triennale 2016.
Café staffed by multinational servers who speak a total of 12 languages that do not include Japanese or English
Photo courtesy of EAT&ART TARO

EAT&ART TARO, One Man Coffee Shop TARO, 2019. As part of the TOKYO TOSHIMA ART Festival in Toshima-ku, Tokyo, EAT&ART TARO opened a one-man coffee shop with seating for a single customer in the underground passageway of Ikebukuro Station. Photo courtesy of EAT&ART TARO

EAT&ART TARO, One Man Coffee Shop TARO, 2019.
As part of the TOKYO TOSHIMA ART Festival in Toshima-ku, Tokyo, EAT&ART TARO opened a one-man coffee shop with seating for a single customer in the underground passageway of Ikebukuro Station.
Photo courtesy of EAT&ART TARO

EAT&ART TARO, Setouchi Gastronomy (Setouchi Triennale), 2019. TARO prepares food as he talks about Setouchi’s climate and local ingredients. Photo courtesy of EAT&ART TARO

EAT&ART TARO, Setouchi Gastronomy (Setouchi Triennale), 2019.
TARO prepares food as he talks about Setouchi’s climate and local ingredients.
Photo courtesy of EAT&ART TARO

EAT&ART TARO Born in 1979 in Kanagawa Prefecture, TARO is a contemporary artist who creates unique food-related art projects distinctly his own based on his experience working in restaurants.
http://eat-art.info

EAT&ART TARO

Ulala Imai Born in 1982 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Imai is a painter who has held solo exhibitions across Japan. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions and as cover art and illustrations for novels and magazines.
https://ulalaimai.jimdo.com/

Ulala Imai