Takasuke Yamada of Okurayama Studio
1. Where were you born and where are you from ?
I was born in Tokyo and raised in Miyagi Prefecture in Japan.
2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?
Ever since I was a child, I was in an environment where artists and sculptors came and went in and out of Mt. Okurayama . There were books on art and architecture in my house, so I was naturally exposed to art. I saw an exhibition of Rodin’s work in Tokyo when I was very young and I still remember the scene, because it made an impression on me.
3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?
No. But I was enrolled in graphics at Central Saint Martins in London, so I learned more about assembling concepts than skills.
4. What led you to the design creation ?
I run a company, so I’m not sure if I’m calling myself a designer is the right name.
I’m not sure, but as I stared at the Daté Kan stones that come from my mountain, I felt a growing desire to make them myself.
5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?
Creativity always learns from nature’s forms and providence.
If it’s a stone, you can get inspiration for a design from the shape of the stone, or you can get a concept from the geology of how the stone was formed.
6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?
It starts with a day of checking the expressions on the employees’ faces and all over the studio.
Then I have various meetings. I also deal with visitors from far away. I think I design about one day a week.
7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?
Because there is interesting stones with a strong personality, called Daté Kan Stone, in Mt. Okurayama where I work at.
8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?
I am combining it with a hard material to keep the strength of the stone.
9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?
Have a good insight into nature. There are many clues in there.
10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?
I don’t think I belong anywhere.
11. What designers have influenced you ?
The ancient people who built the dolmen and menhirs
12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?
I can not pick one. I know many great designers.
13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?
14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?
There is nothing in particular.
Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
(The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The days of touching and exchanging beauty with each other.
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Nothing in particular.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Nothing in particular.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Father and Mother.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
To receive ethnic and indigenous hospitality.
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Being physically powerful.
10. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
12. Which talent would you most like to have?
A talent for finishing the job.
13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
None in particular.
14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
business owner, yet designer.
15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
16. Where would you most like to live?
Deep in the mountains of Japan.
17. What is your most treasured possession?
18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Life without access to beauty.
19. What is your favorite occupation?
Work on Daté Kan Ston stone today.
20. What is your most marked characteristic?
21. What do you most value in your friends?
22. Who are your favorite writers?
23. Who is your hero of fiction?
24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
No one. because I’ve never met the person.
25. Who are your heroes in real life?
Father and mother.
26. What are your favorite names?
Takasuke. It’s the name my parents gave me.
27. What is it that you most dislike?
28. What is your greatest regret?
That I didn’t buy Richard Long’s limited edition book.
29. How would you like to die?
On a clean and fluffy bed.
30. What is your motto?
The same kind of people call friends.