Friday, June 7, 2013

How Did I Become an Art Agent?

I've dedicated the past few weeks since graduating from college to embellishing my otaku nature. For me, that involves actually learning some Japanese. I signed up with, and quickly found a Japanese native who happened to be in New York and wanted help with his English. His name is Mago, and he's an accomplished artist in Japan struggling to find a little fame in the Big Apple.

I met him in the flesh for the first time two days ago in Chelsea (6/5), a location he's dead set on scouring for a gallery to show his work in. His feverish efforts are admirable, a level of dedication I have only seen in a few individuals. When we met in Starbucks this past Wednesday he eagerly showed me his online portfolio. I also helped him with an artist's statement for his latest piece, WET PAINT. Below is my likely terrible translation, but I think I captured the spirit of his work:

"While in the subway one day, I dirtied my hand on a wet handrail and was colored bright red. The walls, handrail and bench were freshly painted, with the signs WE PAINT affixed to them. I grew furious and depressed at the sight of my painted hand. I don't want to touch wet handrails anymore! I look out for WET PAINT signs all the time now. New Yorkers are afraid of touching wet paint in the subways, so they look for WET PAINT signs to protect themselves and their clothing. I take advantage of this natural aversion to wet paint: I want to see if people react defensively when my work also has WET PAINT signs on it. The irony is that my artwork is actually dry."

普段利用している地下鉄の手すりを握った時でした、普段とは違う鈍い肌触り、手を広げると手は真っ赤になっていました、そうペンキが手にこびりついていたのです、NYではとにかく、手すりや壁、ベンチなどいたる所をペンキで補修します、この地下鉄も同様でいたる所にペンキが塗られていました、それと同時に目に飛び込んできたのは赤字で「WET PAINT」と書かれたプラカード。それがいたる所に貼られていました、手が汚れた苛立ち、、、もう絶対こんな思いしたくない!僕は「WET PAINT」というプラカードに敏感になりました、そうもう二度とこんな思いはしたくないと防衛反応が働いたのです。 その瞬間、新しい創作のアイディアを思いつきました、この防衛反応を逆手に利用し、僕は少しアダルトな作品にこのプラカードを添えました、「WET PAINT」要は普段ニューヨーカーの皆も敏感になっているであろうこのカードを作品に貼ったのです、これで皆は必ず僕の絵を注意深く見ることでしょう。 人間が必然に持ってしまっている防衛本能を利用した作品です。

After roaming the galleries of Chelsea for opportunities to show his work (there were none, of course),  the second day we hung out consisted of dropping by several gallery openings, a neighborhood-wide event that apparently takes place every Thursday. We had a few drinks of wine, commented on how 難しい (difficult) the artwork was to comprehend, and then Mago took me to GO GO CURRY! It's a delicious restaurant chain from Japan that has a Manhattan location, W 38 St and 8th Ave, I believe. I had some breaded pork over rice coated in Japanese curry. Good stuff!

The moral of the story is this: please visit Mago's website at If anyone knows of some small galleries willing to accept artists who aren't already in their prime and getting enough attention as it is, drop some hints my way. Mago's a cool dude who patiently puts up with my Japanese speaking errors, as I struggle to teach him English with the same level of patience.

It's nice to be doing something productive (or at least interesting) during this duration of unemployment.

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