MR PORTER ‘The Japan Edit’ - Kazumichi Maruoka
Kazumichi Maruoka is an artist who marches to the beat of his own drum. Well-schooled in hardcore and punk, he works in pottery and illustration – his sculptural work revolves around ingenious, artisanal reimagining’s of the human skull . Born and raised in Hiroshima and now based in the outskirts of Tokyo, Maruoka finds himself most at home at the CPW skate store in Kaminoge – As part of the “Japan Edit” project in collaboration with luxury menswear retailer MR PORTER, we met up with him in the quiet residential area, and a somewhat surprising location for this hub of Mr Maruoka’s creative friends, who who share his passions in skateboarding, films and music /
What do you do and why do you do it?
I think the best way to explain what I do is I am a pottery artist. I have been doing this for the last decade now and while it was always something I wanted to be I learnt the hard way. At the time I wasn’t doing much, just working part time in a meaningless job so when I had spare time I would teach myself. The first thing I ever made was a ceramic skull and from then on I wanted to perfect the art form. When I finally had the confidence to show my work it was really well received and I was able to do exhibitions, I worked really hard on this until I found a way to make a living from it.
As my style continues to grow and evolve I enjoy creating certain pieces for different purposes like bonsai tree holders and skull motif vases. These types of objects allow me to have a fresh approach especially when showing my work in exhibitions. Then there is the paintings I have begun to work more and more on recently. This is another medium of which I want to put more effort into going forward.
How would you define your own personal style?
I would have to say I don’t really think to deeply about what I wear. I am surrounded by a lot of people in the fashion world and especially people who have their own brands. These people are a big part of my daily life and influence me a lot . A lot of these people though I know also through my interest in hard core and punk music, spending times at gigs and live houses. In terms of what is essential to my aesthetic, again I don’t really think about this. I guess the only thing I would consider is I don’t wear any colourful clothing, I stick to a very subdued colour pallet, black, white, grey that kind of thing. Again... it goes back to my friends but I almost exclusively wear Hiroshima denim by Blackmeans. But again I don’t think to deeply about this, it is more organic as to how it happens. I tend to buy from labels that I am friends with for example Blackmeans, Sasquatchfabrix, TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist. I don’t really think I would go out of my way to buy clothing made by people who aren’t my friends.
”I don’t really think I would go out of my way to buy clothing made by people who aren’t my friends”
What’s interesting to you about Japanese fashion?
I would have to say the originality to approaching design. A lot of these brands that I am friends with aren’t reinventing the wheel or doing anything completely different, but I think they have the ability to add something a little bit extra in terms of quality and detail.
What do you love about the CPW store?
The atmosphere of the store and everyone here is really laid-back. Its quite far from where I live but even then I make the effort to come here and get inspired by these wonderful people. I even had an exhibition here recently which was really fun. Everything in the store a really strong Japanese essence, a lot of the products are inspired by Japanese outlaws.
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