Osaka Brand Committee
Gaku Azuma
Gaku Azuma
Gaku Azuma
Gaku Azuma
Yasumichi Morita
Yasumichi Morita
Ken Miki
Chiaki Murakami
Ryo Yamazaki
Biolgical field
Water city
Osaka Kaleidoscope
#8 Art Directer: Hiroyuki Yamamoto

A Man Who Sees the Streets of Osaka as a Global Canvas on Which to Draw His Artistic Dreams - Hiroyuki Yamamoto

Festivals Limited to a single day lack a sense of meaning. We need to create a system in which creativity is continuously born and nurturedl

The MIDO-SUJI ART GRANDPRIX, or MAG for short, aims to discover young creative talents in genre such as music, art, design, dance, and fashion. MAG has grown into a major event in Osaka, with its goal of serving as a stage on which new entertainments can be created and presented. Hiroyuki Yamamoto, the topic of this article, and a MAG organizer and producer, says;
“Osaka is finally developing a proper system or base that is able to support creative talents. Many Osaka-based events in the past have focused solely on how to make the day of the event exciting. For me, such plans to create a fervor of excitement for a single day lack a sense of meaning. We need to create a comprehensive system that positions Osaka as a creative center where new things are continuously being born and nurtured. Although MAG itself is a one-day event, it represents the closing chapter of a long-running process. For creative talents who have advanced through the tournament system, the MAG stage is the final destination that they aspire to. Before giving performances to MAG audiences, creative talents have to endure a long creative journey through preliminary stages of the event."
In fact, making MAG competitive was one element about which Yamamoto would not budge. He wanted to make MAG a year-long competition in which participants representing the different genre would battle to outdo each other. For example, in the "music" category, as a first stage, more than a dozen competitors are selected by the MAG committee from among applications received from the public. The competitors' songs are then streamed through the MAG website to be voted on by members of the public. On the day before MAG itself, five semifinalists perform live at a club in America-Mura, in front of both MAG committee members and major recording label representatives (including Avex and Sony). At MAG itself finalists perform on stage with big-name professional musicians.

Epoch-making artistic good projects - a fuse for triggering event excitement

Hiroyuki Yamamoto's talent as an event producer can be seen in many different projects. For the “Osaka Minami Art Festival of 2003” (the forerunner of MAG), he stole the public’s attention by selling t-shirts designed by famous artists. Contributors included names like Hiroko Koshino and Kashiwa Sato. These t-shirts were canned and sold via pink-colored automatic vending machines. For MAG last year, Yamamoto held a fashion show that featured "art pants," or underpants designed by popular artists such as Lily Franky and Shigeki Hattori (of the creative group “graf”). These “art pants” were sold using old-fashioned gacha-gacha capsule-vending machines. Such unique "artistic good" projects are prime examples of Yamamoto's creative distinctiveness. His somewhat eccentric activities as an artistic creator have also attracted global attention, including that of Paulus, the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine called "Issue One" in London. Being good friends with Yamamoto, Paulus has visited Osaka on a number of occasions, participating in past MAG events, and featuring articles on Osaka and MAG in his magazine. For Yamamoto himself, he has a vision of MAG growing into an international event, via frequent and active interactions among key figures based in London and other overseas cities.

A graphic design maverick who feels challenfed to produce unconventional, borderless creations

 So where did Hiroyuki Yamamoto originally come from?

In fact, he has worked mostly with flat surfaces as a graphic design industry art director. Yamamoto’s past work includes graphic designs for CD jackets, photographic exposes, event posters, and other media. In addition to such client-commissioned projects, Yamamoto designed, produced, and sold in overseas markets "WATER PLANET," an artistic book suspended in water. While his unconventional style of graphic expressionism has been highly evaluated overseas, bringing Yamamoto a number of awards, here in Japan he has been viewed as somewhat of a graphic design maverick. Speaking specifically, the Japanese graphic design establishment unfortunately does not have the tools to measure his creativity. At the same time, however, it seems commonalities exist, suggesting Yamamoto's pop-style, humor, and entertaining creativeness originate from certain traits that Osaka holds dear as forms of unique creative power.

My ideals for living everyday life are my work, the sense of joy it brinfs, and the sense of creative fun.

Of course, Hiroyuki Yamamoto's endeavors are not limited to the world of graphics. He has also completed various spatial design projects and worked as a producer of events. "Whether I design books or posters, or produce events or spatial designs, for me, what I am doing is basically the same thing," says Yamamoto. "As a creator, I always want to have fun and enjoy what I am creating. What is important to me is whether or not I enjoy the process of creation. This is more important than whether or not what I create is a commercial success. My greatest pleasure and my motivation comes from the moment when I create something that I really like, and when I get the opportunity to introduce the item in question to the public. It is my goal that I become able to do so as naturally as possible. In other words, my ideal is that I live everyday life as something both vocational and pleasurable. Such a state of affairs would be the most comfortable situation I could imagine.” For Yamamoto, everything he does in living centers on the joy of creation.







"Love River"--eco-minded art event helps clean Osaka's rivers

Yamamoto's latest project is an event titled "Love River," which will be held as an “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009” preliminary event. “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009” is an Osaka-wide campaign scheduled for next year. While designing the “Aqua Metropolis Osaka” campaign logo, Yamamoto was asked to produce a one-day event that was both budget-friendly and effective/entertaining in terms of focusing attention on the upcoming “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009” campaign. In response to this request, Yamamoto came up with a plan for a charity event that incorporated music and art as well as having the purpose of allowing people to enjoy and clean up local rivers. At the opening of the "Love River" event, Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu of Osaka City will perform a rendition of a baseball game "first-pitch" ceremony, throwing a “ball” containing effective microorganisms into a river. A variety of events will follow, including swan boat rides, charity concerts, visual presentations of waterfall videos, displays of artwork, eco-friendly markets, a spatial art exhibition by the creative group "graf," and much more. The event's exclusive music CD features musicians from independent labels, and it will be sold at the event in order to raise funds for the purchase of effective microorganism (EM) “balls" and "Love River" riverside benches. Yamamoto aims to have "Love River" act as a trigger-primer for the following “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009” campaign.


Hiroyuki Yamamoto Profile
Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Art Director
Yamamoto established Pict Inc. in 1993 to design artist video and CD jackets, and event posters, etc. He has also received a number of international awards for his work. Over the years, Yamamoto has extended the scope of his creative activities to encompass various fields. His representative works include "WATER PLANET," an artistic book suspended in water that was sold on overseas markets. In 2006, Yamamoto became the chief producer of MAG. In addition to heading up Pict Inc., he is also a member of the Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc.

【Past Major Projects and Presentations】
1998 CD jacket for Takashi Asahina’s "90's Birthday Memorial Concert"
1999 Video jacket for Kazufumi Miyazawa’s "AFROSICK LIVE"
2000 Design of the “East Asian Games 2001 Osaka” poster
2000 Publishing of "WATER PLANET" (artistic book suspended in water)
2001 Exhibitor at "KIDS' DREAM 2008" (Suntory Museum)
2001 Exhibitor at "Asian Graphic Designs" (OCAT Hall)
2005 Art Director of Naomi Matsushima’s photographic expose "Color"
2006 Chief Producer of MIDO-SUJI ART GRANDPRIX, (MAG)
2007 Designer of “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009” logo

【Awards (Among Others)】
1999 New York Festival International Print Media Competition (Silver Award)
2001 New York ADC (Merit Award)
2001 New York Festival International Print Media Competition (Silver and Bronze Awards)
2002 New York ADC (Distinctive Merit Award)

Author Profile
Kana Yoshimi
Yoshimi works as a copywriter and interviewer and runs her own office, Canariya Company. In collaboration with a talent agency, Yellow Cab WEST, Yoshimi just launched a new project, "Bunkajin," to support cultural figures in the Kansai region with their activities, mainly in casting and producing.