For someone in the creative industry, a lack of fresh ideas is probably the worst thing imaginable. But for Japanese artist Keigo, the solution to this is to stop overthinking.
“Over the years, I have come to realize that I can’t come up with interesting ideas even if I try to force myself, so I try not to think deeply and expect something to come up,” he said.
It is perhaps this relaxed attitude that speeds up the process by which new ideas come knocking at his door.
These ideas often result in him depicting common themes in daily life and making people laugh with his unique creative methodology.
The self-taught artist, who is so intensely private that he doesn’t like revealing his full name or his face, began drawing as an amateur in 2012 and has since created over 3,000 illustrations.
Over the course of eight years, he has uploaded a piece to Instagram every day while continuing his daytime job as an office worker.
The gentle humor in his art is unmissable and provides a daily dose of positive energy for his more than 1.1 million Instagram fans.
Some of Keigo’s favorite works include a cardboard box with painted-on faces that are twisted and sore from the strain of tape, sheets of paper with sketches of squids sent to the shredder to create tentacles, and the sun lying on the sofa and watching a weather forecast predicting heavy rainfall.
Eight years have changed him a lot.
The most significant change is that the number of ideas he finds interesting has gotten smaller as his online fanbase grew, Keigo said.
“In the early days, I immediately drew whatever I came up with and posted it. Now I think more carefully, try to eliminate common ideas and find something that makes sense to me,” he said.
“Looking back on my old work, I like the rough style, but most of the ideas are terrible.”
Yet Keigo is grateful to his followers, as they encouraged him to explore and elevate his style over the years.
He describes this process as “meaningful and lucky.”
Today, more of his works are diptychs that depict various animal characteristics encountering humorous real-life conundrums in their daily lives, which he creates using his “a+b” design concept.
For example, one of his signature pieces combines “increasing the volume of TV” + “person who talks secretly.”
Keigo sees the concept as less drawing, more experimenting with how things interact.
“There are endless combinations of patterns, so I can continue to engage in trial and error, which is happiness to me,” he said.
He also painted many diptychs of his recent favorite animal, sloths, while focusing on the theme of visualizing time.
The works show a sloth’s slowness when taking a taxi, visiting friends in the hospital, delivering food, or playing games with friends.
“I try to express the passage of time using methods other than clocks – with stories associated with natural phenomena,” he said.
“And having the sloth in the illustration makes the idea engaging and persuasive.”
Gallery by the Harbour at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui is running the artist’s first solo exhibition, a+b, until August 2.
Hurry and grab the last chance to discover why Keigo is such a big hit on Instagram and his quirky and witty delivery, which is sure to be a relief to viewers amid the worsening pandemic.
The display will feature six new pieces inspired by Hong Kong and specifically embedded for the exhibition, including witty scenarios such as a giraffe and a crocodile in school uniform, Kung Fu Sloth and Mr Dim Sum, reporting weather forecasts.
Alongside his new pieces, viewers will have the chance to explore Keigo’s creative process thanks to the inclusion of a selection of his original drafts.
(This article was published at The Standard on July 31, 2020: Weekend Glitz: A fresh perspective )