Monday 26th June 2017

Heroes for Imagine

Motoi Yamamoto – Salt Mazes

Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto creates incredibly intricate mazes made entirely out of – salt!

Yamamoto started down this path of salt installations as a sad and tragic one. He was a student at the Kanazawa College of Art in 1996 when his younger sister died at the young age of 24 — after being diagnosed with brain cancer. To ease his grief and to honor her memory, he starting working on these installations. Salt has a special place in the death rituals of Japan, and is often handed out to people at the end of funerals, so they can sprinkle it on themselves to ward off evil. Since 2001, he’s been creating these amazing floor installations by filling a plastic bottle, usually used for machine oil, with white salt and then sprinkling it on the floor.

“I draw with a wish that, through each line, I am led to a memory of my sister. That is always at the bottom of my work. Each cell-like part, to me, is a memory of her that I call up, like a tiff I had with her over a pudding cake she took from the fridge. My wish is to put such tiny episodes together.”

The Hakone installation (below) looks like a giant tree with vein-like branches. Working 14 hours a day, it took him two weeks to complete.

Marco Walker

I caught up with fellow half-Austrian; photographer Marco Walker about life and his wonderful work.

What do you do and how did you end up doing it? Both my father and my grandfather were passionate amateur photographers so I guess it’s in my genes, I picked up a camera at 4 and have hardly put one down since. I also think it helps having travelled a lot through my childhood and adolescence always has made me want to document interesting places I have been.

What are you working on at the moment? I’m working on a campaign for my great friend and jewellery designer Bex Rox which we will be shooting around locations in London. I’m also working on a special project in conjunction with the London Olympics.

Who are your favorite artists/designers at the moment? I have great admiration and respect for many different artists from many different fields. I recently saw a show of Jean- Paul Goude’s work in a retrospective show in Paris which definitely stands out from anything else i’ve seen recently.

How would the people who know you best describe you? A mixture of laid back (I am half Californian with Hawaiian ancestry) and part Austrian which is where the more conservative and old school traditional side comes from.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Lake Tahoe California is a pretty special place to be … I love the nature up there but I guess I would get a little stir crazy after a while.

What is the love of your life? My girlfriend, family, friends and good food .

What’s your favorite London hangout? The Groucho Club – always full of characters, especially late at night up in the snooker room.

What annoys you? Low cost airlines namely Sleezy jet.

What is the best advice you’ve received? Never Give Up.

What are your current obsessions?John Stezakers and his amazing collages.

What was your latest epiphany? Early mornings over late nights.

What emotions are you trying to portray through your photography? Photography is all about taking the viewer to a time and place, stimulating an emotion – I want the viewer to be involved on every level, to be there and to feel it.

What is your guilty pleasure? Last minute trips to exotic places, all in the name of research.

Who do you admire? William Eggleston for pioneering color photography.

Incidental patterns, Alex Maclean.

Whilst researching for a project looking at coincidental markings and traces left by our development I came across this photographer Alex Maclean. Working around the world he has photographed a huge array of different landscapes from above, often concentrating on the incidental patterns and interference our development has on the natural landscape.

An Architect, Pilot and Urban planner Maclean seems to understand his subject matter to an extent that the pictures become more than beautiful sometimes abstract compositions and allow an insight into our footprint on the world. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Yeasayer – Ambling Alp

Another movie by the same guys who made Nuit Blanche. I am loving the mirrored faces.

Shao Fan’s Incredible Chairs.

Shao Fan whose paintings I featured a couple of weeks ago is back on Neon Cactus. His work is beautiful and inventive. His designs take traditional Chinese furniture  and essentially re-design and re-interprets it in modern context. His work deconstructs the boundaries between fine art and design, combining classical Ming wood carving techniques with contemporary design and materials to achieve a harmony symbolic of Chinese cultural evolution.

‘Shao Fan was one of a very few artists who did not pay much attention to this post-1989 mood,‘ Dr Zhang Hongxing says (senior curator at the V&A and organiser of the China Design Now show). ‘He was occupied by a sense of the emergence of great contradictions – old and new, local and global – in a society that was beginning to shift to a free market and a global economy. In his furniture art, the blending of craft and art expresses his anxiety about multiple influences at that time.’



His works can be found at the V & A [London], Metropolitan [New York], Pearl Lam Galleries [Shanghai],  and the Tomioka Museum [Japan] amongst others.

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