"In my opinion now is the time for Street art to start to compete for more artistry and a voice Rather than just a “Nice Portrait”.

We went and met street artist Yutaro aka Enigm while he was just finishing his latest mural. We love Enigm's distinct style here at the Journal, his work truly stands out amongst some fine street art around London. We get an insight into the thought process behind it and what the scene is like in his native Tokyo. 

So who is Yutaro? where did you grow up and what is your background?

I'm a London based Japanese Street Artist. I Grew up in near Tokyo.  A Gigantic fan of old books and illustrations and my work on the street are influenced by that.

How long have you been doing Street art and how did you get into it?

Firstly I’d like to distinguish Graffiti and StreetArt with a massive respect for both cultures. I started tagging when I was 15, I was seeking for a community or culture where I can belong other than school. So It was sort of revenge and existence proof. Through the experiences of the Graffiti community and seeing the reality of the culture, my desire to be more productive and creative has grown.  It’s really recently that Graffiti has turned into Street Art.

How is the street art scene back in your native city Tokyo compared to London? 

The Graffiti scene in Tokyo is very closed, tiny and deeply underground.  Tagging in Tokyo is much much more difficult game than London, and becoming there are even more restrictions these days.  As regards to StreetArt - There is no culture so far in Tokyo in my opinion.

You have a very unique style and is clearly individual. what would you describe it as? Is this a clear vision you had from the get go? 

Two adjectives that describe Enigm’s style is sketchy and Surrealistic.  Actually there is no meaning behind my works at all. So basically my artworks are a combination of materials that I’m attracted to subconsciously. That is also the reason why Sketchy, victorian engraving style have become mine. I was always wondering If I can combine two materials which is Old book illustration, and StreetArt. So I found my style quite recently.

What is the best thing about creating art on the street? And the worst? 

Technically the best thing is that my work is there to see for the masses the street is my gallery. Worst thing.. there is not enough walls on earth.

In your opinion has graffiti/street art succeeded in attaining a unique and reputable position in contemporary art?

Enigm is pretty sure It has. There are many exhibitions related to Graffiti/Street Art, the number of StreetArt galleries are also increasing.  These days I strongly feel that loads of people are interested in the culture, or started to accept the culture. A number of clothing brands trying add Graffiti elements in as a result. However I think lots of Graffiti artists still think that Graff is not Art but just a type of Vandalism. In my opinion now is the time for Street art to start to compete for more artistry and a voice Rather than just a “Nice Portrait”.

More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer   

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published