Andrew Pommier | Japan

ANP Artist Andrew Pommier visits and shows in Japan for the first time. Words & Sketches by Andrew, photos by Healthy.

The trip to Japan started mid-2013 with my friend Eiry asking me if I wanted to fly to Tokyo to see the legendary and reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel play at the Hostess Club Weekender music festival. I was hesitant at first as I’m not one to invest that much money into seeing a band play but with a little bit of thinking about the proposal over the following few days I came to realized the trip over the Pacific Ocean would be so much more than that one thing. The band was simply the catalyst to my first ever visit to Japan.

Once we had formulated our plan to get to Tokyo and had organized a few places to stay I started to look into what else we could get into there, Eiry had been there 4 previous time so was a perfect travelling companion. I’d wanted to visit Japan for a long time and wanted to do as much as I could with my first visit and two short weeks. I was soon put in contact with Yohey from RVCA Japan who amazingly was able to organize a quick solo show at Diginner Gallery in Tokyo’s Meguro City (after that the show travels to Botanica in Hamamatsu.) Once to the details where ironed out and the art was packed and shipped off all that was left to do was get on the plane.

First order of business after arrival was seeing Neutral Milk Hotel, which had to be one of the best shows I’d ever seen and it turns out that alone would’ve been worth the expense of the trip. Next was a quick one-week spin around Japan where Eiry and I visited the contemporary art venues of Naoshima, the gardens of Takamatsu, hung out with the sacred deer in Nara and checked out the aquarium of Osaka. Then back to Tokyo and down to business.

I met my art and the RVCA crew at the gallery. Where we spent the day before the opening setting up the show in the space. The show was a mix of recent oil paintings on canvas and also on panel plus 18 monotone acrylic on paper pieces I created the month before specifically for the show. Those pieces had nicely been framed before the set up day. Many hands made for light work. My Tokyo friend Katsuya was even put to work. Everything was set for the opening the next day.

I couldn’t have been happier with how the opening went. I was really happy with how the pieces worked together in the space. The people that turned out where positive and seemed to like what I had put together. Half way through the night I sat down in the center of the gallery to create three custom drawings on blank skateboard. I’m always really self-conscious when creating in front of a group and since the gallery was small and the people on the second level could look down on me drawing it doubled the focus. I’m also really awkward artistically when asked to create on the spot so I made sure to prepare in advance. Once that was done the pressure was off me and I was able to meet and talk to a good portion of the folks in attendance. The end of the night was mellow and after shutting up the gallery we rolled to a restaurant around the corner and enjoyed some delicious food and drinks. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my time in Tokyo. I can’t thank everyone at RVCA Japan enough for being so helpful and welcoming. Japan is a magical place that I look forward to returning to soon.

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