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Time Tunnel Series Vol.29

Koichi Hara Art Direction Exhibition: "Almost There"

  • DATES : Mon. October 19 - Fri. November 20, 2009
  • HOURS : 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
  • Closed Sundays and holidays. Admission free.

The “Time Tunnel” series of exhibitions spotlight the early years of designers who currently rank among the renowned leaders of their craft. For this 29th exhibition in the series, we requested the participation of art director Koichi Hara.
Koichi Hara was born in Yokohama in 1946 and grew up surrounded by American troops and American culture. He was infatuated with American and European films as a teenager, and discovered the graphic design profession by chance when his elder brother recommended that he go to see a graduation exhibition held at Kanagawa Technical High School. Impressed, he decided to enroll at this high school.
After graduating from Kanagawa Technical High School’s design course, Hara’s initial job offer from a design firm was eventually rescinded, but through an introduction from his brother’s friend he was employed by the Ashidate Group. From there, Hara was assigned to work at Dai-Ichi Tsushinsha, a news agency, and while there he came to know a senior copywriter who invited him to join Asatsu Inc., an advertising agency. At Asatsu, Hara was swamped with work assignments, among them ad campaigns for Japan Tobacco and Salt Public Corporation (now Japan Tobacco Inc.) and Suntory, and in 1980, at the age of 34, he received the highest award from the Tokyo Art Directors Club for his work on Suntory’s “SPIRIT” public relations magazine. After winning this prestigious award, Hara continued to draw on his bold ideas and his strengths in photography and copywriting to create an ongoing succession of vibrant and powerful advertisements. Meanwhile he also created numerous record jacket designs of striking brilliance for popular bands such as YMO and Southern All Stars. In 1985, at the age of 39, he went freelance. In the past decade or so, Hara has added editorial art direction to his portfolio, bringing his Midas touch especially to a wide range of photo books by both young artists and renowned photographers.

In his designs Hara says he consistently “throws straight-balls,” to convey his message with greater strength. That doesn’t mean, however, that his designs yield predictable results; on the contrary, his works have a strange power that attracts the viewer with their startling freshness and unsettling tone. “Almost There,” the exhibition title, is a phrase Hara uses regularly, addressed both to himself and to the designers who work for him. In a nutshell, those two words represent Hara’s stance seeking something never seen before, expressions all new in the realms of advertising and design.
This exhibition, simultaneously held at two locations, will be Koichi Hara’s first solo show. It will feature works from his earliest years through to the present. Visitors are sure to enjoy this rare opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of this inventive artist’s works.

Koichi Hara

Koichi Hara was born in Yokohama in 1946 and graduated from Kanagawa Technical High School in 1965. ...

Exhibition Profile
The full range of Koichi Hara’s output, from his earliest works to his most recent, will be on display simultaneously at Creation Gallery G8 and Guardian Garden.

Koichi Hara Interview Booklet
To coincide with Hara’s very first solo exhibition, a booklet of approximately 60 pages will be on sale (500 yen) featuring a full-length interview of the artist, describing his biographical details up to the present as well as his thoughts about design.

Creation Gallery G8, Guardian Garden