Time Tunnel Series Vol.31
The “Time Tunnel” series places the spotlight on the earliest works of artists who have subsequently risen to the pinnacle of their field. Exhibitions probe into the concepts and methods of artistic expression at the source of these artists’ success.
The 31st exhibition in the series features works by art director and graphic designer Yukimasa Okumura. In the early 1970s, as a member of WORKSHOP MU!!, together with Tatsuhiko Manabe and Yasushi Nakayama he worked on numerous record jackets for Japanese rock artists during the genre’s formative years, including such acts as Happy End and Sadistic Mika Band. Subsequently, as art director in charge of the design of record cover art, posters, videos, stage sets and commercials for Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), he produced a succession of brilliant visuals that collectively resulted in his having a powerful impact on the Japanese music scene. Starting in 1989 he was quick to experiment in creating graphic works by computer as well as works applying his drawing skills in Japanese-style painting, which he had studied since his youth. As varied as his methods and approaches are, his artistic design work and the aesthetic eye he cultivated from his childhood are peerless. In recent years, Mr. Okumura continues to probe new approaches, as illustrated by his book design for ATOKATA, a book of photos by Kishin Shinoyama, and his finely executed line drawing technique adopted for his “Hiroshima Appeals 2012” poster.
The exhibition title, “The 2nd Yukimasa Okumura Festival,” harks back to the first event so named which was held to celebrate his winning of his first Tokyo ADC Award in 1982, shortly after he went freelance. For this second “festival” 31 years later, two venues will present visitors an overview of the wondrous appeal of Mr. Okumura’s design works, from his debut years right up to the present.
Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1947. Studied Japanese-style painting (Shijo School) from the time of his youth. Graduated from Kuwasawa Design School in 1968. In 1970 he participated in the foundation of WORKSHOP MU!!, where he was involved in the design of a large number of Japanese rock music albums (for artists including Happy End, Sadistic Mika Band and Eiichi Ohtaki). In 1979 he founded The Studio Tokyo Japan and garnered attention as art director for Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), involved in the design and production of their record albums, posters, videos, stage sets and commercials. Subsequently he also performed art direction for local musicians including Tatsuro Yamashita, Motoharu Sano, Moonriders, Kazuhiko Kato and The Checkers. Starting in 1982, he has won Tokyo ADC Awards on four occasions. He has been involved in the creation of numerous advertisements for clients such as Kirin Brewery, Suntory and Seiyu, and has performed book design for such well-known local writers as Mariko Hayashi, Ryu Murakami and Shinichi Nakazawa. In 1989 he created the first graphic works in Japan using a computer. In 2003 he won the Good Design Gold Award. In 2005 he unveiled “Yanagibashi” (Willow Bridge), an ukiyo-e style woodprint from his “Tokyo bijin no uchi” (Tokyo Beauties) series. In 2007 he won the “One Show Design Gold Pencil” award. Most recently, in 2009 he created the book design for Shin-Ichi Fukuoka’s Dynamic Equilibrium; in 2011, the book design for ATOKATA, a book of photos by Kishin Shinoyama; and in 2012 he designed the “Hiroshima Appeals 2012” poster. Mr. Okumura is a professor at Joshibi University of Art and Design and a member of Tokyo ADC, JAGDA, and Tokyo TDC.