Stepping into the world of Akira Seo, a masterful artist who skillfully intertwines his unique upbringing, introspective perspectives, and love for the overlooked corners of urban landscapes, is like stepping into a symphony of dissonant jazz.
Akira Seo, born in Tokyo, Japan, is deeply rooted in the world of art. His mother ran a painting class at home, and his grandfather was an early anime creator in Japan. Growing up in such a creative environment, his fascination with art was nurtured from a young age. After working as a director for a satellite broadcasting station in Japan for four years, Seo moved to the U.S.A. He further honed his skills and graduated with a Masters degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography in 2002. Now, he divides his time between Hawaii, U.S.A., and Nagano, Japan, creating vivid and unforgettable art pieces.
Seo's recent masterpiece, "Dissonant Jazz Session," is a testament to his artistic process and vision. This piece, a labor of love that took two years to complete, captures the unintentional designs that urban settings birth. From graffiti on walls to the patterns of water seeping out from cracked concrete, these designs created a cacophony that reminded Seo of a jazz session. He found himself wanting to participate as an artist in such a session, and this work is the result of that desire.
Seo explained his inspiration comes when he immerses himself in nature and meditates slowly. Depending on where he is, it could be surfing in Hawaii or walking and jogging in the woods in Japan. His unique artistic style involves the use of toy cameras, pinhole lenses, and expired films. He prefers to express vague mental landscapes using these unconventional tools, seeking ways to express faded colors and blurry outlines with coarse-grained film. He often uses techniques such as emulsion lift and Japanese washi paper to create an atmosphere, and adds several processes before the final print.
Despite his success, Seo still struggles with the fear of presenting his work and exposing his inner self to others. Presenting a work, he says, is like showing one's inner self to others, and it takes a lot of courage for him. He admits to always being afraid of what to do if people don't accept him. However, he continues to strive towards his goal of creating works and earning a living off his art. He already has ideas for his next project, which is scheduled to start this fall.
Seo's art is a fascinating blend of his unique upbringing and his innovative artistic approach. He admits that his twin brother was much better at drawing than he was, and maybe that pushed him to find his own way of expressing himself. Despite not being as adept at drawing, he used photography as a medium for self-expression, adding his own style to it, making his work stand out in the industry.