by Eva Glettner
Yoskay Yamamoto’s new exhibition “House of Daydreamers”—on show now at LA’s Giant Robot—is a stunning collection of art created solely in the last six months. The prolific artist’s show includes paintings, sculptures and a gallery installation all surrounding a common theme: home. Having left Japan as a teenager, Yamamoto’s roots, history and memories are obviously significant and important to him.
The move from Japan to the USA affected him personally and—in turn—artistically. “Being away from Japanese culture helped me appreciate the traditions and old customs better—and it was the same for my family,” Yamamoto explains. “After leaving home, I realized how good my mother’s food was! I feel like sometimes you have to be away to appreciate the true value of familiar things you take for granted.” But rather than have a firm way of remembering and representing home, the artist uses a variety of mediums and approaches the concept in an intriguing, but beautiful way. He says, “I enjoy working on different mediums because it allows me to bounce ideas off of one another. I get bored and tired of my work sometimes, and it’s nice to have options.”
“House of Daydreamers” has, overall, a poetic and dreamy quality. It brings to mind a large-scale, two-part public installation that the artist created in Hong Kong’s Times Square last year, for which the Square was filled with submerged head-shaped structures that people were encouraged to move through, sit on, touch and enjoy. This motif is seen again in Yamamoto’s current show, as it’s one that he returns to again and again in his work.
Those faces are highly recognizable as his creations—they are sweet (perhaps almost naïve) and charming, but with a slight tinge of melancholy. Yamamoto describes them as “whimsical and cute looking” but says that even though they look similar, each one is very much its own entity. “My characters come and go. Some get to stay a while and have a chance to evolve into something else. Some of them will disappear after their 15 minutes of fame.” It’s not surprising that Yamamoto’s tender approach to his characters and critters is also applied to his audience. He says, of his main motivation and mission when creating his various sculptures and paintings, “If I can make the audience smile—even for a bit—I feel like I did my job as an artist.”
Images courtesy of Yoskay Yamamoto