Anna Lewis

Edwards, Jonathan

Our project was split into two separate trips - Japan in March and Toronto in May. The purpose of our Japan trip was to meet up with other artists (for possible future collaborations) and to visit galleries in Tokyo for a forthcoming exhibitions.

During the first week in Tokyo we visited galleries in the Graniph Store and La Foret in Harajuku and met up with three Tokyo based artists and spent the evening drawing with them in Roppongi. We spent time in Higashi Koganei with Tokyo based textile artist Erica Nagano and photographer Kohsuke Higuchi.

The following week started with a radio interview with Guy Perryman for a Tokyo based Japanese radio station who coincidentally had interviewed Gruff Rhys about the American Interior project two weeks before so Louise spoke about her involvement. The second week ended in the Kichijoji at the offices of manga company Coamix with a meeting of several renowned Japanese toy designers/artists.

It’s impossible to emphasise how important it is to meet up with people face to face especially when dealing with people in another country. Our Japanese is very basic but it’s much easier to speak to people rather than attempt to contact them via email. We were overawed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the contacts we made in Japan.

Our trip to Toronto consisted of 2 days exploring the city previous to the festival which we spent sketching and taking photographs ready for work based on Toronto in the future. The festival itself, TCAF, was extremely busy. We met many North American artists, publishers, design agencies, people working in the film industry and animation companies (representatives from Nickelodeon).

As a result of these trips, we were offered two exhibitions in Tokyo in 2016 - a large exhibition in the gallery space of Cafe Zenon (owned by Coamix) in the extremely desirable and culturally important area of Kichijoji and a smaller exhibition in the Megumi Ogita Gallery in Ginza. Both of these exhibitions would be hugely beneficial to us and introduce us to two very different but equally important audiences.

We now have a network of artists in Tokyo (and beyond) who we can collaborate with and will help promote our work in Japan. Toronto provided us with meetings with North American artists and gave us our first experience of exhibiting at a festival outside of the UK. We also made contacts with curators from local museums and galleries who are interested in working with us on future projects which involve our work reacting to site specific locations in Toronto.

We’d just like to thanks Wales Arts International for their continued support. We’ve had experiences and exposure that would have been unattainable without your help.

WAI supported Jonathan with travel and accommodation costs to visit Japan and Canada.

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