Meet the maestros of the MnK Cow Parade herd

August 25, 2015

Niseko has joined a special international club this summer with the hosting of the world’s largest public art event – Cow Parade. 47 decked out bovines, designed and decorated by talented artists from all over Japan together with some international artists, have found their homes in Niseko for the summer.

MnK sponsored 3 cows and we’re pleased to introduce two of the artists behind MnK’s mini-herd. Visit Niseko this fall to meet the full herd before they are auctioned off to raise funds for Shine On! Kids Japan in October.

  

MnK Cow: Mocksun at Akazora

Artist: 

Yuichi Hasegawa (aka Mocksun)

  

  

Hometown: 

Kuromatsunai, Hokkaido.

Favourite medium: 

Anything and everything, as long as Mocksun can use his favourite tool – his hands.

What makes the Mocksun cow special?: 

The entire surface of this cow is covered in tiny beads, all hand-placed…each and every 105,000 of them!

Why did you decide to make the artwork on the cow? What drew you to the concept and medium that you chose?

Using this as a break period from my usual work I thought that it would be great if I could join the public event and gain the attention of new people.For the design, I first planned to make a knitted work, but decided that it could carry on the “Mocksun” moniker and style of bead work.

  

  

What do you think the artwork you have created is about?

It is difficult to put into words, as I associate many thoughts and special feelings with this cow. This is because so many people supported me and I couldn’t have completed it without those connections with people and their help. “Thank you” is not enough at all.

  

  

What does it take to make an artwork like that? What was the hardest part of creating it?

It took me about a month and half to create. Remaining focused and concentrating on gluing the beads one by one on the cow’s body was the hardest part.

What do you have planned now that you’ve finished creating your cow(s)?

Before moving forward I would first like to reflect on my work and experiences. What I am trying to do now is to establish a grass roots art culture in the Niseko area that creates resources and platforms for the future. It would be my ideal if the area could flourish and become an attractive destination due to the combination of beautiful nature and human creations. Creating as “Mocksun”, I will keep looking for what I can do for this. Hopefully I will be responsible for being a part of this someday.

Artist Background

  

  

When did you first become interested in art? How long have you been making and creating for?

Since I was a little kid, I liked to combine things together to make something different rather than to create something new. More than anything else, I was good at destroying things (laughs). The “Mocksun” moniker that I currently use was established in 2010 and has been a vehicle for showing my creativity in many ways. I’ve been creating for 5 years now and am showing no signs of stopping.

Are other people in your family creative/ artists?

Even though none of my family members are professional artists, they are all creative people. My most inspiring family member is my grandfather. My favorite quotation from him is “You should not destroy things unless you can fix them”.

What inspires you?

Encounters and experiences through nature.

  

Do you have any favourite artist(s)?

It’s tough to choose one but I would have to say my grandfather is the one. What draws me to his work is I can see that the things he creates are drawn from his experiences through life.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating something that you are happy with?

For me to create a great piece I need to feel the discomfort of balancing hunger and passion with a lack of sleep. It can be crazy when feeling too satisfied yet not sleeping enough.

Do you have any tips for any aspiring artists?

If you, as an artist feel stuck or in a creative slump, please do not give up. Because you have huge potential to love what you can do. It will be all right.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I would like to say thank you to the sponsor for giving me such an opportunity, the staff who supported me, my family and friends who gave me a hand. In addition, there are many artists involved in this event and I would like to introduce one of my favorite cows titled “Cow-Bu-Ki”. The Kabuki cow looks great, and the artist Yuko Moroi should be featured more as she is an attractive artist and a great person.

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?

It’s under construction, here is my online portfolio

  

   

   

    

  

  

MnK Cow: Cow-Bu-Ki at The Orchards Niseko

Artist: 

Yuko Moroi

  

  

Hometown: 

Kyoto, Japan; now living in Kyogoku, Hokkaido.

Favourite medium: 

Vitrail, a transparent paint that creates a brilliant stained glass look.

What makes Cow-Bu-Ki special?: 

Cow-Bu-Ki is inspired by the traditional Japanese dance drama and I finished the cow by creating the Geta (wooden clogs) which are quintessentially Japanese. Also the natural wool hair is quite unique.

Why did you decide to make the artwork on the cow? What drew you to the concept and medium that you chose?

My friend’s husband asked me if I knew that Niseko is hosting the Cow Parade this summer. I was unaware of this but I thought that it would be nice if my art work could be seen by many people in the Niseko area. Luckily, I was chosen to design and paint two cows for the event.

  

  

The one placed at Orchard’s is called Cow-Bu-Ki. Kabuki is a Japanese traditional dance drama. I just played with the word Kabuki to make it to Cow-Bu-Ki. Since Niseko has such diversity and an international aspect, I thought that the Japanese style would attract attention from the audience. I used acrylic paint, lacquer, and oil based markers. I got hold of some natural wool and dyed it red for the hair.

  

  

The other one is placed at Ki Niseko. It’s called Shuka, meaning very hot day. It has sunflowers all over the cow body. I wanted to express a Japanese hot summer day. It is painted using acrylic paint.

What does it take to make an artwork like that? What was the hardest part of creating it?

It took me about a month and a half to paint the two cows. The hardest part for me was the finding the most compatible materials to paint with. It was a challenge to experiment before I actually put the colors on.

  

  

What do you have planned now that you’ve finished creating your cow(s)?

I’m not entirely sure I am a “real” artist. I will say that I like art and I want to keep art with me. In the future if I can be a part of some iniative in the local art scene in any way, I will be happy. I am also happy to freelance and help others so please contact me and let me know how we can possibly collaborate. This is a key interest for me moving forward!

  

Artist Background

  

  

When did you first become interested in art? How long have you been making art?

Well, when I look back at my life, art has always been close to me. When I was three, I already liked drawing. My mother was an artistic person who had good taste, so I naturally grew up in an artistic environment. I took an IB art course at high school in Switzerland and went to art school in Boston. I have also had held several group exhibitions in Tokyo.

Are other people in your family creative/ artists?

I think that on my mother’s side, my relatives are all very arty people, including my grandparents. My grand father especially had many hobbies, such as ceramic art, drawing, painting, and photography. My mother is a person who’s always had brilliant ideas to try anything and likes to create.

What are your influences as an artist? What inspires you?

Emotion. Nature. Music. Facial Expressions. Especially emotions carry a big weight. For me, creation is one of the ways to express my feelings and emotions.

  

  

Do you have any favourite artist(s)?

No one person in particular. I can’t choose one, but I respect artists who believe in themselves.

At what times and places do you most like to create?

When something is drawing me to create, it’s mostly when I’m in a melancholic mood. A calm and quiet place is ideal for me.

  

  

Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone with your art and how did it turn out?

That’s exactly what this cow painting was for me! I had never done that size of a painting before. Also painting on a three dimensional object was a new experience too. And it turned out fantastic!

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I couldn’t have done this without many people’s support. I also wouldn’t have met many other artists without this opportunity. This event has given me many things to think about and I feel I have grown lot. So, thank you all for this chance opportunity; it feels like it was meant to be.

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?

Not at the moment. If you would like to contact me please search me by name on Facebook.

Before we finish we would also like to also thank Takuya Yonezawa San who created the eye-catching mirrorball cow at Country Resort. Takuya lives in far northern Hokkaido at Teshio where he works as a teacher and writer. Unfortunately we were unable to catch up with him for photos and an interview but you can see some more of his great work here.

  

  

MnK warmly thanks all three artists for their great work and we hope you have enjoyed this insight into two of the artists lives.

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