DigitalFruit- Yuma Yanagisawa

DigitalFruit is an interview series from Adafruit showcasing some of our favorite digital fine artists from around the world. As we begin this new decade with its rapidly changing landscape, we must envision our path through a different lens.  Over the next few weeks we’ll feature many innovative perspectives and techniques that will inspire our maker community to construct a bold creative frontier.  The only way is forward.

1. Where are you based?

I’m currently based in Tokyo, Japan. 

2. Tell us about your background?
Before college, I spent most of my life in smaller
 cities in Japan with limited access to culture in general. Those days now seem irrelevant in connection with my journey to digital art, as I spent my time- as a typical boy in a small city in Japan- playing basketball, guitar, and studying for tests.  I later moved to Tokyo to work on my degree, in hopes of having some fun in the biggest city in the country before working full time in the corporate world.  After hearing about YouTube for the first time as a freshman in 2008, I gradually became more curious about IT. I began learning HTML, CSS, Photoshop, etc. by myself because I recklessly chose social sciences as my major. Not long after, I found out about Processing as well as Max/MSP: programming languages for sound/visual artists. There is no eureka moment in real life-like movies, but I was genuinely astonished by these tools that allow people to create art pieces algorithmically. Since then, I have been making art with code- broadly speaking.

3. What inspires your work?
Many things/people. I often try getting inspired by artists who are not directly relevant to my field. For example, I check out photographers’ work to learn about camera angles. Paintings are also quite important for improving my taste in colors. Architecture for cool shapes. The list could go on much longer. 

4. What are you currently working on?
My new film project. I released my first short film called “Creative Code – Nature”. Probably my art form would best be described as creative coding. Amongst creative coders, it seems a bit rare to work in cinematography. What they typically do instead is to draw a “sketch” with their code. Personally, I’d like to try creating a visual narrative with my code-based imagery. Something more inspiring than a simple digital sketch. 

5. Describe your process and what tools you like to use.
I don’t have a fixed way of creating my art. I might find out a particular process that maximizes my creativity later, but at least at the moment, I tend to try a variety of methods. In my opinion, one of the most effective approaches to develop one’s artistic practice is to share what you make frequently on social media. That way, you can constantly motivate yourself and tweak your work on the fly. However, the main drawback with this approach to posting daily on Instagram is the reduced focus of being conceptual.  Right now, I’m interested in how established artists work on their projects. 

6. What does your workplace or studio look like? Do you work in silence or listen to music while you work?
I work in my room (my dream is to have a proper studio for myself). On a relatively small wood desk, there is a 27-inch 4K monitor, a DAN A4 (a tiny PC case), a keyboard, and a mouse. Speaking of music, I frequently listen to music while working. My favorite YouTube channel is Cercle. By the way, I’ve recently purchased the Sony WH-1000XM4. These headphones are recommended for those who want to work in silence. 

7. How has technology shaped your creative vision?
I’m a visual artist who doesn’t draw, meaning my creative vision is perhaps completely based on technology. It is sometimes really easy to automate or duplicate something with technology. Because of this, I appreciate artists who employ non-digital media. 

8. Any tips for someone interested in getting started in the digital art form?

I think it is worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to understand how your programs work completely if you’re elaborating on a sample project or tutorial. For example, if you copy and paste a code block and just change one parameter in ityou’re already making your own work in a sense.

Additionally, sharing your work is a great way to keep yourself motivated. To be honest, I would never have come this far, if I hadn’t posted my work online. It’s definitely rewarding to receive a message like “I’m a great fan of your work.”

9. Where do you see generative and digital art heading in the future?
I feel more people will make and share their creations as tools for digital art become more available. 

Yuma Yanagisawa



DigitalFruit is curated by Adafruit lead photographer- Andrew Tingle



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