One to Watch

Teiji Hayama

Teiji Hayama is a Japanese artist living and working in Switzerland. He studied art and fashion at Central Saint Martins London College of Art and Design. Hayama’s work is exhibited internationally, from the Scope Art Show in Basel, to The Affordable Art Fairs in London, Amsterdam, and Brussels. His work was featured in Art For Freedom, which was a global initiative encouraging creative expression in order to bring awareness to human rights violations. The online show was organized by Madonna, and curated by Katy Perry.

Hayama is known for his supernatural, elongated, and pale-skinned nymph artworks. He creates traditional paintings, as well as oil paintings on cut-out wood pieces (resembling human forms), whereby he dissolves the barrier between painting and sculpture. His flat-relief sculptures and paintings portray the transitional phase of pubescent girls slowly evolving into women; his figures are often depicted as naked or semi-nude. Hayama’s works yoke together both Western and Japanese influences. He combines motifs from different art historical periods, culled from Christian art, Greek mythology, and Japanese culture. With his use of materials such as wood, brass, steel, and aluminium, he is reconsidering the Christian Icon.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
The awareness of impermanence, innocence, purity, and vulnerability.  My portraits, which often depict naked figures and express a form of innocence, are one unique entity showing the purest essence of the human soul.  My subject matter is pubescent girls who are evolving into women; this is a transitional stage involving social and psychological changes, and my subjects represent messengers whose glassy, ambiguous gazes remind the viewer of the importance of life, and act as a wistful reminder to appreciate the ephemeral beauty that all things come to pass. Innocence and purity expressed in my work are utopian visions. I create these visions to inspire people to move toward an existence that is closer to a kind of beauty I try to build in my art, or at least to generate a dialogue with the viewer.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
A piece of advice I think of almost everyday is something I was often told at school when I was a child: “Fall seven times, stand up eight!”

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I cannot be without melodies in my life! Music is so inspiring and another great resource for creation!

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Egon Schiele’s “Self-Portrait with Physalis.” The contrast between self-confidence and fragility is fascinating.

Who are your favorite writers?
Friedrich Nietzsche and Motoori Norinaga, who is one of Japan’s greatest poets and is well known for his concept of “mono no aware.” I also love the science fiction writer, futurist and inventor, Sir Arthur Charles Clarke.