Satoshi Sakamoto was born 1970, in the Aomori prefecture, Japan. From 1996 he lived in Hirosaki city in the Tsugaru area. In 2010 he returned to his home town Nanbucho in Nanbu. The culture of the Aomori prefecture includes many local variations and differs from from the well known Japanese culture from Kyoto. And so too Satoshi’s art is different from many of the perceived norms of Japanese art.
Max Ernst was his earliest influence, however it was in 1987 when HR Giger came to Tokyo and the unusual popularity that arose among the younger Japanese that Satoshi was inspired to create his own artwork. Although Giger’s artwork was a popular sensation, Satoshi tried to look beyond the fashion and sought for it’s deeper meanings.
Satoshi studied oil painting and graduated from the Musashino Art University. His fascination with fantastic art like Giger was encouraged by his professor Eizo Fujibayashi, a surrealist painter who passed away in 1996.
From 1992 onwards Sakamoto combined airbrush with his oil paintings. He sought to visualize archetypes in an abstractive level without any figurative shapes. Instead of psychological symbols he works more directly with vivid colours. Sakamoto gives terms his artistic style as “Sur-naturalism”, which is based on the primary colors and abstract archetypes.
The inspiration for his artwork is often drawn from common everyday things, sometimes even rubbish that people don’t notice. He magnifies the neglected senses into a grand scale, through a process similar to divination or mediumism. Philosophically he is influenced by Rudolf Steiner.
“Sur-naturalism is a style attempting to emancipate and direct life’s power and senses through pure forms and colors. It strives to achieve the potential archetypes that are ever-present in nature.“
In 2008 he participated in a group exhibition with the International Fantastic Art Association (IFAA), a Japanese art group which seeks to build contacts and relationships internationally. Included in this show were two foreign guest artists, Leo Plaw and Luigi La Speranza. This exhibition caused Satoshi to consider just what Fantastic and Visionary art is because to that date there was no strict definition for the genre. He then later separated from the group.
In 2009 Satoshi curated the group exhibition, VISIONs, at the request of the Gallery Art Point manger in Ginza. The exhibition concept was directed by Satoshi’s investigation and concept of visionary art culture.
In considering where he places himself as an artist, he certainly does not consider himself as a psychedelic artist, although he admits his artwork has a psychedelic vision in some way. Rather he draws his use of vivid colours from both Asian and the Renaissance cultural traditions.
“I choose red to recreate the vital experience of initiation into a place where all living things act as a stimulus for the human soul. Like magma or blood, red declares a duel between internal nature and external nature. I think it also implicates the contrast between the red shrines of Japan and the green forests.
The artworks of the past, like ancient Japanese earthenware, instruct me to meditate upon the mythology described within its details. I believe that primitive artworks achieve higher states than any modern art. Perhaps by design it is a solemn experience of karma, a duality, of woman and man, killer and victim, or human and nature. Those are reflected in my paintings subconsciously.“