On October 24, hundreds gathered in the stylish environs of newly-renovated Hotel Il Palazzo for Fukuoka Now’s first Now Lounge event. The theme for the evening was International Creative Community and the intention was to provide an opportunity for artists, both foreign and Japanese, to meet and discuss their work.
The event also served as a showcase for the work of eleven foreign artists currently or formerly resident in Fukuoka. Samples of their art were projected on screens around the venue and they were introduced to the assembled crowd by Love FM’s Junko Fujita, who was MC for the evening. Party-goers were also treated to an eclectic mix of performances, which included live painting, experimental vocal manipulation and 8-bit Game Boy rock.
The turn-out was unprecedented with over 550 guests milling in over the course of the night. The event’s success lay not only in its gathering of large numbers of artists and art-lovers but also in the impressive internationalism on display, with literally dozens of different nationalities represented. While guests mingled, DJ Humphrey soundtracked proceedings with a laid-back set of ambient house which went down a treat. Visuals on the evening were provided by Norazam Zabania, who specially designed several video montages for the event, and Adam Burns, who created a slideshow of work by the featured artists. Speaking of the artists, let’s take a closer look at this talented collection of foreigners.
Simon Oxley has been living in Fukuoka since 2002. He runs his own successful design studio, Idokungfoo, and is most famous for designing the bird illustration used on Twitter’s home page. Speaking of the influences he has taken from Japanese culture, Simon cites the impact children’s animation has had on his work. “The exposure to animated kids’ programs has been a constant source of fascination – my kids are very young, so we watch them together – Dekoboko Friends, Zenmai Zamurai etc. There are very clever ideas woven into each tale with many references to Japanese life and tradition.”
In interviews, Oxley has expressed a growing interest in diversifying his output by producing work in wood, metal and plastic. It comes as no surprise, then, that he has recently branched out into the world of fashion, collaborating with Würkin Stiffs on a line of men’s accessories released this year.