Bananas and Beatles in Lacquer – Ryoma Noda’s Art Expression

  • ART
  • Contemporary Art Website “TRiCERA” introducing new up and coming Japanese artists
    Original article written by Shinzo Okuoka (May 14th, 2020)

    Fujitv-view (Japanese only)

    ・Ryoma Noda is a young Japanese artist attracting a lot of attention.
    ・He expresses his art by using lacquer with insects and bananas as a motif.
    ・Funnily, he admits he decided to study Art at university since his girlfriend chose to study there.

    With a nature motif, particularly insects or bananas, and by using lacquer, Ryoma Noda expresses his artistic sensibility. The 25 years old artist says he wants to create “a symbol of something positive”. Currently studying at the graduate school of Tokyo University of the Arts, he is a young up and coming artist in the Japanese art scene.

    When it comes to “Art”, people might have a strict image of it. But in the world of contemporary art, lots of young and cool artists flourish and create new views of the world.

    Interview with Ryoma Noda
  • First of all, could you tell us a bit about your art?
  • I express my art with a motif of insects like beetles, and recently bananas, by using lacquer.

    What I want to express is individual stories of nature. Seeing insects and nature, I feel something humans created can’t surpass that. We, human beings, are no match for the greatness of shapes and colors created by nature. Thinking about what I can do as a human being, I finally realized it is to express a story behind nature, including its shape. And this idea led to my current work.

    Vanana thorn /20.0×11.3×4.6/ Dry lacquer・copper

  • Nature presents a lot of things. Why did you choose a banana specifically?
  • A banana is a kind of a symbol. Bananas are nutritious fruits, and the banana on a tree reminds me of a royal crown hanging on a tree. It’s really energetic.

    I call it the “Vanana series” and the first letter “V” comes from “Victory”. I borrow this overwhelming presence from a real banana, making the mold from a real banana.

  • As with the beetle, do you want to draw something that looks dignified and strong?
  • Actually, I think that the most important thing for art is to create something that can make you more positive. Instead of negative feelings, it should be something which can empower and recall good memories, excitement, or victory. These positive things are important for the audience, I think.

    Beetles are exactly a symbol of power and majesty like a warrior armor. I wanted to reflect positive spirituality like “strength” to my work with that. That is my message.

  • Is it important to use lacquer?
  • Yes, it is. After all, I think that it is the most matching material to Japanese art. I think it fits the climate of Japan, the culture, and so on.

    《ordinally》 50.0×220.0×150.0㎝, Dry lacquer・Gold leaf・Abalone

  • We heard that you graduated from the art department in high school. So, you were always interested in art?
  • Actually, it was a very silly reason. I chose the same high school as my girlfriend when I was at junior high school [laughs]. So, it might be a coincidence.

    But while studying, gradually I felt more and more interested. I originally liked molding, and visual work like design.

    So, when I was in 3rd year high school I finally decided to aim for Arts University. I planned to go to a public university in Aichi prefecture when I was undergraduate, but finished with terrible results. I was so disappointed.

  • But in the next year, you entered Tokyo University of the Arts.
  • Yes, that was great.

    From professors to senior students, there are lots of role models and they inspire me a lot. It is really important to have someone to share your own artistic expression with.

    Collections of sample of work for his artwork

  • Did you have any indoor hobbies like art?
  • Not at all. I like the outdoors. If anything, I wanted to go out skateboarding or fishing. I was dedicated to playing soccer at elementary and junior high school, and rugby at high school.

    《 Evolution 》70.0×185.0×170.0, Dry lacquer・Silver leaf・Turban shell

  • Didn’t you like going to art exhibitions?
  • Hmm. It’s not that I didn’t like that, but I’m not good with paintings [a wry smile]. Especially abstract art is difficult to understand and it’s kind of stressful for me. I like to look at art in general, but. I want to take it in only with my eyes.

    In that meaning, if it’s objects or insects you can look at them without stress. Insects are the best.

  • So that’s why you want to express the visual side of it?
  • Some might find it weird, but I find it very beautiful. The greatness or beauty of nature, these are overwhelmingly beyond human beings.

    In the the atelier

  • What’s important to keep in mind when making art?
  • It might be a vague thing, but I try not to build a wall around myself. It’s really important to talk and exchange ideas with each other. I think it’s important to share what I want to express and bounce ideas off each other.

    Recently I had an opportunity to talk with active artists. Listening, talking and having my mistakes pointed out is really helpful for me. So, don’t be a social recluse.

    《Vanana Glitter 》 20.0×13.0×4.2, Dry lacquer・Abalone

  • What is your future goal?
  • I want to improve my skills. It is not something new, but I want to dig into my expression, like my current banana work.

    What can I do to evolve to deliver my idea more easily? Now is the time to polish it. And then, I want to share my work with as many people as possible.

    Ah… but I also want to pursue something gorgeous and too-much like beetles [laughs].

    Ryoma Noda, born in 1995, Ichinomiya City, Aichi prefecture. Graduated from the Design Department of Aichi Prefectural Okoshi technical high school in 2014 and entered the Craft Department of Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015. Won the Toride Mayor Award at the Graduation Exhibition of the Tokyo University of the Arts last year. Currently studying at the graduate school and majoring the lacquer art master’s course.