Token Editions proudly welcomes Japanese digtial artist Kota Yamaji and his new NFT art drop “Funky Kid & Friends”, a playful series of artworks that illustrates the adventures of Kota’s iconic Blue Boy and the fantastic - and somewhat peculiar - friends he meets along the way.
Kota tells us that some of his earliest childhood memories include drawing his favorite characters from manga and animated films. As his passion for art grew, his inspirations diversified to include the works of Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte, and other luminaries of the Surrealist, Scuola Metafisica, and Dada movements, ultimately motivating Kota to pursue a degree in graphic design at the Tama Art University in Japan.
After completing his studies in 2015, Kota began working as a freelance graphic designer, but soon realized that he wasn’t able to express himself fully in his commissioned projects. Kota then began creating art “as an artist” and his now recognizable style was born.
Today Kota’s art is an explosion of colors and neat, bold patterns, strongly influenced by Japanese pop and Kawaii culture and the vibrant neon signs that decorate his home city of Tokyo. His longtime interest in early 20th century Dada artists - who challenged the conventional artistic techniques of their time and gave way to the surrealism art movement - is also reflected in his use of the surreal and the absurd. In his collection “Fashion Snap”, Kota replaces the heads of highly fashionable beings with everyday objects such as light bulbs. And in “Fake Face” he goes one step further, crowning his characters with everything from trees, sets of teeth and exotic fruits.
In this new collection, Blue Boy is not only a funky character who attracts 8-legged cats and catches rides on hammer-head sharks as they fly over land - he’s also an example of Kota’s passion and talent for creating digital fashion. Blue Boy's mouse-eared hoodie, bright attire, and sunglasses come together to create an eccentric look, and individually contribute to Kota’s growing portfolio of 3D digital apparel items.
When asked what being creative means to him, Kota answered “having my own style and being different from others” - a response that gives new life to past movements that pushed the boundaries of art. Over the past decade, Kota has successfully developed his is own style, attracting the attention of, and leading him to collaborate with, global tech and fashion brands such as Apple, Adobe, TAG Heuer, and Onitsuka Tiger.
Kota created the artworks in this collection using CINEMA4D, Marvelous Designer, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Rizom UV, DAZ Studio, After Effects, Photoshop, Cintiq Pro 24, and a computer that he built himself.
A FEW QUESTIONS WITH KOTA YAMAJI
What was your first childhood memory of being creative?
When I was a child, I liked reading Manga, so I began to trace the illustrations in them. Today I can barely draw illustrations like I did back then, but this memory is an important one for me.
What led you down the path of being an artist?
Being accepted to a university to study art was one of the biggest turning points for me.
Who do you look up to as an artist, and why?
I look up to artists of Dadaism because they completely changed the concept of art.
When did you begin to call yourself an artist? Was there a specific moment / accomplishment that led to this, or was it gradual?
After I graduated from the university, I began to work as a freelancer and I was involved in many projects, but at some point I realized I couldn’t express what I wanted to express while working on commissioned projects. So I began to create artworks as an “artist” in order to express myself.
Why do you make art?
There isn’t anything that I want to do except making art.
What does being creative mean to you?
Having my own style and being different from others.