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Yuto Yamashita: Dot Art Street Performer In Tokyo

August 24, 2012

My sister is using this video to introduce her elementary school children to Papunya Tula, or dot art. She asked me to translate it for her so that it would be more meaningful to the students. When I was finished (just a quick and dirty translation), I figured I may as well post it here. Enjoy!

0:30 My name is Yamashita Yuto. Under the name dot@project, using dots, I create paintings “live” on the side of the road in Shimokitazawa. I started in front of the train station, and while it isn’t necessarily the best way to become a “contributing adult in society”, I really wanted to do it. When I started, I was greeted warmly by the people and someone even offered a place for me to set up and do my work, in front of Toyohakkaten, against their front shutter.

1:10 I use water paints, dilute the paints as necessary, and what is left [after I have painted] is a picture that I think captures the atmosphere and feeling of the neighborhood. Using aluminum and other materials, I create and use my own one-of-a-kind original tools for the painting. The store owners say I am providing advertising for their store, but I am just creating my own paintings which the store owners also happen to like, which makes me very happy.

2:15 I love the people who draw pictures or perform various acts on the street here. They are especially prevalent in Shimokitazawa district. Over time, the performers have been decreasing in number and I really didn’t want to see them disappear completely, and that was the main reason I started doing it myself.

3:00 The people here are really friendly and enjoy our work, so if you have any desire to work in front of people and be a part of the village here, or just want to try it, it isn’t difficult to get set up here. By all means, come and perform.

3:46 “I’ll take it! I will come back when it is finished.”
“It will be finished today.”
(takes a picture) “It’s finished.”

4:10 From here, I want to do my dot art performance not just in Shimokitazawa, but in other districts as well. When you perform, you meet all sorts of people, and each place offers different opportunities and events. Each place offers different scenery and I want to become a part of that landscape and make my own contribution to it. I intend to continue performing for a long time.

Film by Yasuhiro Umetsu

Editor’s Note: I wish that some of the societal over-spending on sports could be funneled into the arts. How awesome would the world be if, everywhere we went, there were live performances by passionate artists fulfilling their dreams, yet with the financial security that anyone who works all day long deserves. For that matter, maybe some of the ridiculous money that goes to RIAA et al could be used for such. Hmm….


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