Sei Shimura is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work straddles the line between fine art and commercial art. This, if you have the skill and mindset, is a great position for an artist; you can make a living and exercise your creativity simultaneously.
Shimura sees his fine art work as virtually inseparable from his commercial pieces.
"My art itself is almost an extension of my design and my design also is supported as my art as a digital medium. My approach to art is much like how I approach designing a t-shirt graphic or a print. My stencils are separated by color like a multi colored screen print would be," says Shimura. "Also my composition of my art is much like my design, as I like to use bold graphics with sharp lines mixed with an organic application of paint or textural materials. My art also supports my design work because it gives me an edge over other designers who just do service work for clients. People want my artistic perspective on their design projects. In a sense my design work is art , just on a more commercial medium.”
Find out more at www.shimuradesign.com
"I work mostly with spray paint, stencils, and resin. I like to combine many layers of paint and resin to create depth. On wooden panels, I like to make a background collage of various paper whether it be Japanese rice paper or money," he says. "Diamond dust is sold at any arts and crafts store and it is essentially finely ground glass."
Shimura's clients range from Coca Cola to Snoop Dogg and a vast array of other clients.
"Working with big corporate companies is great because of the exposure that they can provide but often can be limiting to the creativity as often you find yourself compromising your art to match the brands’ core values or requests that they may have," he says. "Working with music industry artists are much more fun and liberating as they are artists too and want you to do whatever you want as they appreciate your input and aesthetic."
To Shimura any line between the commercial and "fine" art is a thin one. Indeed fine artists have, for more than a generation depicted everyday consumer items in their work.
"I think that design is just commercial art because it's meant to be consumed by the mass. But when Warhol puts a Brillo on a box or Campbell Soup packaging on a canvas it becomes art because of it's not a consumer product any more. I think new logos can become art too if it's painted on a canvas." says Shimura.
Shimura wants his work to trigger nostalgia; his pieces incorporate objects from our past, our everyday lives. His work brings these objects back as images, symbols.
"I want people to understand the thought behind the appropriation of something old into something new," he says. "Beauty and aesthetics is something that kind of happens through the process and is sometimes an after thought of the message."
"It’s a very attractive lifestyle to me. Being a starving artist is still much more desirable and respectable than being rich working for someone else. Passion over pension." he says.
In 2017 he is making more art with the aim of putting together a new solo show.