It’s the second time I’ve bumped into an exciting and emerging artist at a popular coffee shop near my house. The first time was Mayumi Yamase, whose work with Comme des Garçons and solo exhibitions are presently reaching stratospheric heights. And a few weeks back, I was introduced to Mao Yoshino, whose work was emblazoned on a beautiful Comme des Garçons Girl T-shirt and she seemed to very much embody the brand’s aesthetic and confidence. 

Yoshino, born in Aichi Prefecture in 1996, is a graduate of the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts and has recently been involved in and directed the Yamanote Line Museum, a project which aims to transform the line into an art museum and creative space and has also curated events and directed commercial projects. Colorful, bold and embracing contemporary Tokyo, Yoshino is making a name for herself as one of the capital’s most promising artists. I spoke with her about her work in the art and fashion industries and her aims for the future. 

What is your background in painting and art?

Ever since I was little, I wanted to convey something to people, so I drew pictures and gave them as gifts. After that, I felt words couldn’t express what I wanted to say. No, I think I subconsciously knew that painting was the way to express what I wanted to say. Following that flow, I went to an art university, and as soon as I finished my student life, I started living as an artist. Even now, I continue to draw what I want to give to someone.

You are working on a project with Comme des Garçons. How did that come about?

I was involved in an exhibition as a director, and someone related to Comme des Garçons came to visit us. That led them to see my work. One year later, my work was adopted for the collection. Rei Kawakubo is the person who has given me the most strength since I can remember.

How would you describe the aesthetics of your work?

Like a rock. And like mist. Like waves. And like the earth. It belongs to no one and is unstable.

What inspires your work?

Joy, love and hatred when interacting with people. Everything.

Comme des Garçons Girl

Can you tell me more about your work with MeltedMeadow and what you want to achieve with it?

The name of MeltedMeadow (stylized as MELTedMEADOW) has infinite possibilities. I would like to share the richness of creation and imagination with many people. By exhibiting art in public places such as stations and on trains, I have been working to make creations open to the city. It is a creation to destroy the cold and cramped atmosphere of Tokyo. Our goal is to create a “dancing city.”

Do you have any exhibitions or events planned for this year?

This year, I plan to focus on production and launching my own brand while living in the countryside. We are planning to exhibit at the end of this year or next year.

What are your future plans and dreams as an artist?

I’m thinking of launching a brand that incorporates my paintings into clothes.

I think it’s a new way to spread the message that I put in my work. Life is like a festival. I feel like the clothes will be used to celebrate that.