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Interview: Takanori Aiba’s Incredible Dream-Like Models of Faraway Lands

After we wrote about Japanese artist Takanori Aiba's amazing bonsai tree houses, we planned on, one day, following up with another post that not only showed his other incredible sculptures, but also included an interview with him. I'm happy to announce that that day has come. Aiba was kind enough to not only answer our questions, he also provided these great images of his dream-like sculptures, giving us the inside scoop on what materials he used and how much time it took to construct each magnificent piece.

Above: Ice Cream Packages Tower
Year: 2010
Medium: Craft paper/ polyvinyl chloride / plastic/ cheek veneer sheet / plaster /acrylic resin / acrylic paint / epoxy resin / wood stain
Dimensions: W:600mm, D:400mm, H:850mm
Time spent: One and a half years

Year: 2005
Medium: Stone clay / resin clay / epoxy putty / hinoki veneer sheet / balsa veneer sheet / copper line / plastic/ resin/ Japanese ash/ glass
Dimensions: W:420mm, D:370mm, H:480mm
Time spent: A half year

Hawaiian Pineapple Resort
Year: 2009
Medium: Steel/ resin clay/ resin/ plaster/ plastic/ balsa veneer sheet/ epoxy putty/ FRP/ styrene foam/ glass
Dimensions: W:420mm, D:420mm, H:700mm
Time Spent: One year

The Lighthouse-A
Year: 2008
Medium: Japanese suiseki/ plastic / wire / stone clay/ resin / rubber
Dimensions: W:180mm, H:280mm
Time Spent: 3 months

The Lighthouse-B
Year: 2008
Medium: Japanese suiseki /balsa veneer sheet / wire / plaster / stone clay / plastic
Dimensions: W:200mm, H:370mm
Time Spent: 3 months

The Rock Island
Year: 2007
Medium: Chinese suiseki / wood clay/ stone clay/ plaster/ copper line/ epoxy putty/ plastic/ paper/ rubber/ resin/ Japanese ash/ glass
Dimensions: W:300mm, D:300mm, H:720mm
Time Spent: One year

Htel de Michelin
Year: 2006
Medium: Styrene foam / wood clay /stone clay /copper line /epoxy putty/plastic /aluminium foil /dry flower/ Japanese ash/ glass
Dimensions: W:500mm, D:500mm, H:870mm
Time Spent: One Year

What led you to create these intricate sculptures?
All my creation comes from my early experiences of bonsai making, World of Walt Disney and maze illustration. I had a habitude of observing small objects such as a piece of branch, antique can, whatever… since my elementary age.

I always got inspired from the question “if I could be a Lilliput…” (from Gulliver's Travels). Maybe such small objects could be transformed to become a huge scale of buildings, castles, and the world itself.

I'm also a big fan of Walt Disney World. I went into raptures over the TV show, “Disneyland” forty years ago. In this TV show, Walt Disney introduced the varied Disney worlds and stories. The Castle of Sleeping Beauty, Frontierland, Jungle Cruise and Submarine Nautilus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I was fascinated by those projected images from Disney World. Disney's fantasy and imagination is the basis for my creativity.

I built my career as a maze illustrator in my twenties. I got fully immersed in pushing a strong conceptual maze.

From my thirties, I shifted my career from being a maze illustrator to being a concept maker for the catering trade that creates a fusion between food and entertainment. I applied my method of giving surprise and joy to people for which I cultivated in my career as a maze illustrator.

Those wide range of experiences help me to come up with unique ideas. I always think about how I can surprise and bring joy to people, giving them a dream through my works.

Kazuya Mukami, who is the manufacturer of these models, has a great talent for modeling. He shifted his career from being a civil engineer to being my modeler. His basic knowledge and experience of civil engineering makes my ideas a more realistic and strong one. He is one of the few realists sharing dreams with me.

What kind of meanings do they hold for you?
My final dream is creating a theme park like Walt Disney did. These works are parts of my dream. I want to share my dreams with as many people as possible.

Will you be displaying them at a museum or art show soon?
I'm looking for the opportunities to show my works overseas. Currently, I don't have exhibition plans. I will keep looking for these opportunities.

Takanori Aiba: Website

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Takanori Aiba.

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