A Japanese street artist is making waves in Melbourne.
Melbourne-based artist Masahiko Yoshikawa has been making his mark in the city for more than a decade.
He has been a fixture in the hipster scene for nearly a decade, where he’s drawn on Japanese culture and his heritage.
But for the past five years, he has been on a mission to change perceptions about Japanese street art.
For Masahito Yoshikawa, it’s about taking an iconic and widely seen symbol of Japanese culture, and changing its public perception.
“The street art scene in Japan has always been about making things pop.
It’s very important to change the image of Japanese street artists in the west,” Yoshikawa said.”
The thing that I am interested in is the difference between a piece that is considered ‘traditional’ and a piece which is not.
It doesn’t matter what people think, the art is what makes people laugh.”
When Yoshikawa moved to Melbourne last year, he said, he felt like he was in a city that was changing.
The artist, who has been known as “The Madman” on social media, began with a simple, low-key piece of art.
He said he was inspired by a photograph he took of a Japanese street painter with a “bamboo cane”.
“It was something I thought was very traditional and not necessarily representative of what people are used to,” he said.
After spending a few days in Melbourne, Yoshikawa began working on his first street art piece, a white-washed, white-and-gold piece that uses a black-and‑white photograph of a man with his hands in a water fountain.
It’s a piece he says will be seen around the city.
Yoshikawa said he’s hoping his new work will inspire others to make their own art.
“I am trying to show that Japanese street arts are not restricted to just a handful of artists,” he explained.
“Japanese street art is everywhere, it is not limited to only a few artists, and it’s not just about one or two street artists.
We are all in this together.””
I want to show the world that Japanese art is not restricted only to a few people.
Japanese street is very universal.”
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