Comics extend beyond printed books and Koichi Yairi is bringing a refreshing twist to the art exhibition scene! This emerging Japanese graphic artist hosts his first exhibition in Hong Kong, titled “Three Hunters & The Golden Rock” at Gallery by the Harbour from 28 September to 22 October, curated by WAY by Way of Difference. This exhibition features a collection of 18 acrylic on printed canvas works, all connected by one story.
Koichi Yairi’s drawing style is influenced by his childhood love for American cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry, The Simpsons, and SpongeBob. His distinct retro cartoon style and captivating monochromatic half-tones sets him apart from many new artists who often gravitate towards modern art. His witty creation of three “GHOST” characters and the adventurous scenes have gained popularity and captivated art enthusiasts.
In addition to his exhibitions, Yairi has collaborated with various brands like Beams and Casetify. Notably, he collaborated with his friend Yesung from Korean boy group Super Junior to design merchandise for Yesung’s solo concert in 2023.
Immerse in the giant “Three Hunters & The Golden Rock” picture book
Koichi Yairi curates each of his solo exhibitions as if they were big picture books, weaving adventurous tales featuring the “GHOST”. Following his previous “Planet Cherenkov” exhibition in Fukuoka, this exhibition continues the journey of the GHOST as they make their way back home from space. They come across a picture book titled “Three Hunters & The Golden Rock” inside their spaceship. The book tells the story of the chaos caused by a massive golden rock, with villagers adhering to the taboo of approaching it. However, as the tradition is passed down through generations, it undergoes twists and turns, gradually losing its original significance and becoming meaningless.
Beyond the realm of mere painting, Yairi’s artwork goes beyond aesthetics and consistently conveys messages to encourage visitors to reflect and contemplate. This time, he draws inspiration from the intriguing concept of the “Five Monkeys and Bananas Experience*”. He creates “Three Hunters & The Golden Rock”, reminding us of the importance to take a personal interpretation of the different conventions we follow.
* Five Monkeys and Bananas Experiment was conducted with the researchers punishing all the monkeys by spraying water whenever a monkey reaches for the banana. Later, a new monkey was introduced, the old monkeys would attack it for reaching for the banana, even though the punishment was lifted.
Making a splash in the art world: solo exhibitions in three countries in two years
Despite having been in the art world for only two years, Koichi Yairi has held solo exhibitions of his works in Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. His artwork has also been featured in prestigious auctions held by Sotheby’s, Bonhams and SBI, further highlighting the growing recognition and demand for Yairi’s pieces.
Yairi has also collaborated with popular brands and renowned pop music artists. Notably, he joined forces with Beams T and CASETiFY to launch a series of affordable art collectables. Yairi’s creative vision was also sought after for the prestigious FUJI ROCK Festival 2022, where he was invited to design the festival’s official T-shirt in partnership with Beams.
This year, Yairi collaborates with his friend Yesung from the famous Korean boy band Super Junior. He designed a series of merchandise for Yesung’s solo concert, from captivating lightsticks to stylish t-shirts, watches, and stickers. The merchandise resonated strongly with fans, resulting in a swift sell-out upon its release.
Koichi Yairi Solo Exhibition “Three Hunters & The Golden Rock” Exhibition
Date: 28 September – 22 October 2023
Time: 11am – 10pm
Venue: Gallery by the Harbour (Shop 207, Level 2, Ocean Centre, Harbour City)