Yoshi Sodeoka is a self-proclaimed prog rock obsessed digital artist. He makes .gifs, really rad videos which also produce visually stunning still prints, and although he doesn’t consider himself a performer, he also makes music, sometimes exclusively as accompaniments to his artwork. Sodeoka started studying art at age 7 while he was growing up in Japan. He had an art tutor from an early age (having tutors is a pretty common practice there, even for people who aren’t wealthy) who got him into rock music including everything from The Rolling Stones to The Sex Pistols. He remembers having work in a local gallery at the age of 12, so he was pretty much dope from the start. Sodeoka spent his entire high school career playing in hardcore punk bands. He loves anything loud and has eclectic tastes: “I can have Chuck Mangionet and Napalm Death in the same playlist, and that’s the most natural thing in the world to me“. While attending art college in Japan, he got rejected from Parsons and RISD. In 1990, he made his way to New York City (where he currently resides with his wife and 2 cats) by way of his acceptance to the less stringent Pratt Institute (which happens to be a home away from home to many Superchief contributors).
Sedoka agrees with the general art world consensus that “psychedelic” is an appropriate word to describe his artwork. I can vouch that it’s beyond to awesome to get high and look at his work, but none of it is actually influenced by drugs.
“I think my psychedelic outputs must have something to do with making art on computer screens. The colors you see on the screens are also lights generated by machines. RGB colors don’t really exist in physical objects… So, I’m guessing that added element has some sort of effects on my senses. Maybe I’m mildly hallucinated by lights. The term psychedelic seems to fit ok. Whatever people want to call it. But it’s got nothing to do with drugs for me.”
As someone who spends the majority of their waking life staring at a computer screen, photoshopping or whatever, I can definitely relate to this sentiment. Although heavily employing modern technology to create his works, Sodeoka isn’t really into fancy expensive stuff and likes to take a more practical approach. He uses relatively simple software (such as After Effects, which he employes to make his .gifs) and the cheapest possible video equipment he can find on eBay. His largely analog and VHS based repertoire gives his work a retro feel, which appreciates but isn’t striving for. “What I want to achieve is a good mix of old and new to make something totally original.”
Let’s all take a couple minutes to hit a bong, enjoy the strobing meticulously created colors, shapes and sounds of Yoshi Sodeoka, and stroke our boners for all things Japanese.
“Psychedelic Death Vomit” 2010
from “Distortion II” series
from “Distortion” series
“Electric Hair Doom”
detail from “Visual Kei”
from “Echos” series
Some fun .gifs
Yoshi Sodeoka’s art has been shown all over the world and he has a long impressive CV including London’s Tate Britain, New York City’s Deitch Projects, The Creators Project’s La Gaîté lyrique in Paris, Edinburgh’s MU, São Paulo’s Rojo Nova, Barcelona’s OFFF, Baltimore Museum of Art, London’s OneDotZero, Barcelona’s Sonar Festival, Haifa Museum Israel, Berlin’s Transmediale and Whitney Museum of America’s Art.
For more on Yoshi Sodeoka check out his website.Tweet