2018. 12 - 2019. 3

Visual experiences are precious. What I see becomes part of myself, and expands my world.

Special Interview : Tomoe Shinohara(Artist, Designer)


Interview: Satoshi Shinkai, Photos: Tatsuro Kakishima (Pointer), Stylist: Renju Osono, Hair & Make: Yoko Suemitsu
Interview at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
※Photos of the works with comment ※1 and ※2 are from the exhibition “TOP Collection: Learning, The Fragments of Dreams” (〜Nov. 4 Sun., 2018)and ※3 are from “The Magic Lantern: A Short History of Light and Shadow” (〜Oct. 14 Sun.,2018)  . You can not watch it now.

※The information posted is information as of October 2018.


Tomoe Shinohara became a hugely popular figure in the media in the late 90s for her unique fashion sense and personality. In recent years she has turned her multi-talented hand to clothing design, garnering a lot of attention.As she is a lover of the arts, we invited her to Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (TOP MUSEUM), where she spoke passionately about her thoughts on art as she toured the facility.

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Museums are very important to me; they help reveal the path I should take

One exhibition I saw here at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum that sticks in my memory featured photographs by Mario Giacomelli, back in 2013 (MARIO GIACOMELLI: THE BLACK IS WAITING FOR THE WHITE). In the white space, Giacomelli’s monochrome photographs were displayed in such a way that they seemed to be floating in space. As you’d expect, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum really knows how best to exhibit photographs!



As I was walking around here this time, and that large piece by Shoji Ueda – who I’m a big fan of – came into view, I got so excited! When I was shown around “The Magic Lantern: A Short History of Light and Shadow”, I could learn about the history of moving images, watch the decal of Edo period and the device like toy, and try a touchable model. It was the kind of exhibition that could excite adults as well as children. And “TOP Collection: Learning, The Fragments of Dreams” exhibition’s display and guide were cool. There were photos with people jumping, and others like that where you couldn’t help but smile. Photos were exhibited according to theme, regardless of artist or era – the way they led you through the exhibition was really great. The work that left the biggest impression on me was Yoichi Midorikawa’s Star-filled Night from the series Young Days. In one moment, my eyes and my heart were drawn in. I do some astrophotography myself, but this is its ideal form. I’m amazed that he was able to take this shot back in 1951. When I view a work of art, my enjoyment is mixed with a feeling of jealousy. It stirs thoughts about how I would have approached it, as an artist. When I feel that twinge of jealousy, it translates into a surge of motivation. Museums are very important to me; they help reveal the path I should take.


Yoichi Midorikawa《Star-filled Night》from the series〈Young Days〉, 1951,
collection of Tokyo Photographic Art Museum ※1


My work is a reflection of the art I have experienced

In high school, I joined astronomy club activity and start astrophotography. At first, I tried film camera but I couldn’t take nice pictures. Now, I use RICOH GR for about 10 years, it’s well-suited so I absolutely bring it to my journey. I like photos, but don’t think about using high value camera. Actually, I prefer how the photos would be so mine.



In 90’s, compact camera was popular, and I shoot my daily life using Konica BIG mini. I debuted when I was 16 years old, and everything I see was like glittering. I thought to leave all the thing as memory, so I always took pictures around myself. When I shift film camera to digital camera, I count how many pictures I took, and it was about fifty thousand (laugh). When I was young, I thought art was just a direct expression of the artist’s feelings, but when I decided to work as a designer, I came to see that what I make is a reflection of all the art I have experienced. I regularly visit museums and go to see a range of art forms including impressionist paintings, ukiyo-e prints, photographic exhibitions, ballet and kabuki. Having access to so many genres brings my own taste to the surface, and widens my range of expression. That’s why I think visual experiences are precious. What I see becomes a part of myself, and expands my world. I want to live a life where I’m able to view any genre through my own lens.

Believing in one’s craftsman DNA

Lately, I’ve been really interested in monochrome. Originally I went for bright colours in fashion, but even as a child I made black and white sketches and drawings, and in September 2018 I held my first exhibition of that kind of original drawing with an art director, Tatsuki Ikezawa. In main art work, I make-upped like drawings and I felt like I was a part of picture. His idea made the monochrome world to three-dimensional, and I thought that was really innovative and exciting. Someday I’d like to try my hand at some powerful monochrome fashion designs.

My grandmother was once a kimono seamstress, and I believe that her DNA as a craftsman has been passed on to me. Art, and my design work, are ways for me to express myself. In future I’d like to be the kind of artist who can connect my designs with society, but I still have a lot of studying to do.

Tomoe Shinohara

Photo Gallery

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