Jana & Js paint figures in the forest enclosed in tree trunk rings.
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Hikikomori, literally “pulling inward”, is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive individuals who withdraw from society, seeking extreme degrees of isolation. French artist taking the name of Hiki Komori combines human faces and bodies with architecture or natural elements, offering a series of exquisite and enigmatic portraits. Capturing the essence of the chosen solitude, these double exposure portraits invite viewers to the introspection. Intrigued by the person behind these powerful images, Artchipel invites Hiki Komori to speak about his personal story, creative process and his perspective on solitude.
Artchipel: Who is Hiki Komori? Tell us a bit more about your personal and educational background.
Hiki Komori: I always being fascinated by the collage. My mother used to make some as sketch for her painting. When I was ten, my grandmother bought me a comic book illustrated by Dave Mckean, “Arkham Asylum”. It was a revelation. I started to draw, but it was awful (laugh), so I turn into photography. I tried different mediums, from orthochromatic to Polaroid, and discovered Photoshop. I was doing my first collage, playing with layers, trying my best to “pull out what was in my head”.
Beside, I grew up with Mckean, a real inspiration, and other artists such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Ashley Wood. I’m also introduced to some great photographers thanks to a friend with a great art and cultural baggage: Joel Peter Witkin, Jan Saudek, David Nebreda and finally Mark Weaver. If he is reading this right now, I wish him to know how grateful I am.
A: How has the double exposure photography initially captured your attention?
HK: I used to make some as @pixtagram, with a series called “ghosts”. I wanted it to be simple, so I started shooting subject with an app called “true HDR”, that wasn’t really made for that kind of treatments. The principle was simple: shooting two pictures, one with the subject, and one without, and mix them. Here’s an example (view image) that was my first experiment with double exposure.
Later I tried different techniques. Finally I combined both collage and double exposure, which gave a satisfying result. But something happened and I stop creating for almost a year…
A: You use a mixture of human portraits and architecture or natural elements to create magical compositions. Can you give us a general overview of your work and share with us your creative process?
HK: I wanted something that expresses “the world in my head”. I first started to watch over the web for similar artistry and have discovered Dan Mountford (cf. Tumblr | previous posts on Artchipel). I fell for it and totally assume that my work is inspired directly from his. But spontaneously, that’s what was coming out from me.
I have a huge stock of industrial landscapes, structural shapes and trees photos. I just shoot portraits and try different combinations until I get a good result. I switch it to black and white with high level contrasts than colorize them to add a twist to vintage style.
A: Your images stand out for their soft aged appearance and the emotion that evokes. What themes do you pursue?
HK: Loneliness. There is a world around me and a world inside me. I’m trying to pull the world out of my head. And to forget… or to forgive.
A: Where do you find your image resources for your work? Are some of them personally connected to you?
HK: Most of them are self-portraits. But recently, I also shoot other subjects. All of them are connected to me. They are my family, friends or people who made me feel something through their works.
A: Do you have special rituals to get into creating mood?
HK: Alone at night, drunk most of the time (shame on me).
A: How do you use social medias such as Tumblr and Instagram as an artist?
HK: Social medias help me to enhance my visibility and to get some feedback about my works. I also met people I envision to work with. I recently contact other instagrammers to collaborate. Some answers and other don’t. Wait and see.
A: Do you seek out times for solitude for yourself? What does that mean for you?
HK: Yes I am. This is a space between me and other, a space where I can’t hurt nobody, and no one can hurt me. I’m sociable and like others’ company, but I also appreciate when I return to my solitude. It’s like if you’re listening to some awesome and powerful music. When it stops, you really enjoy the quiet and calm silence.