For Japanese, 'azuki', or red beans are symbol of happiness.
They have a role much more meaningful than mere food.
By adding little amount of azuki to the things around you, you can add some happiness to your life.
Let us begin happy life with azuki!
A life of Azuki
For micro mecenats who live the countries and areas other than Japan:
Please contact us, at first ,if you are interested in making your personal object 'Azuki art work'.
You need to send your personal object to the artist in Japan.
This is a participatory project that requires close communication between the creator and mecenats.
Takao Sakai, creative director of Azurer, will create your own, one-and-only artwork with a motif of azuki.
1. You are going to rend one of your personal properties to the artist.
* The artist will send a e-mail after the payment. And you will meet him few days later. Please take your staff at that time.
* In case you are living in the distant place, you can send the staff to the artist by means of postal service or delivery companies. In this case, the expense for transportation would be paid by the client.
* In case you would like to the artist to do his work on something impossible to transport (e.g., a vehicle, a furniture, or a house), The artist could visit and give a creation. The expense of the trip of the artist would be paid by the client. Please contact us beforehand if you are intended to do the project.
2. You are going to make closely communicate with the artist.
Making direct conversation is a very important process to know the personality of the mecenat and how his or her fondness for the staff the artist is going to give a work.
On the basis of the inspiration given through the communication, the artist expands his image of the work.
* In case you are living in the distant place and it is impossible to meet the artist face to face, you would communicate him with e-mail, telephone, and other means using internet like Skype.
3. The artist will carefully place the pieces of azukis over your chosen property, make it as the brand new product of art.
* These azuki pieces are artificial ones made by paper clay. So they are not going to perish and you can keep them semi permanently.
* Azukis used in the artworks are not water-proof. Please avoid choosing the things that may contact with water for the material.
* Please notice that the period of creation would be varied depends on the form/size of the material and the number of application.
4. The artwork would be made for you is a one-and-only, fully order-made. The artist will hand the artwork directly to the client.
* In case you are living in the distant place, the artwork will be transported. The payment of transportation would be paid by the client.
For all micromecenats:
5 propositions for you:
* The scales written bellow are surface area that covered by azukis.
* For example you can choose a 5cm square part of a large note pad.
* The sizes written below is only an indication. Because the work will be done on the personal property, there would be a slight difference of the size.
* You can contact about the project here.
About 'original print' service
Takao Sakai, photographer/creator of the project, will take a photograph of the artwork and develop as your memorial, original print. (A4 size, with signature of the creator, no frame)
・¥500 'Azuki sticker' exclusive for micro mecenats
"Exhibition ticket" ( Reception, Female, Japanese )
She is a receptionist at a certain company. One day, a visitor said to her: "Now I'm going to an exhibition!" and gone. As a matter of fact, she had two tickets for the exhibition. And she knew that she herself couldn’t go there for there is a separate errand. At that time, however, she failed to give her ticket to that visitor. She regretted the incident.
She said,” I’m a kind of person who likes to kill two birds with one stone the most. If I could give those tickets, the visitor would be happy, those tickets would not be wasted, and it would make me feel good. It could be a perfect win-win situation. But, I wasted that opportunity simply because I hesitated to act. I was so disappointed to myself.” She has kept the expired tickets with her for her lesson for several months after the incident.
After listening of her experience, I put azukis on the letter of the title of the exhibition. Now these tickets are no longer pieces of paper. I’d like to send a cheering yell for her by making these expired tickets into an artwork.
" A written oracle" (A private business owner, Female, Japanese)
This spring, she was in a depressed and equivocal mood after certain heart-aching incident. One day, she happened to go to Nikko, an old city in Japan, with her friend and drew a fortune slip at Nikko-san Rinno-ji, one of famous temples at that area. Why, the result was “Daikichi” (excellent). She became overjoyed and happy with the result and she could make her depression over in the wake of it. She enjoyed the trip very much. She felt something special with this slip and took it with her everyday in her pouch. There is a word “華菓応時鮮” written on the slip, which means “It is full-blooming if you are a flower, And if you are a fruit, now is the time to reap and eat”. I’ve got some inspiration from this message and draw a full-bloomed flower with azukis with a wish that the days of bloom last forever. And these azukis are going to be so.
" The broken sun glasses" (Art director, Male, Japanese)
These sun-glasses are his favorite, he received them from one of his friend five years ago and he wore them every day. But one day, he broke a joint of the glasses while he put them in his bag. He was informed about this project of Micromecenat when he was fussing about what to do with these and decided to turn them to an artwork. While I listen his stories about these grasses images of the product naturally came into my mind. I felt that he wanted to use these grasses still, so I put an azuki as an attachment of the grasses. So here is the sun-grasses with an azuki as a charm point. Don’t you think it is totally fashionable? However, he would have a hard time for stashing because it can’t be bent. I’m sincerely sorry about it.
"A new accessories"（A graduate student, Female, Japanese )
I received a brand-new accessory from her. I was bit surprised because I expected that she would bring her old stuff, stuff with her memories.
So I asked her why she brought a new accessory with her. She replied that she actually searched around with a decided image of an accessory with azuki, and she finally found one.
This is the accessory she want put with azuki attachment. One with symmetry crescent shape and a tiny pattern of hammering. I wondered how to put azukis on this charm, and decided to avoid any eccentricity, make it simple as possible.
When I choose the number of azuki carefully and put them with an order, I found the common taste with “ Copper Magnesium Plain”(1969), a masterpiece of Carl Andre and record jacket of “E2-E4”(1984), an epic song of Manuel Göttsching, a master of Krautrock. This one really tells what minimalism is. Incidentally, Manuel Göttsching is one of the “azurers”.
"A coral" (Artist, Male, Japanese)
This coral is owned by a famous artist in Japan. We’ve known each other for a long time, once I gave my artwork for the exhibition he organized. We joined together on a group-exhibition in 2011 at a gallery in London, too. Thinking about he would watch intently on the details of my handwork made me little bit nervous. How to arrange and put azukis on is totally depend on me, so I did with special carefulness.
He picked up this coral two years ago in Okinawa, when he traveled there with his friends. He collects corals and picked it out because “it’ll be interesting if you out azukis on the shape like this”.
For me this is the first occasion to put azukis on the natural object, so I started with look it intently. And I found that there is a bilateral structure in this seemingly irregular shape. So I put my azukis only to the “outer” side of the coral, to depict this interesting shape. As a result, it turned out to be an enigmatic object. The white of the coral started to look like cream, and, with the mixture of azukis, it looks like a brand-new kind of sweets or something. Is it a coincidence or a necessity? You wouldn’t tell it, or would you?
"A Knit-pin" (Designer, Female, Japanese)
She once was a photo-model of “Azurer”. She is well acquainted with my activity. She somehow wanted some goods with azuki before I started this project and imagined it would be good that if she put azukis on some Japanese traditional items like Obi tie or hair pin. She wanted to surprise her friends by showing those wearable azukis. But she found that there are not so many chances to wear kimono in her daily life. So she changed her mind to put azukis to the item she uses daily – a knit-pin.
Knit-pin is a small item so I put as many azukis as possible so that they can express their presence. And these azukis are detachable.I hope she could surprise her friends by coordinating these azukis with various styles of fashion and have a happy moment with them.
"A Pottery figurine" (Housewife, Female, Japanese)
A woman who lives in distant place asked me to work on her personal property, a pottery figurine.
One of her friend gave it to her when her house was enlarged and she displayed it outside for about 30years. This time she wanted give it a new life by putting azukis on it. The pottery figurine is very old but looked brand-new.
She has no idea why her friend choose this figurine as a gift. The two ducks were so impressive so I decided to put azukis all around of their bodies. The shiny texture of pottery goes so well with azuki. It is like this is the original design of the figurine. I did not cover the heads of ducks so that it looks like they are wearing some covers to avoid coldness of outside.
"A broken film camera" (Service sector、female、Japanese)
When she was a college student, it was a boom of photo-shooting among her friends. So she asked her uncle, who also likes photography, to give Nikon FE he had. She didn't use that film camera at that time, but her crave for shooting re-arisen in 4 years ago, and the desire made her to use the camera again. She shoot her daily scenes by the camera. But one day, it broke. she took it to repair shop, but it couldn't be repaired because the parts for the camera has already been out of stock of the maker. However, because she loved the camera so much, she decided to give new role for that camera by put azukis on it.
I was bit intimidated to put azukis on the camera at the first time, but then decided to put azukis on the very lens mount of the camera, to express an eccentric image that these azukis are coming out from the inside of the camera. Some would be offended, maybe, but I'm feeling success in this product, too.
"An Broken iPhone" (Organization staff, female, Japanese)
It was two years ago. She lost her iPhone, the first mobile phone in her life. She had no idea where she lost it, couldn’t find it after searching the path she came and calling to police. She had to live without cell phone for three weeks. After she give it up and buy new one, police called to her, said that someone brought her phone. So she headed to the police station to have it back, but the screen of the phone was broken. And there was an interesting story behind it. The one who found the phone was a three-year-old boy, and according to his father, it was the first time he did something good for a stranger. She decided to give him the phone as a memorial gift.
She asked me to put azukis on the iPhone with both of good and bad memories. The design is so simple that limited me to choose where to put azukis, but, I wanted to feature the broken screen. So I put these azukis around the shape of the crack. Home button was barely left, so that people could recognize it is an iPhone.
"The Statue of Liberty" (Event planner, female, Japan)
She held her wedding in N.Y. one and a half year ago. And at the end of last year, she returned there, visited the church of her wedding and other places of her memory, and met her friends. “N.Y. is my second hometown, my place of starting over. I wanted to put azukis, which believed to have a power to repel evils, on the Statue of Liberty, the icon of the city, to make my own guardian goddess.” She choose cheep (and cheerful) statue from all the other statues being sold in the city.
I put azukis on the flame of the torch to make it bigger, more impressive to express the nobleness and strength as the guardian goddess. The azuki goddess will repel all badness for this woman and her family.
"A drawer" (Gallerist, male, Japan)
One of my friends who is a gellerist of contemporary art surprised me by asking me to put azukis on his drawer. It seemed to be used for a long time, painted white. I asked him how he is using it. It is a drawer of a chest for solid works he owns. And he said he decided to use this drawer as azuki-exclusive. I became sober a bit. The drawer is large in comparison with other objects I put azukis, it made me wonder how to coordinate azukis on such an object, but I decided to leave function of a handle by shaping it connected from the inside to the outside. It looks like azukis are bubbling out from the handle, and when you open the drawer, azukis are propagating inside like cells.
He said the drawer is azuki-exclusive, but, I made some space for other products. I wish some interesting solid works go inside, harmoniously with my azukis.
"Obi tie and belt decoration" (Female, Japanese)
She wears kimonos for daily use and she says: “For me kimono is a wear to go!” In these days, there are washable kimonos made by wool or polyester, and she owns bunch of such kimonos. Obi tie and belt decoration are meant to be an accent of her kimono, and I was asked to put azukis on that Obi tie and decoration. Because azuki is a lucky charm, she chose the color of the strings of the decoration gold, and tied it in “Kissho musubi” (Lucky knot) by herself, she found how to make the knot from asian-knot web site.I put azukis like they are dripping out from inside of obi tie, and arranged azukis like a shape of a flower on the belt decoration. They will give shine of luck on her kimono.
"Baby shoes" (Museum stuff, male, Japanese)
Tiny, little shoes size of 12cm. These are owned by a guide stuff of a museum in Tokyo. He is a father of two children. He bought them when the first boy, now 4 years old, was 11 month as the father’s first chosen wear for his son. The daughter, who is now 1 year old, wears these shoes as her first footwear. He put both of their names on the back of the shoes.It is my honor to put my azukis on the goods of the family’s memory. I decided not put azukis on the name and inside of the shoes, because these parts were attached by children’s own foots, and arranged azukis as a decoration, accorded with the exterior design of the shoes. They became very cute covered with azukis. It makes me really happy when I imagine these children grow up and remember their childhood by seeing these shoes.
AZURER Creative Director
Born in Tokyo, Japan
Completed Postgraduate Studies in Design Course, Tokyo University of the Arts
'Photo Lounge 5', Saravah Tokyo
'Sumida River Art Project', Asahi Art Square, Tokyo
'Sweets Party!!', Khaosan Tokyo Annex
'Tokyo Hotaru Festival', Sumidagawa Terrace, Tokyo
'Photographers Summit 9', Shibuya O-East, Tokyo
'1SS, 1st Anniversary Party', Magic Room???, Tokyo
'Ebisu Bunkasai', Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo
'Ohako', ICN Gallery, London
'1SS, Takao Sakai Talk Show', Magic Room???, Tokyo
'Re:Present', L.A. Mart, Los Angeles
'Gyosho?The Gallery Circus', Spiral Garden, Tokyo
'Earth Day Tokyo', Yoyogi Park, Tokyo
'Experience of Transforming to Wagashi', R25cafe, Tokyo
'Wabi Savvy', Jaus, Los Angeles
'Shibuya1000', Shibuya Station, Tokyo
'Art For Books', Tabloid, Tokyo
'Open StandArt!', The Room Daikanyama, Tokyo
―Why did you tale red beans as a motif of your creation? What do azukis mean for you?
―From when have you creating the artworks taken azuki as a motif? What did you do as a student?
―Please explain of 'Azurer', your life-work.
―What is your goal as a creator? What is your future plan of creation?