We had the good fortune of connecting with Nogi San and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nogi, how do you think about risk?
Looking back at my artistic journey, risk taking has always been a part of my mindset. I think the issue of risk is absolutely central to being a creative person. Whether it is in the art field or as an entrepreneur, risk is something that you have to deal with and think about a lot.
The first big risk I took as an artist was the following:
I grew up in a really humble eurasian family where an artistic career wasn’t seen as sustainable. I therefore started at an engineering school but I didn’t really feel like I was on my path, since I had always hoped to become an artist.
After a year and a lot of self-reflection, I took the first crucial decision which started the path I’m on today. I dropped out of college to focus on drawing and launched my own business, which marked the beginning of my art career.
I remember at the time I had no money or support from my family, to such an extent that I found a side job to pay for my first canvases.
Without any artistic background nor art education, I studied to improve my skills.
A few weeks later I won a contest and got accepted for my first convention. So, for a full month I painted all day long creating canvases in my small studio and invested all the money I had in preparation for the convention.
I didn’t know at the time if the public would support or even like my universe but contrary to all my fears, the reaction of the audience was great. It was the first time I experienced the reaction of people and it helped me realize that what I was doing is actually really enjoyable.
This is how my career started and I don’t regret the risk I took a few years ago. You have to take risks to challenge yourself and evolve. It may be painful and scare you, but that’s the only way to figure out who you are and to seize your dreams. You’ll never know unless you try.
Risk should also become a habit in your daily practice. To push yourself to evolve as an artist you need to experiment and not be afraid to fail and make “bad” art. We should not forget that behind every successful piece of artwork there are hours of research sketches, failed attempts and maybe even abandoned illustrations.
It may be frustrating in the short term but art is a marathon, not a sprint, and in the long term experimenting is what makes you improve.
Testing ideas outside of your comfort zone and your boundaries is what allows you to discover new visions and enrich your art. You have to step outside to not get stuck in the same thing over and over again. Practice makes perfect, so going out of your comfort zone will make your creative process become easier.
By taking risks, there is a chance of failure, but such an experience isn’t always negative.
Thanks to it, you can gain a valuable lesson on how to shape your business and learn from your mistakes. As a self-taught artist and entrepreneur, the mistakes I made in the beginning helped shape the artist I am today.
Remember there is no way to achieve greatness without taking risks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am specialized in Japanese inspired ink art, I focus mainly on Japanese influenced paintings, using traditional ink and a strong gestural brushwork. I am myself half European and half Asian and I explore ways of bridging both cultures in a unique style.
Having grown up in a mixed household where the most dominant culture was Asian culture, I got into Manga and Anime culture at a really young age, and my interest for Japan started this way.
I then started to get more interested in Japanese culture and informed myself a lot beyond pop culture. I got interested in Japanese history and folklore. It’s a subject I find fascinating and now I want to share my passion for it through my interpretation of ink painting.
I want to use my art to make Japanese culture more accessible and approachable outside of Japan by mixing it with modern pop culture.
Seeing amazing content being created from artists all around the world definitely helped me to see all of the possibilities there are to apply my skills and for it to become a profession.
I now sell my personal artwork on my online shop. I created a streetwear brand, which is a pure expression of my personality as an artist.
I am also creating artwork for the entertainment industry, working in many fields such as the video game industry with Ubisoft, movie industry with 20th Century Fox, magazines, mural paintings and partnerships with organizations such as Giorgio Armani for whom I created works for the Tokyo Olympics (in 2021), presenting the Italian team through a series of paintings.
My artistic journey hasn’t been easy. As an artist I have had to deal with ups, downs and moments of doubt, but I have always kept in mind my objectives. I knew I had one dream: to become a full time artist. Even if there were difficult times, I couldn’t be more grateful to be among the lucky ones who can live from their passion.
What I learned along my artistic journey is patience and perseverance. Art is a long life journey, it takes time. Consistency and passion are the keys to success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m still new to LA since I only moved here a few months ago from France, but for now I’d recommend going to Little Tokyo for the lovely vibe. There you can find delicious okonomiyaki and takoyaki, my favorite dish ever and they are loyal to the traditional Japanese style. I would also recommend going skateboarding at Venice Beach on a sunny day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to Mathieu Nozieres who is a talented fine art artist (mathieunozieres.com) that inspires me everyday and he opened me to see the artistic journey as something bright and enthusiastic. He always encourages and supports me in my questions and doubts. His supportive opinion is a second set of eyes that I can always rely on. I’d like to give a special credit to my friend Stephane who supported me since the beginning and helped me a lot with the marketing and business side of art.
Other: Shop : https://nogiartshop.com/