Self-taught artist Kosuke Kato is one of those young people who are passionate about studying and researching art history and the contemporary art scene. His works are created by decomposing the visual information in a scene and transforming it into geometric shapes, using the landscape as a reference. He is interested in the story behind the painting and the process of its creation, and always keeps in mind the proposition “what is painting in the first place?”, demonstrating an attitude of pushing the boundaries of painting. First of all, please tell us about your paintings. The motif of my work is landscape. I don’t just paint landscapes, I break down the visual information and replace it with geometric patterns. I am inspired by Laura Owens. The reason I started painting landscapes is because I wanted to paint big. The larger the object, the better it is to represent the entire world of the object. Also, landscapes have a lot of information and are easy to decompose for reintegration. Nojima, 91×91cm Were you painting landscapes from the beginning? No, at first I was painting a combination of realism and minimalism, I started painting when I was 23 years old, and my style was very simple, I thought that realism paintings would sell quite well, so if I combined them with the Japanese culture of wabi-sabi, they would sell. However, as I was exploring different things, I thought it would be better to create something in a form that I liked, so I started studying the history and scenes of contemporary art. I went to a lot of museums in Tokyo and read books on art to gain knowledge, and around 2019 I started painting landscapes in my own style. What is important to you when you create your work, is it the context of art or your own thoughts and feelings? I think to create something new you need to know the tradition and history, so I focus more on the tradition. I think that knowing the old style helps me to create a new style of painting. I want to be a painter and at the same time I want to be in the context of creating new paintings. snowscape, 194×162cm How do you think about newness? Newness may not be the right word, but I think cubism is interesting. Cubism is abstract, but I think its essential purpose is the reintegration of images. In that sense, I think it’s similar to the way I paint, but maybe I’m working with different images. Why did you decide to become an artist in the first place? I liked drawing, but I didn’t think I had any special talent, nor did I receive any praise from others. It all started when my art teacher in high school showed me a lot of art books. One of the books was on Jackson Pollock, and I was very impressed. My curiosity about what painting was all about was my starting point. Awkward Tree, 91×117cm What are your future plans? I started a series of landscapes in 2019, which reaffirmed that my focus is on the process of making. I’m interested in painting what painting is and what it tells us about the history of painting. Another important aspect is contemporaneity. Nowadays, everyone searches for everything on the Internet. I think it would be interesting to pull images from social media and include them in my paintings. I would like to continue to pursue painting while incorporating the good aspects of the current age.