If tonight didn’t solidify my love for Satoshi Kawamoto's plant-chalk-illustration-hybrid brain-children, I don't know what would. I trekked through one of the worst New York City snowstorms of the season to the Nepenthes Gallery, where Mr. Green Fingers has an exhibition and pop-up shop. For those of you who are not familiar, Satoshi Kawamoto is a garden stylist and chalk artist from Tokyo who conceptualizes and builds these beautiful living worlds using plants, illustrations, and handwritten typography.
He is also my artist crush.
On my way there, I was thankful for the shitty weather. I would have some extra breathing, viewing, and drinking room in the gallery space. I was wrong. The place was packed. There was great fashion to be seen on both the guests and on the racks, but I couldn't help but look up. Satoshi's chalk and plant illustrations lined the walls that trailed through the space and eventually upstairs to his pop-up shop. He had totes, terrariums, and T-shirts! There were enough succulents to feed an army of starving artists in NYC. All of the goodies were beautifully merchandised. His aesthetic is clean and simple, with a touch of whimsy. You could imagine the thought behind the placement.
I fought through to find the man of the hour, shook his hand, and picked his brain for a moment. What I love about this guy is his warm, happy energy and, most importantly, how humble he is. There is something so innocent and playful about him.
Satoshi brings his illustrations and spaces to life with what he referred to as "green expression." Plants, to him, have a strong presence and communicate as their own medium. You've seen artists create and communicate through painting and sculpture for years, but these garden creations offer something a little different. They portray a liveliness and playfulness within a canvas creating multilayered environments. His pieces are truly living organisms.
He told me that people usually associate green and plants with healing and this sense of calm. The aspect that he sees and celebrates is that they're alive and that they have a dirty side to them. In his "Green or Die" exhibit he created 11 large-scale pieces in about two weeks. His work showcased illustrations of body parts using plant life and chalk. They represent the process of life in a state of decay.
Satoshi expressed his appreciation for his projects in the US—mainly, we let him do whatever the hell he wants because we love his brain. We celebrate him for who he is. Last night was a celebration, to say the least. It is a great thing to see talent paired with such a positive and kind spirit.
We've got great pictures in the gallery above, but if you’re in the NYC area, you've got three weeks to check out the exihibit.
More from the author at Life of a Paperdoll