EK Interview: Korehiko Hino

art blog - Korehiko Hino - Empty Kingdom

The work of Korehiko Hino is unnerving, eerie, insane and oh so very intriguing.  Is is possible that his warped portrayal of humans are more accurate than our own visions?  Check out his interview for a sneak peak inside his head.

Where are you from?

I am from the Ishikawa prefecture in Japan.

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

What are your pet peeves?  What makes you happy?

It irritates me when my daughters are noisy crying and shouting.  It makes me happy when my daughters look at my work and say it’s cute.

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

Have you ever sat and watched people to study their body language?  Do you think most people are in tune with their ability to read body language?  How do you think you can tell about a person from their body language?

I don’t think I have ever watched people just to learn about their body language.

They wouldn’t appreciate if you would stare at them. I think that most people can obtain a lot of information on a daily basis through others’ poses and expressions without being conscious of it. I think that on the contrary, it is impossible to act so that others won’t read your personality and your emotions. Having said that, I have two daughters aged 2 and 4, and sometimes they take poses and have expressions that I absolutely don’t understand, and it surprises me.

You’ve come a long way since 1998, in the past decade and almost a half what have you done to develop your work?  What is your greatest assets and weaknesses?  Looking back on the work you did in 1998 do you think that you could have predicted that your work would look the way it does now?

I am trying not to repeat the same compositions and techniques in order to never get tired of painting.

My asset is the fact that I am serious. My weakness is that sometimes I am not serious.  In 1998, I was in my third year of Art university. I was 21 years old.
The fact that I paint people (especially myself), that my subjects’ eyes are wide open, the strange poses they take, my approach to colors, all that hasn’t change from that time.  What has changed is that now my depictions are realistic.

In 1998, I was thinking about painting in a more flat fashion.

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

Much of your work depicts people who look young enough to still be at the androgynous stage where boys and girls have not yet begun to physically differentiate greatly, in many cases the only indication that there may be a difference in sex is that length of the hair.  Why do you chose to depict your subjects in such a way?  Do you intend for the viewer to be unclear about the sex of the subject?

Yes, it is on purpose.

Rather than depicting subjects in a young stage when there is no difference between the sexes, the age itself is not clearly defined.  I make my paintings in such a way that one cannot be certain about not only the sex, but also the age, the period, the expression, the pose, the place, and so on so forth.  I am interested in the image that arises when painting in order that the observer won’t be able to figure about the individuality and the situation of the subject.

Although they lend to the surreal affect of your work, the nose and mouth generally seem to be normal, it is the eyes that truly scream at the viewer.  What is it about eyes that made you decide to give them such treatment?  The eyes in your work are incredibly expressive, do you think you could have achieved such a degree of expression with another part of the body?  Why or why not?

The eyes are the window of the heart, so if we catch the slight changes in shape, movement, color or shine, we can read emotions and thoughts from them.
I am painting eyes from which one cannot read emotions or thoughts.
Therefore on the contrary, I think that people need to make full use of their imagination when trying to read those emotions and thoughts.
I paint every part in the same way: so that it has very little expressiveness (so that it does not express emotions).

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

Almost every one of your characters that is wearing clothes is wearing white underwear.  Why have you drawn the line here?  Why not paint them nude?  And why have you chosen to depict them in white?  What does the color white mean to you that it is the standard color for clothing in your work?

I have my subjects wearing underwear in order to hide the sexual organs.

If I would paint them nude, their sexual organs would be visible, and they would take a strong and direct specific meaning. They would mean sex difference,  eroticism, etc…
So I chose for my subjects to wear briefs: they don’t tell about one’s personality, and their shape and color are extremely simple.

In many of your pieces you include the subject’s hands, which tend to be as expressive as the face of the subjects and seem to be mirroring the expression.  In ‘t-shirt with printed face’ the hands seem to be cringing or curling to mimic or possibly dictate the position of the body.  What about hands do you find to be so important?  Do you think they can be as expressive as the face?

Hands are hard to paint, just like the eyes.

It is because the viewer is sensitive to them; he will try to perceive a meaning or emotions from them.

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

What are you currently working on?

I am painting landscapes.

Since a few years, other than living subjects, I started to paint still life.
I first painted people, then still life, so now I am taking up the challenge with landscapes.
Just like portraits, those landscapes are empty images that don’t give any clue to the viewer about place or time specificity.

What is your workspace like?  Is it cluttered or is it tidy?  Do you clean it often?  Where do you work? Is there a lot of light?

My studio is tidy and simple.

I have never seen any other studio as tidy as mine.
I do not clean it often but I just do not make a mess.
I do not smirch my clothes or my hands either.
The windows are big but the sunlight does not come in directly.
I work at the art university.

art blog - Korehiko Hino - empty kingdom

What is your favorite kind of soup?

I can drink any kind.