Tell us about your art style!
Kentaro: I have been drawing and reading manga since I was a kid. I grew up in Japan and moved to Sydney when I was 18. Since then, I have been living in Manly and have been influenced by the coastal culture here and the experience of living overseas by myself. The way I draw hasn’t changed much since I was a kid, I have always created clean line drawings as it is a basic technique in Japanese comics.
Ben: I have been doing art since I was a little kid, I am quite an old bastard - I grew up through the 70’s and 80’s and have been influenced by punk rock, skateboarding, surfing and all the goodness and art that accompanies those culturally rich underground lifestyles… basically - I like drawing skulls ’n stuff.
Give us a run down of how this collaboration came about…
Kentaro: One night we had few beers together at our local pub and we started talking about a collaboration and having show together. I also thought it could be a good opportunity to show how different our styles are as we both draw lots of skulls and are surrounded by similar cultures and environments. Ben has been one of my favourite artists since I was a uni student and I have respected him for a long time. I still remember my first task for my internship at O’Neill wetsuits - making something like Ben does! This collaboration means a lot to me.
What has the process been like working collaboratively with one another in the lead up to the show?
Ben: It has been really fun - we get on quite well and whenever we meet to discuss or work on the RUMBLE project, we end up drinking a lot of beer. It is really quite funny how the whole thing has pulled itself together considering we purposely had no concept or theme.
"We would email ideas back and forth to each other so we could both open our photoshop file and work directly on to the same piece using tablets. We later painted these designs on large canvases. We have truly collaborated in a very cruisey, Stress-free manner, it has been a lot of fun."
How did the name ‘Rumble’ come about?
Kentaro: We originally planed to make artworks separately, we got stuck on coming up with a concept for the show. One day, I was listening to one of my favourite Japanese bands, Dry and Heavy, and their song ‘Rumble’. I didn’t know the meaning of “Rumble” so I randomly found a meaning from dictionary. One of the definitions stated ‘rumble’ as ‘a street fight between gangs or large groups’ which made me realise it’d be really cool and fresh if we fight in the artwork! We came up with the idea of painting on the same canvases to create series of purely collaborative artworks together. Fortunately we both live around Manly so it made the whole process way easier.
You’re exhibiting at Goodspace in Chippendale. Both of you are from the Northern Beaches and your work reflects that lifestyle and surf culture in general - has this had an influence on the works in ‘RUMBLE’?
Ben: We both do commercial work within that world and are keen surfers - but the work we have put together for this show reflects our individual styles crashing into each other. We made a conscious effort to steer clear of what people might expect and concentrate on the two of us essentially having a visual painting rumble that makes no sense and has no obvious references.
"RUMBLE is all about collaboration and visual experiment."
What can people expect to see from the show?
Kentaro: RUMBLE is all about collaboration and visual experiment. Even I had no idea how final artwork would look until we finished them. We are both excited about how all the artworks turned out and they look really fresh too. Like Ben mentioned, there is no such theme or concept throughout the exhibition, but we did use limited colours and both of our characteristic and motifs to create the consistency across the show - that’s what I love about whole project. Our audience can expect to see our art crush and, of course, see lots of skulls. Come have couple of beers with us!
Ben: You can expect to see a tangled yet clean expression of our ideas clashing on canvas. We have stuck to a nice and simple colour palette and kept the themes and concepts completely meaningless and fun. We will have something for everyone. Original canvases, a limited number of t-shirts and sticker packs - and prints for sale online after the show…. all affordable art … all for the people!