The world of art constantly breathes new life into existence, and among those vibrant creations, Noritaka Tatehana's works grace our field of vision. Merging the essence of traditional Japanese craftsmanship with the sharpness of contemporary art, his unique artistic landscape possesses the power to deeply move people's hearts. Gen de Art had the opportunity to sit down with Noritaka Tatehana and delve into his artistic journey and the process behind his remarkable creations.
Roots of Noritaka Tatehana
Tatehana 's Artistry Growing up with a mother who was an artist crafting Waldorf dolls through Steiner education, Tatehana was familiar with creating things by hand from a young age. He says, "Craftsmanship and handmade activities have been my long-standing interests, and thanks to the support of my mother, I am now able to pursue a career as an artist. I feel that my upbringing has played a significant role in shaping who I am today."
The Origin of Shoe Making and the Encounter with Lady Gaga
Tatehana majored in dyeing and weaving at Tokyo University of the Arts. "During my studies, I focused on the attire of Japanese courtesans known as 'oiran.' Among them, I was particularly intrigued by the tall, thick-soled geta shoes worn by courtesans during the Edo period. I updated this concept to fit the modern era and created platform shoes that blend Japanese footwear with influences from Europe. This work became my graduation project and served as the catalyst for becoming Lady Gaga's exclusive shoemaker, gaining worldwide recognition."
Collaborating with Lady Gaga
"At one point, Lady Gaga requested shoes that were about 40 centimeters tall. While the initial pair I made was around 25 centimeters high, her requests continued as I progressed with the creations. As a result, I made over 25 pairs based on her requests, and even now, I continue to produce models similar to those I made back then."
Balancing Practicality and Design in Shoe Making
Tatehana places great importance on striking a balance between practicality and design in shoe making. He emphasizes, "Shoes are three-dimensional works and require a delicate balance akin to sculpting. I also prioritize their functionality, ensuring that they can be worn and walked in comfortably."
Challenges in Shoe Making
"To achieve the shoe's structure, I use cowhide as the material. The thick sole part is hollowed out to reduce weight. Moreover, I pursue minimalism in the shoe's design, eliminating unnecessary elements. Special structures or techniques are not required in shoes. As long as there is a structure that can support body weight, people can walk in any type of shoe."
Source of Inspiration
"At first, my range of personal inspiration was limited. However, through working with Lady Gaga and receiving her requests and ideas, I was able to find new inspiration. Collaborating with her helped draw out my creativity."
The Role and Impact of Noritaka Tatehana's Works
Having been showcased in the world of fashion, Tatehana's works are recognized for their practical elements. "The fact that people can wear my creations means that they become a tool for communication in themselves. Moreover, wearing shoes can become a catalyst for self-expression and confidence in individuals. My works have strong elements of personal commitment and can lead to deeper connections with others."
New Artistic Endeavors
Recently, Tatehana has been focusing on painting, creating vivid and colorful pieces. These motifs draw inspiration from traditional Japanese elements. Among the exhibited works, themes of lightning and clouds were inspired by paper decorations and shimenawa ropes seen in shrines. In his sculptural pieces, he also collaborates with traditional crafts, pursuing new approaches to showcase the future of Japanese craftsmanship.
Tatehana's solo exhibition will be held at KOSAKU KANECHIKA Gallery from October 7th. The exhibition will feature his distinctive paintings, striking heelless shoes, and delicate craftsmanship.
Gallery Address: 1-33-10 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0002 TERRADA Art Complex 5F
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 18:00 (Closed on Sundays, Mondays, and holidays)