Using only a ballpoint pen

SHOHEI is an illustrator based in Tokyo. He mainly works with ballpoint pens and marker pens on illustration boards and often depics Japanese culture from his unique perspective.

Marco Klefisch introduced and interviewed him for Carhartt WIP Brand Book Spring / Summer 2012:

The Eastern promise – for real

Style does not exist. It’s just in our heads – an idea, like the concept of time. Style is the image we make, through our own creativity, intelligence and taste, that reflects our understanding of the world around us.

The more precise and unique one’s vision is, the stronger one’s sense of style.


SHOHEI employs every single element of his art with this killer intensity. His strong sense of composition, superior technique, use of basic colours and crazy-marvellous use of Japanese aesthetics all contribute to his phenomenal work.

I love the Japanese approach towards graphic design and illustration. More than that, I love the Japanese perspective on the Western world – a world without borders. The way they represent the aesthetic dialogue between the East and West, the mood they create through content, amplifies the things people rarely talk about. It addresses the darker side of “exoticism”.

SHOHEI’s imagery is a blend of the ironic and dark side of Tadanori Yokoo’s art, Go Nagai’s speed and violence, punk, metal, hardcore, street culture, and a bit of manga’s attitude. What does that look like? Imagine running the Indianapolis 500 while dressed in the gabber look and listening to Ryo Kawasaky’s “Bamboo Child”.

Like his contemporaries, Madsaki and Usugrow, SHOHEI’s work cuts like a blade into flesh. It’s always precise and well defined with sharp contrast. It’s clear and dark, soft and rough all at once. I often use black and white exclusively, I know what I’m talking about.

The first time I saw SHOHEI’s work, the work of this “ink monster”, was on Erik Brunetti’s old website. There, SHOHEI was drawing an illustration starting from a very loosely defined point and then developed it into his subject. I often use the same freestyle approach in my own work and was excited to see that SHOHEI shared my love for improvisation. A year later, I saw his drawings in Vice Magazine and a few other publications. SHOHEI is huge now and has influenced many other artists because of his vision, his style – precise and unique. That’s what style really is: the way one leaves an impression on the mind through the eye.  Marco Klefisch

Source: Lurzer’s Archieve

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