Tokyo, Jun 18 (EFE).- An artistic residence in the Kuramae district in Tokyo invites creators to expand their horizons by discovering the Japanese city and exhibiting their works.
The Almost Perfect project was born in October 2018 with the vision of a Spanish-Japanese couple, Luis and Yuka Mendo, who sought to create a space where artists could get away from their day-to-day life in their home countries, explore new projects or redirect their career.
“When you’re an artist or a creative, it’s almost like a train that never stops: you’re producing all the time,” Luis Mendo tells Efe.
“We wanted to offer people the opportunity to come to Tokyo and have a place to experiment and find the time and space to work on something for themselves,” he adds.
Born in Spain’s Salamanca, Luis spent most of his career in Amsterdam, where he designed magazines for 20 years.
But after a professional burnout and the death of his father, Luis decided to take a few months sabbatical in Tokyo and after falling in love with the city, moved there permanently.
Since then, the artist from Salamanca has become a renowned illustrator in Tokyo where he works for numerous brands, magazines and websites while his wife Yuka is a consultant in sustainable fashion.
The location of Almost Perfect is no accident, Yuka says.
“Very few artist residencies are located in the city center, but rather in rural areas, but for us it’s important not only to be in Japan, but in Tokyo, where you have a lot of things around you,” she says.
“The curtains are wrinkled, it has stains, it’s an old house, not perfectly perfect, but almost,” Yuka adds.
Located in the old “shitamachi”, one of the historic centers of Tokyo, the residence building was built in 1924 as a rice mill owned by a family for three generations until interest in the business was lost, forcing them to sell.
“They didn’t want to continue with the family business, so they told us that if we didn’t keep it, they were going to turn it into a parking lot,” Luis says.
Martyna, an artist who came to the residence, found a renewed source of inspiration and now has managed to produce dozens of works during her stay.
“This particular neighborhood, everyone is so connected here and there are so many craft makers and you can tell everyone knows each other and supports each other,” she tells Efe.
After starting the project in 2018, the artist couple saw their bookings skyrocket but the pandemic forced them to close until just a few weeks ago.
Since its opening, some 40 artists have stayed at Almost Perfect but Yuka and Luis have bigger plans.
“We’d like to have a bigger building with four or five rooms to help more artists,” Yuka says. EFE