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Help! Any biographical info on Gentaro Araki?

Nov 29, 2005

    1. (i hope this is allowed!) my sculpture class has to write a 5-page paper about a sculptor that inspires us, and i chose gentaro araki (i'm currently working on my own bjd in class). does anyone have any biographical information about Araki's life that i can use for my paper? i need to know if and where he went to school (college) and what some of his inspirations or influences were. any links, pictures, etc would be most helpful! thanks in advance!

      <3 momo
    2. sorry i can't help...but i can bump for you...
    3. ah thanks ^^
    4. bump! (please help!) :(
    5. I think you selected a VERY hard subject to write about. I searched the internet for you and didn't find anything. I have been a big fan of his work for a while now at least a few years and still have not seen a picture of him. I do not know how old he is or any history on him, even though I have 3 books of his work one with lots of pictures of his work. The magazines and books are in Japanese and I do not read japanese.

      Also he might be a hard topic because at least half his work or more is figures and erotic. I do have pictues of his work if you would like that? I can email them to you you can pm me. But as you can see if you visit his site he doesn't even have a bio there! I searched tons of site and ZERO info on him! just the artist that sculpted Unoss, unoa etc...

      One thing you can say about Araki is he has a great sense of humour and that is shown in his work and he clearly likes to be judged by his work rather than a bio :( So really your only option would be to focus on his work only and I am not sure that you would have a complete assignment with only that?
    6. He should be around his early-mid 30s by now. When I was abroad, I caught an episode of TV Champions, and they were doing a garage-kit/figure competition. It was fascinating watching him and other artists compete for the title. They provided some quick information about him, but I don't recall the specifics. He made it to the last round but didn't win. Such a pity because he created a beautiful goddess lying in the midst of this church with amazingly hand-drawn pictures surrounding her "bed."

      If you're able to get ahold of this, it could help you, but as TreeLore said, it's not easy finding information on him. I was very lucky to catch him on the show and watch him work!
    7. Oh interesting, he is younger than I thought. I pictured him as being in his late 40's. I was even thinking of scraping the funds to go to Germany as I heard he would be there at the anime convention but then I heard that he would not be attending.
    8. thanks you guys!

      treelore: i did end up going by way of just talking about his work, and giving a background of japan's history in doll-making, and the recent explosion of resin ball-jointed dolls. i'm sure this will be enough. the paper is really more about how this artist's work inspires your own work, so the teacher probably won't care that i couldn't find specific info like where he went to school, because, if you ask me, it just doesn't matter. ^^;

      thanks again for your help!
    9. Do you need pictures? I have quite a few saved.

      Pm me with your email address if you need them.
    10. you could also focus a little on his mystery, it seems like a good way to subtlely explain why you don't have any biographical information in the paper.

      i think he is very interesting also.
    11. First of all my english is not perfect so I know that there are grammar and spelling mistakes :sweat
      I tried to translate the Gentaro Araki interview from Magazene as I tought some of you might like to read it :)

      MZ: As the creator of U-Noa you have been the subject of leading articles in japanese doll magazines, and have supporters amongst the doll fans worldwide.
      How do you think about your growing popularity?

      U-Noa is a rare case amongst my works that contains less black humor.
      A short time ago I have started periodical production of U-Noa because of the great demand. So U-Noa is not my artistic work anymore but a product. I think most people like U-Noa because the face appeals to them and is lovely. It is a doll with a unique construction.

      MZ: What concept is U-Noa based upon?

      U-Noa is a enhanced version of my earlier creation Unoss. U-Noa changes her shape in many ways trough the hands of her owner - this is my concept.
      That is why I have not constructed an exact setup for the character.
      Concerning the construction, I tought that a combination of the quality and poseability of old european dolls that had articulated bodies and ball joints , combined with the look of modelkits and especially developed technical solutions could be the ideal flexible doll of the future.
      To give concrete samples: the eye moving system and interchangable parts like eyes , hair, hands, feet and torso belong there just like a new kind of hipjoint, that was developed especially for a standing in due form and for the stability of the sitting postion.
      Especially the interchangeability of the face was an idea I developed myself for this new doll.
      The exchangeable parts system of U-Noa reminds of cyborgs and androids , that you surely know trough Anime and Manga. U-Noa can also wear cat ears or demon horns, ideal for Moe fans (Moe= a fetishist stance over cute Anime characters)
      Don't you think that U-Noas face with her big bust, the slender waist and the long slender legs is very typical for anime?
      She is the work of an otaku, that has grown up with japanese anime culture.
      That is why I did not expect her to be so popular.
      They where named Lusis and Sist as a message, after a narcist that played with a doll that reflected his own self. The Unoa boys where named B-el and L-bi. The letters direct you to BL (boys love) a manga genre in Japan. Both are meant ironic and should arise the question "to play with a doll can be weird and scary, can't it"?
      The history of ball jointed dolls was influenced heavily by the german artist Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) maybe you know these feelings from films like Ghost In The Shell 2- Innocence: the world is turned upside down because you are afraid of yourself and project this onto the doll. In such a moment, the doll appears to be a monster...on the other hand dolls have become a well loved hobby because of their cuteness, their worth and their elegance. U-Noa combines these two aspects of the doll hobby, that is why they are so charming to so many. The newest U-Noa got the name Qluts, an allusion to "Humunculus". My U-Noa studio is named "Alcemic Lab" (Renkin-jyutu kôbo in japanese) sometimes people introduce me as "the alcemist" out of fun. But be assured I would never want to experiment on a human.

      MZ: What attitude do you start your work with?:

      It is like studying for me. the achievements of my studies, in other words my degree are my artistic works. I watch the current situation and existing works of art and tink about how they could be improved. My imagination becomes my art. I do not care much if my vision corresponds with the wishes of other people.
      That is why my works are not always popular and I think it is ok that way.
      In my opionin it was a pure coincidence that my vision at creating U-Noa corresponds with the tastes of so many people.

      Threedimensional works or Illustrations and Manga. Which form of art do you prefer?

      My studies can have a three dimensional shape like dolls or figures. But sometimes half 3-D and half 2-D like relief sculptures.
      My first experience in my life as an artist was painting, that is why I like to draw illustrations. I also often take a picture and enhance it for myself.
      Most people know me as a figure artist, but for me this is just a way of expression or a tool to create a good scene.
      I am always very pleased when it works out. This time ( mangazene cover) I merged a picture of my doll with a watercolour painting and digital anime art. It is more science fiction like than animestyle.
      But, how do you like it?
      Anyway, I am very fascinated, when I work on drawings.

      MZ: Are you inspired by anime?

      A couple of years ago I modeled Rei Ayanami, Sailor Moon, Pretty Sammy,
      and Astro boy, my personal interpretation of those figures. But for my original work I only use my own ideas and imagination.
      For me anime is not only something to look at, but something that is created.
      It was 20 years ago, but at that time I really made an anime all alone.
      I painted thousands of pictures and filmed them. I tought I had to die!
      There is so much work involved in creating an anime, so I refrain a bit, not to think about the production when watching an anime.
      As far as I can recognize it has always been this way that during the 40 years of anime history the artists have been working as hard as possible with a limited budget and limited time.
      I have respect and sympathy for this attitude, to always try your best to be able to offer something even better and I am inspired from it.
      Anime of the eighties had something about it that lets you dream: "Maybe I can make something like this too"
      These anime where coarse and powerful.
      Some series had 120 good and alongside 20 really bad episodes.
      It was very interesting to watch artists and producers evolve trough the series.
      Now all anime are beeing praised and there are no more "terribly bad" anime.
      The history of anime evolution seems to have ended, there is no more space for something else.
      I do not have chara Moe thus my passion for anime has cooled down.
      But there are still a few that I watch every week: Naruto, Eyeshield 21, Bleach. Sometimes I find a series that gets a special feeling across to me. So I still can watch anime.

      MZ: What is your personal recommendation?

      There are two films of Mamoru Oshii that are interresting to compare: Urusei Yatsura the movie: Beautiful Dreamer (1984) and Ghost In The Shell 2 - Innocence (2003)
      It is very interesting given that both films where made by the same producer and have the same subject as content with a time difference of about. 20 years: How real is reality? (Actually some people have alluded that Matrix was not inspired by Ghost in the shell but Beautiful Dreamer) It is a well known theme for anime. Our brains are absorbed into a virtual world and we are fascinated by it.
      We cannot escape.
      I myself prefer anime where I can feel a atmosphere charged by the creator , even if the quality is not the best.

      MZ: How do you think about the creation of artwork that looks human?

      It is not a crime but it is not innocent as well.
      Anyway people that feel themselves drawn to making dolls have problems.
      It is for instance a problem that a pessimist like myself still creates objects after humans.
      When I make a doll I change my view of reality. I experience an own world, like a god.
      I feel that I like this world, and that in the instant of creation this world suits me better.

      MZ: Do you have advice for those that wish to create a doll or a figure?

      If you are a man don't do it.
      You must be prepared for something that can ruin your life.
      Be warned you could end like the poor Pygmalion ( greek mythology, he fell in love with a sculpture that he had created to be the ideal woman)
      If you are a woman then dolls are ok.
      But you should also have a nice boyfriend in real life.
      If you then still want to create a doll, do so.
      I won't say anything about it, step into the frightening world of creation.
      It is your responsibility alone if you cannot come back.
      In Japan Otaku feel small in society, it is also not a great way to keep up the appearance of normality in society to create dolls.
      Especially if you create sexy figures like I do.
      Please forget my article.

      MZ: Do you have a message for the readers of Mangazene?

      I heared that japanese Anime and Manga are becoming very popular in Europe.
      Otaku is not a very nice word, but how do Europeans feel about it?
      There will be a small exibit of my works at Bonenkai 2006. I cannot attend myself, but I would be very happy if you could take a look at my work and think by yourself: Such things exist in Japan.
      • x 3
    12. **happy fangirlish squealing over the B-el/L-bi and Boy's Love connection**

      I knew I wanted a B-el for a reason. XD
    13. MZ: Do you have advice for those that wish to create a doll or a figure?

      If you are a man don't do it.
      You must be prepared for something that can ruin your life.
      Be warned you could end like the poor Pygmalion ( greek mythology, he fell in love with a sculpture that he had created to be the ideal woman)

      -hehe wouldnt blame him for falling in love with unoa :D thank you very much Boudicca
    14. Thanks for this wonderful post, Boudicca, and the time and effort you spent- it was wonderful reading this! I am always amazed and over again, amazed at the wonderful similarities we all share as humans, despite the differences in our experiences. I was especially disarmed reading his "don't do it" advice!
    15. awesome. i always like to read what the creators feel like. thanks^^
    16. That was really interesting, thank you so much for posting it. That must've taken ages to translate, and you did a lovely job of it. It makes me very happy to have my unoa.
    17. Thank you Boudicca! Unoa and Unoss are my two fav girls. ^_^
    18. Great article, thanks for translating & posting it for us :)
    19. O.O you translated it already??? I started a translation a week ago too but it's really difficult for me!!! Great you made it! I am really impressed! ^^