Last summer, Sho Shibuya started a visual archive of the sunrise of the day by painting vivid gradients in their likeness over the cover of The New York Times. The smooth, colorful transitions literally obscured the daily headlines, offered respite from the news, and established a morning ritual that the Brooklyn-based artist who is also behind the design studio placeholdercontinues today.
In addition to those subtle sunrises, however, Shibuya has also started interpreting some of the day’s events through mixed media works that similarly hide the articles. For example, two plasters are stuck to a peach blanket, marking widespread COVID-19 vaccinations. Ribbons of silver and gold connect another piece, which is also overlaid with a broken mirror that reflects the dissolution of Daft Punk after 28 years. No matter how difficult the subject is, each of the pieces, says Shibuya, is intended as a visual aid that inspires hope and optimism. “I want to create peace through my work by sharing my compassion and emotions,” he says Colossal and explains:
I believed that simple colors and shapes have the power to affect emotions, and emotions affect actions. Knowing the facts and understanding the news is important, but I think my work is meant to make people feel the influence of the world beyond facts and figures. It’s similar to the way The New York Times printed all 100,000 names of people who died of COVID; Art can be a more powerful way of communicating the meaning of the messages.
Are stories and artists like this important to you? To become something Colossal member and support independent art publications. Join a community of like-minded readers passionate about contemporary art and support ours Interview series, get access to partner discounts and much more. Join now!