Her Japanese name is Shinobu Fukuda, and her Korean name is In Cha. She is a third generation Korean Japanese born in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan. She was raised Korean until 18 years old because Japan does not allow their citizens to have more than one citizenship. She changed her citizenship to Japanese when she was 18 years old. Since then, she has been using her Korean name “CHAIN (Cha In*)” as her artist name to remember that she still has Korean blood. We recently caught up with Chain for an interview.
What age where you and how did your artistic journey start?
I was 14 years old,when my mother gave me 100 color pencils of Faber Castell, which led me to start drawing when I was 15 years old.
What is your favorite medium?
Currently, I use various mediums. ( pastel, acrylics, spray paint and water colors) But my favorite medium is color pencil which my mother gave me. The brand is polychromos of faber castell.
How do you describe yourself as an artist?
It’s a tough question. I’m just an artist. I don’t know how describe myself as an artist. But There is no answer in art so ART is magic to me, having an introvert personality, it’s difficult for me to communicate with other individuals…even to a fellow Japanese. However, I can do anything through my art; making friends, showing my feelings, communicating with other individuals and making people happy etc.
I’m always thinking about art like crazy, like how can I take my work to next level? How can I surprise or make you happy? What motif will reflect my current feeling or mind.. like that. I am a person who can’t live without art.
How do you describe your work?
My artwork is mostly human and realism…My drawing style is using different tones of color pencil, which I learned by myself. I like to express the truth. It’s one of reason I started drawing.
My work is strong and warm… now, I use various mediums and I enjoy discovering different styles day by day. Even if my work just looks like a portrait, my feelings are put into each line. For example when I was drawing Martin Luther King Jr., I had a goal,”I wanted to spread my art as much as possible.. with showings last year in NYC”. So I drew him reflecting on his remarks which is “I have a dream….”and my thought was like “then I’ll grab my dream!!!!”. I drew it while thinking of his feelings during that era…those feelings make my piece stronger. When people see my work, they’ll come up and talk to me. I use my work as a tool to communicate without words.
What inspires you?
MUSIC. Music is also art too. It can make you happy, sad, relax etc… I can’t do my work without music. I first came into contact with Hip Hop when I was 14 years old, and soon after Reggae music. It has drastically influenced my artistic style today. I have been inspired by Black culture in many ways, the history that they have built over the years, their strength, and their strong ability of expression. I’m Japanese. But I will continue to draw a picture through all people of color, African Americans, African and Caribbean etc ..
What are you currently working on?
I’m drawing some portraits and continuing my flywood series which are made by plywood.
You paint a lot of hip hop artist, who are you currently listening too?
I don’t listen to much recent music. Nas, Tribe Called Quest, DJ Krush, Tha Blue Herb (Japanese), Marcia Griffiths, Morgan Heritage.
What is the most important message you want to communicate with your art?
ART is life. I want to continue to express my feelings through my work forever. I want to surprise and delight people. I would like to link my art and music…music has always help me. I will continue to draw beside the music. Even if some people don’t like my work, I keep up my work for you who support and help my art, and also for myself to keep my motivation. My dream is to spread my work around the world. I would love to show my work everywhere.. America, Africa, Asia and Europe, if I can get the chance. Art is my weapon to leave my mark in someone’s heart.
Where can we see you next?
Just recently I moved my base to Japan, but I visit NYC every year. If you call me, I will fly to any country.
Any advice or last words you’d like to share with our readers?
There are many famous people who are called a “legend”. People probably have their own “legend”,and it can be different from others. When I think about “legend”,for me, it means someone who has left their mark in someone else’s heart. I am just an artist, not famous. If I live as legendary or ordinary, I don’t care. Have fun with your way. If you can leave your mark in any way in someone else’s heart, I think you can be someone’s “legend”.
Chain Art /Grassroots – Website
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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: MLK by Chain