Rewind about a year and half ago. Im knee-deep in the Tokyo trenches carefully stitching together what would become my first non-profit art exhibition. A supporting artist referred me to contact this local guy who he had collaborated with in the past and held in highest (stoner reference) regard. Like a scene out of Porkey’s or any other 80’s tit-flick, the guy says to me “For a good time, call Wrecks”.
At first glance, Nao Harada, aka Wrecks, appeared to be another needle in the endless haystack of modern Tokyo artists and designers. But after a few Mexican brews, so-cal style cheese burritos (the best in Tokyo by the way), and conversation ranging from Russ Meyers busty starlets to wedding parties with Ray Barbee, I began to realize this skinny Japanese guy came across more like an old skate blood brother than a blind dinner date. And therein lies the relevance behind the artist and a window into the person.
Flash forward countless shared bottles of Hoppy and Shochu and it’s a hazy present day. That same skinny skate rat, who I now refer to as a close comrade in crime, never ceases to astound or amuse me. The more I get to know Nao, the more his artistic style reveals it’s true grit and honest origin directly related to his everyday life.
In the vein of American wise men such as Mark Twain and Hunter Thompson, Wrecks is in every sense a modern day street poet channeling his keen lyric and observant word through unapologetic art and telltale design.
Like most poets, the work mirrors the surrounding stimuli. In Nao’s case it’s the bloated consumer-crazed nexus that is Tokyo. In a city that force feeds pop culture at breakneck velocity and where peer acceptance is as critical to one’s social survival as multiple wives are to Warren Jeff’s’, it eases me to sleep at night knowing a lone ranger stalks the streets with the balls to give it all the middle finger, call it like it is, and kick-flip to his own drummer.
Often laced with clever sarcasm and jocular kid-like depictions of desolate chickens or victimized sharks knockin on heavens door, Wrecks’ approach to his art is much more than skin-deep, it’s a lifestyle worthy of subscribing to.
Wrecks is….I’m seriously not sure what it exists for. I just started it to make some tees years ago. Sort of to hide my real name, also I think it probably seems like a brand, I don’t know. Anyway I’ve been using this name for something like projects or work. I mean not for my personal work. It’s kind of complicated. Not a big deal though.
Now I live in….Hell.
I paint sad chickens because….Somehow painting sad chickens makes me comfortable. I maybe want to express sadness, which every one should have. Life is tough all the time, and happy people have to have bad things like death, cancer, accidents, any small unlucky shit. I guess babies are very pure and almost 100% happy, but already live in this fucked up world. That’s pretty sad. Some animals are sad too. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’m totally not negative anyway. I just don’t like to draw positive things, or pretend like I’m a happy guy. That’s bullshit. Anyway I’m sure that I’m kind of happy in the end.
Being an Artist in Tokyo….Sounds like hell. But honestly I have no idea. I’m not a real artist or not like a person who wants to sell well.
English is….a good way for me to express something. Japanese just looks whack to me and tough to design or paint. Also English has given me many friends. If I couldn’t speak English at all, I couldn’t live like this now. I couldn’t have this interview either.
I love….Drinking, sleeping, snorkeling, skateboarding, painting and cooking.
I hate….Something boring that doesn’t change. I want to do different things every single day. I really hate to feel like I did the same thing yesterday.
Work is….Very important. But I hate work. I want to get $$ without working.
If I didn’t Skateboard I would….Nothing can replace skateboarding. At least I need to skateboard to transport me.
If I choose one thing to eat right now it would be….Monjayaki.
I’d wash it down with….Shochu. Potato one.
I have been to….South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Laos, Mexico and the States.
I want to travel to….Definitely South America.
Japan is….Weak and closed. But Japanese food is the best in the whole world.
If I didn’t live in Tokyo I would live….Near Tokyo.
Because….I can’t leave this area