Korean / Japanese Artist “CHAIN” Bridging Hip-Hop Culture BNR Interview
In this exclusive and electrifying interview, we dive into the world of the extraordinary artist known as CHAIN (Shinobu Fukuda in Japanese and In Cha in Korean). Born as a third-generation Korean Japanese in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan, CHAIN’s artistic journey began at the age of 14 when her mother gifted her 100 colorful Faber Castell pencils. Little did she know that this humble gift would ignite her passion for art, and at 15 years old, she started creating her masterpieces. With an unmatched dedication to her craft, CHAIN’s favorite medium remains the very pencils her mother gave her – the polychromos of Faber Castell. However, this versatile artist also explores various other mediums such as pastels, acrylics, spray paint, and watercolors, constantly pushing the boundaries of her creativity. Hip hop artists continue to push the envelope with diverse artistic expression.
CHAIN describes herself simply as an artist, but her work speaks volumes about her profound connection to art. Introverted by nature, she finds solace and the ability to communicate through her art. Her drawings predominantly focus on human subjects, capturing the essence of realism while adding her own strong and warm touch. Her work isn’t just about visually stunning portraits; every line she draws is infused with her emotions and beliefs, making her art a powerful tool for communication without words. The driving force behind CHAIN’s art is music, especially Hip Hop and Reggae. The influence of Black culture resonates strongly in her work, and she uses her artistic prowess to honor and uplift people of color from African Americans to Africans and Caribbeans.
Her desire to link her art with music remains a driving force in her creative journey. Currently, CHAIN is working on a series of portraits and exploring her flywood series, a unique artistic expression crafted from plywood. Her inspiration knows no bounds, and she listens to timeless artists like Nas, Tribe Called Quest, DJ Krush, Tha Blue Herb, Marcia Griffiths, and Morgan Heritage. The message CHAIN wants to convey through her art is crystal clear – ART is life. She yearns to continue expressing her feelings and surprising people with her remarkable talent. Her dream is to showcase her art around the globe, leaving a lasting impression in the hearts of those who encounter her work. Her journey has taken her from Japan to NYC, she promises to fly to any country if her art is called upon.
As we conclude this awe-inspiring interview, CHAIN reminds us that legends aren’t only found in the pages of history books. For her, being a legend means leaving a mark in someone else’s heart, and through her art, she continues to etch her legendary status in the hearts of her admirers. Get ready to be spellbound by CHAIN’s art, a fusion of cultural identity and boundless passion. Her work is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a journey into the depths of human expression, bridging cultures and leaving a lasting impact on all those fortunate enough to experience it. We recently caught up with Chain for an interview.
Q. Big Noise: What age where you and how did your artistic journey start?
A. Chain: 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.
Q. Big Noise: What is your favorite medium?
A. Chain: 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.
Q. Big Noise: How do you describe yourself as an artist?
A. Chain: 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.
Q. Big Noise: How do you describe your work?
A. Chain: 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.
Q. Big Noise: What inspires you?
A. Chain: 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 & Caribbean etc.
Q. Big Noise: What are you currently working on?
A. Chain: I’m drawing some portraits and continuing my flywood series which are made by plywood.
Q. Big Noise: You paint a lot of hip hop artist, who are you currently listening too?
A. Chain: I don’t listen to much recent music. Nas, Tribe Called Quest, DJ Krush, Tha Blue Herb (Japanese), Marcia Griffiths, Morgan Heritage.
Q. Big Noise: What is the most important message you want to communicate with your art?
A. Chain: 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.
Q. Big Noise: Where can we see you next?
A. Chain: Just recently I moved my base to Japan, but I visit NYC every year. If you call me, I will fly to any country.
Q. Big Noise: Any advice or last words you’d like to share with our readers?
A. Chain: 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 & Black Sand Artist "Fly Wood Creations" Collaboration | Official YouTube Video
Published in December 2012: Chain & Black Sand Artist “Fly Wood Creations”, Slide Show by Big Noise, Edited by Noiseman.
Summary : CHAIN, the legendary Korean-Japanese artist, started her artistic journey at 14 with color pencils and continues to captivate with her realistic human portraits, expressing herself through art as a form of communication, inspired by music and the desire to leave a lasting mark worldwide. A legendary creative artist bridging hip-hop culture through art and music.
Creative freedom lives… Keep it locked to Big Noise Radio for authentic hip-hop culture and art from Artist Chain!