Meet the On-line Artist // Naohiro Maeda

Naohiro Maeda, a lens-based artist from Japan, explores memory, identity, and belonging. Collecting raw data during commutes, he reconstructs landscape images with Photoshop, reflecting on recollection and representation in photography.


Who are you?
I am a visual artist originally from Japan and currently living in Ansbach, Germany. I studied fine art photography when I was in Massachusetts several years ago. I work as a translator and like to practise piano and yoga as well.

How would you describe your artistic practice?
I use photography and embroidery for my artistic practice. Most subjects are landscapes I captured in daily life. Through the practices, I explore memory, identity and space.

What is your methodology or process for creating a new project?
I take photos with a digital camera, mostly in the passenger seat through the window. Then, I deconstruct the raw data with the image correction tools in Photoshop and apply embroideries on the printed photos.

Tell us about the project you are working during your online residency at GlogauAIR
Fortunately we had a chance to live in Alaska and Germany for a few years due to my partner’s job. As I do regularly after graduating from photography school. I keep taking photos while sitting in the passenger seat.

I broke those raw data with the overuse of the image correction tools in Photoshop until they don’t hold a single vanishing point, then I repaired the broken images with my hand embroidery.

Through the practice, I explored the ambiguity of my identity and memories as an immigrant/alien. Those images reflect the quiet comfort of displacement and not knowing how life unfolds.


How did you decide to introduce embroidery in your photography work?
A few years ago, my friend taught me how to crochet. We made amigurumi together. Since then I have been into crochet and knitting. I felt closer to the needlework mediums more than others. Having colours and textures in my hands gives me joy unconditionally. So I have been looking for a way to incorporate my photographic practice with needlework for a while. Some months ago I started practising embroidery. When I started trying whitework embroidery, the idea of mending the winter landscapes in Alaska and Germany came to me and I forgave myself to try embroidery on photo prints.

What is the role of artificial intelligence in the creation of your images?
I use image correction tools in Photoshop. I try to give them the new dimension and perspective which the original raw data didn’t have.

In that regard, what is your position on artificial intelligence in relation to creative and artistic work?
I hope I can be someone who questions a viewer. So far I am only curious about how they see the raw data and manipulate it with the new given dimensions and perspectives. I only use tools for image correction in an unconventional way to attain multiple vanishing points.

What are other artists that you admire and follow what they do?
I admire painters like Helen Frankenthaler and Richard Diebenkorn for their colour field paintings. I have not seen their works in person yet but I could have seen the works of Agnes Martin, Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko when I was in Massachusetts. I also admire Hiroshi Kawano’s works and his writings about generative art.