Art & Culture
Jan 1, 2015
Osamu Watanabe is a contemporary artist who uses a variety of candy and whipped cream made from resin to fashion elaborate designs and sculptures. His eye-catching artwork has led him to be featured numerous times on Japanese TV shows. What inspires him? We speak to him to find out.
My mum taught people how to make traditional sweets and candy, so confectionary has always been a big part of my life and is something that’s close to my heart. There’s also the fact that sweets are something that most people enjoyed since they were children. I want my work to be associated with happy childhood memories.
Resin, mostly. It looks closest to the real thing, but I have to admit it gets a little challenging to pipe the “cream” because its texture and consistency is not like the real cream at all.
In Japan, it’s pretty common to see artificial renditions of food that resemble the real thing so I usually get the biggest reactions when I showcase my work outside of Japan.
I came from Yamaguchi prefecture, and there is a huge boat race held there every year in Tokuyama city. In 2014, I was invited to create an installation for this race and I fashioned a 3m-long speedboat out of resin “candy”. It was painstaking work, but totally worth it in the end!
In a way, that image is a means for the audience to better understand my work, and it does help generate a bit of buzz in the Japanese media for my work. In reality, my home is actually very simply decorated!
My first book, “Sweet or Unsweet?” was published a few years ago, and it lets readers know more about my work and the inspiration behind the various exhibitions. More recently, I released a postcard book, which allows customers to share some of my sweet treats with family and friends.
(Text Denise Li images ©OSAMU WATANABE)
Find out more about Osamu Watanabe and his work by visiting
http://watanabeosamu.tokyo/ (in Japanese and English).