Yoko d’Holbachie: I attended a painting class run by an American couple when I was 3 years old. I drew monsters, ghosts and snails with a shell full of eye balls often.
Last Rites Gallery: What does In the Dark mean and why did you choose it for your exhibition at Last Rites Gallery?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I loved the gallery’s space coronation for the dark art, when I visited the Last Rites Gallery. It inspired me for new painting idea that the beautifully glowing critters in the gloom. What I wanted to paint for this exhibition is actually the gleam in the dark, not the dark.
Last Rites Gallery: Please tell us a little bit more on why you paid tribute to contemporary and classical mythologies in some of your pieces? (Ayida Weddo, Hatmehit, Gorgon?)
Yoko d’Holbachie: My critters in my painting had been living inside of me. They have no name. I borrow the stories from various kind of mythologies, when I give a birth to my critters and the story suits to them. Those goddesses I like are not just having super power but also evil, angelic, humanistic, and a mother…
Last Rites Gallery: And how about your other deities who do not reference any pre-existing ones? Who are they and what do they do?
Yoko d’Holbachie: Well, I never thought of that. They are an army of blight colored skin gigantic babies, who eats humans. And from their droppings, hundreds of humans are born.
Last Rites Gallery: If your creatures can visit anywhere on Earth, where would they go?
Yoko d’Holbachie: They are always have been on earth with me. They love the sea because I believe the bottom of the sea and inside of dream is connected somehow.
Last Rites Gallery: Who and what are some of your biggest influences?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I used to read Mizuki Shigeru monster book and comic of Tezuka Osamu when I was a child.
Last Rites Gallery: How do you get your ideas for your paintings?
Yoko d’Holbachie: The image of finished work is inside of my brain, I and just straggling how to pull those out. Usually, a glass of good quality white wine helps.
Last Rites Gallery: What first inspired you to work with such a vibrant palette?
Yoko d’Holbachie: My painting style has not changed much since when I was a child. When I was a designer at a gaming company, I had to seal my art style. And one day, it just broke the seal off by itself.
Last Rites Gallery: What are your favourite animals? Do you find that you reference them often in your paintings?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I adore the form of insects and marine animals and they appeared in my work quite often.
Last Rites Gallery: Your creatures are cute and scary at the same time. Do you think of them as harmful creatures?
Yoko d’Holbachie: They are not aggressively harmful, nor good-natured. They are the pure like a new-born. I believe the pureness bring us a fearsome experience. I would like to express the pureness of beauty and horror.
Last Rites Gallery: Each one of your paintings has its own identity. Do they speak to you when they are finished? If so, what do they say?
Yoko: When a painting is finished, it is the time to say good-by to my critter. They have been in me all my life as my body parts. When they got off of me, they run free. They say to me “See you again somewhere in the universe.”
Last Rites Gallery: How can we find you working in your studio?
Yoko: When I am working, I am suffered from the pain of ripping a part of me off from me. So, you will be hearing me howling, growling and sometime crying. Also, I get struck by a feeling of happiness. When that happens you will hear me singing. To me, working in my studio is almost like delivering a baby.
Last Rites Gallery: What are your hobbies?
Yoko: My biggest hobby is trying to be a good mother, like ordinal earthen mother. I also like to read some minor Sci-Fi novels.
Last Rites Gallery: If you could travel anywhere in the entire universe, unconditionally, where would you go?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I would like to go all planets which has superior technology than us. If I can come back to the earth 2013.
Last Rites Gallery: In addition to painting, you also teach. Tell us a little more about this.
Yoko d’Holbachie: I am teaching graphic design for games and cartoons. I am good at extracting idea from brain which always full with wired images and presenting public. Students’ innovative idea always stimulates my creativity.
Last Rites Gallery: What made you decide to paint these chimeric creatures? What do they mean to you personally?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I have been painting my critters since very small and I do not remember why. I had an imaginary friend who had octopus tentacles and a horn in my childhood. I used to draw invisible identical twin and a my replica. I gave a lot of people creeps, but my mother and painting teachers loved my drawing.
Last Rites Gallery: Please choose one piece in this exhibition and tell us more about it.
Yoko d’Holbachie: The creature in PRIEST and In The Dark appears in my dream often. It appears when I realize that I am dreaming and it ask me “Would you like to stay here? or Would you like to wake up?” I always answer “I would like to wake up and go home.” I like my old work called “Garden”. It has several characters and objects in it.
Last Rites Gallery: What’s next for you?
Yoko d’Holbachie: My next work will be something like an illustration in Bible.
Last Rites Gallery: Here is a Paul Booth question: If you could dig up an artist from the past to consume their brains for more artistic power, who would it be?
Yoko d’Holbachie: I love Hieronymus Bosch’s endless imaginal world. Unfortunately, he is long gone now, and nothing left for me to eat. I believe he already consumed a brain of a devil.
Yoko d’Holbachie is on view at Last Rites Gallery until February 23rd, 2013. Stop by the gallery or view the full show online… (Click here to view more artwork from Yoko d’Holbachie.)
Last Rites Art Gallery & Tattoo Theatre
511 W. 33rd Street
New York City, NY 10001