A Portait of Yoshi Sislay

Drawing the Jungle.

Shortly after his 30th birthday Yoshihisa Matsumoto decided that he wanted to be an artist. It wasn’t the most obvious of ideas. At the time, Yoshi, originally from Osaka, worked as a cook in a small Japanese restaurant in Barcelona and had, up until then, never pursued any sort of creative endeavor. But the urge could not be suppressed. Yoshi sat down at a desk and began to draw. And he didn’t stop.

Since then, he’s taken to calling himself Yoshi Sislay, and to watch him draw is similar to watching a yogi meditate. He falls into a sort of trance, noticing nothing around him. His art almost grows out of him and results in spontaneous, unbelievably detailed works. The style certainly does not stem from being anxious to please: “What is beauty, really?,” asks Yoshi,  “A tree doesn’t care if it looks beautiful or not. It simply grows. It’s the same thing with my art.”

Recently, Yoshi has been commissioned to paint the windows of various cocktail and tapas bars. The soccer player Bojan Krkić was so impressed by preliminary drawings that he’s continuously invited Yoshi to paint more and more of his house. And in 2011 an invitation arrived from Sala Vinçon, Barcelona’s leading interior design firm, to organize an exhibition in their gallery.

During the exhibition preparations, Yoshi was discovered by Werner Aisslinger, the Berlin-based designer responsible for the 25hours Hotel design. And so it came to pass that Yoshi Sislay has now adorned all 149 rooms and the lobby of the hotel with his detail-rich drawings – every one different, none according to plan. Like a tree that simply grows.

Yoshi has also used his creative inspiration in June for the head office of the 25hours Hotel Company in Hamburg and, in addition to two unique pictures that are hiding in the office, has left behind little surprises all over the place.

Depending on your perception and the angle you look at them, you can always experience both pictures in a different way and discover many subtleties that you may not even have noticed at first glance. In the meeting room, for example, new shoots sprout up in several different places – as is the case with flowers – and this is supposed to inspire the guests to come up with new ideas. Meanwhile, in the reservation office, Yoshi’s picture creates a positive atmosphere and constantly magics a smile back onto every employee’s face, enabling them to handle a difficult situation deftly.

 

This article is part of an ongoing collaboration with online magazine Freunde von Freunden, which offers unique insights, text and photos from Companion Magazine on its website.

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