Born in Louisiana, USA, and grew up in Tokio, Mina Hamada lives currently in Barcelona. Much of the work of this amazing Japanese artist shows abstract and organic shapes in soft, bright and warm colours on a monochrome background.

Mural by Zosen and Mina Hamada in Mallorca, Spain
Mural by Zosen and Mina Hamada in Mallorca, Spain

How do you define your artistic style? Tell us about your artistic educational background.

It is difficult to define my artistic style, because in terms of painting and mural works, surely I´m a newcomer. I feel I´m just starting. So I am exploring and creating my artistic world right now.
In Japan, I attended the Art School at Tokyo.  There, I studied Design and Illustration. I wanted to make Picture books and, before coming to Barcelona, that´s what I was doing.

I started to paint murals in Barcelona, so I have not much experience yet, but one of the good things is that I started it without any knowledge at all. Just started and enjoyed it. So I could try to find my own expression very purely.

House and Shadow silk print
House and Shadow silk print by Mina Hamada

– When did your start your artistic career? Why did you decide to come to Europe?

I did some exhibitions, live paintings and picture books in Japan. But after I came to Europe, I have walked a straight forward to this way. It was natural, but having a strong will. It was sort of intuition that I decided to come to Barcelona, but I wanted to know the world, wanted to know different cultures and different people with different values and points of views… I desired to have an open mind and to experience the world directly.

In Japan, there´re many interesting cultures too, and creative activities and events, but it is an island. I´ve lived there for many years, so I wanted to see other places. I thought that Europe was a very interesting place because there are a lot of countries. Of course, there´re many problems, and conflicts with each other, but I like mix-fusion of the culture, people from many countries. Japan is very different in this sense.

Mural by Mina Hamada and Zosen - Photo by Naara Bahler
Mural by Mina Hamada and Zosen – Photo by Naara Bahler

– What do you think about street art in Tokyo or Japan in general? What´s people or authorities´ attitude towards street art in your home city?

In Japan, for some time, many Japanese artists have tried to move forward with regard to Street Art, but maybe it is not easy. You can find some murals, as those you may find in Gensojapan web.
But you have the typical Japanese sense of community, people respect things that are not theirs a lot. So, you can do nothing in the public space, because public space belongs to everyone.

Also, there´s too much advertising all around the city. There´s little space for interventions in the streets. So people are not used to this kind of art. But I think it is changing, since there are many artists with passion, and, above all, the Japanese are flexible and open to new cultures, so there´re a lot of possibilities. I do hope!

Mural by Mina Hamada and Zosen in Barcelona- Photo Germán Rigol
Mural by Mina Hamada and Zosen in Barcelona- Photo Germán Rigol

– What are your artistic influences or sources of inspiration?
Colours, nature, everyday feelings, playful mind, capricious and small adventure spirit.

– What is your vision for your style for the future? How do you see the evolution of your work?
As I said before, I am exploring my artistic world, so every creation is a new experience for me. Every time is a new challenge. I would like to keep challenging positively, with good energy, without fear.

– What means, materials and resources do you currently use in your street art projects or works? Have you seen any progress or changes in formats or means?
When I paint outside, normally I use paint and brush, and spray. It depends on the wall or conditions. I use the materials that I can get that time. But I like to mix, paint and spray, because each material offers its own way and attraction. Painting by brush, touching a mural make me feel good because it is like a direct contact with the mural. Using spray is also attractive. Choosing the colour and moving your arms, as you like. It´s fun, and everyone gets absorbed in it!

Left: Topo - center: Kenor - right. Mina and Zosen
Left: Topo – center: Kenor – right: Mina and Zosen

– What are topics or issues that prevail in your current work? Any evolution along the time?
Usually, I don’t have specific topics because I enjoy contingency, improvisation. I like surprising myself with colors and shapes from the unconscious and improvisation. Because surprise is something that inspires and pushes me up to investigate unknown artistic fields. My work resembles a game of forms that searches innocent unconsciousness.
But also I have a basic theme: happiness and joy. I delight in my creation and if someone can feel happy seeing my works, the pleasure for me will be double. I enjoy when I paint, and then, if I can share this feelings with someone, I feel a lucky person!

Project OFICIO by Mina Hamada for Kosovo Gallery, Córdoba, Argentina
Project OFICIO by Mina Hamada for Kosovo Gallery, Córdoba, Argentina

– In your opinion, what is the impact of the internet, web2.0 on street art? Does it have an impact on your art?

To paint mural, you have to go there. To see that mural, you can see it from everywhere. If you can see it directly maybe you can feel more things that you cannot see from the picture. However, for us, it´s normal to use this new type of communication devices. We share much information, and new artworks from everywhere without time lag can be seen. Sometimes, we might long for pre-internet times, but we keep using it and I think it´ll be positive in the long run.

Mural by Zosen and Mina Hamada in Barracas, Argentina
Mural by Zosen and Mina Hamada in Barracas, Argentina

– Have you ever worked in Amsterdam? Tell us about that experience.

I´ve visited Amsterdam twice. The first time during my Inter-Railtrip from Barcelona with my friend Zosen. We painted some murals with our friend Skount. Later, I participated in a group exhibition at Go Gallery with OVNI-Anna Taratie, Ephameron, Maoma, Minivila, InnaKochkina.

I remember lot of bridges in Amsterdam, the stairs in front of the houses, friendly people, bikes (a bit scary to use the brake!!) and the rain… I do not know much about artistic live and movement there, but it is an international and interesting city. I would like to go back again for a project or something!
– Any artistic/personal challenge for the future?
Try to keep challenging the new things, purely.
And I would like to go to Asia. I know Japan only, so I want to visit other Asian countries to see them and know them better.