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Hajime Sorayama

Renowned Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama on his new pop-up space in Landmark

The legendary illustrator chats about his signature sexy robots and his newest pop-up concept in Central

Written by
Olivia Lai

Staging a one-of-a-kind pop-up art space in the heart of Central, the Landmark atrium is being transformed into a retro-futuristic lounge between October 20 and November 5 and bringing world renowned Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama’s imaginative world to life — think Black Mirror's San Junipero. The pop-up exhibits a collection of artworks featuring his signature sexy and eroticised robots, a life-sized robot, as well as exclusive merchandises and apparel that Sorayama designed. We caught up with the illustrator about his inspirations and style. 

Your signature concept of feminist robots and futurism first came to be in late 1970s/early 1980s. Has your vision changed in light of technological advances?
For me, nothing has ever changed. Since my works have always been based on my imagination, technology is not important. But I look forward to meeting with my life-sized sexy robot moving and to have my imagination realised. 

What was the inspiration in conceptualising robots as pin-up girls?
I think it was around 1979/1980 the first time I drew “Sexy Robot”. It was for an ad for Suntory whiskey. They requested me to draw something related to robots but I thought the design would be better with a sexy robot. Since most of the related imagery at that time was very awkward, I just drew robots with universal beauty in mind. 

What are the significant components in making a non-organic being erotic – the shapes/body language?
It's all about how to represent skin by metal.

You’ve also reimagined renowned celebrities in your own robotic character-style. In certain ways, by doing so, celebrities are viewed to be even less approachable and inhuman. Are these particular works in response to society’s growing obsession with fame and celebrity?
I’m just following my imagination and dream.

What is eroticism for you?

What makes illustration a unique art form and why is it your prefered medium when creating your vision? 
I don’t care or know what high art is. I only work on what I know and what I can do. It is more important for me that I am interested in the project.

What do you hope Hong Kong audiences – especially those who are unfamiliar with your work – to take away from this project?
I really hope they will enjoy my works through this show — and imagine that we will become one nation if we all become robots [laughs].

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