There is a frightening intensity to Sorayama's work, as
if there is a provocative need to both arouse and shock
the viewer, coupled with a painstaking perfectionism and
technical brilliance few artists ever achieve.
So what is it that inspires this charming, friendly and
surprisingly modest artist to push moral and sexual boundaries
to such an extreme? Certainly the desire to expose the more
forbidden side of sexuality is apparent in many of his most
recent paintings. Perhaps it's Sorayama's belief that he
must engage his audience with more than just visual stimulation,
but in fact should question contemporary values and introduce
alternative views even if the outcome is ridicule and rejection.
Or possibly it is what drives all great artists, an overwhelming
and insatiable passion to create, to integrate one's own
uniqueness into years of inspiration and produce an incredible
work of art.
Hajime Sorayama was born in 1947 in Ehime prefecture, Japan.
Sorayama entered Shikoku Gakuin University in 1965. After
the publication of PINK JOURNAL in 1967, he left the school
and entered the Chuo Art School. Graduating in 1969, he
was hired at an advertising firm as a comprehensive illustrator.
He began working independently as a free-lance illustrator
"Art is a kind of tenacity, an insistence upon asserting
your own originality," says Hajime Sorayama. "By contrast,
superrealism deals with the technical issue of how close
one can get to one's object." Since graduating from art
school in 1969, Sorayama has been perfecting his own superrealistic
illustration techniques while simultaneously raising the
level of skill and craftsmanship in the field to new heights.
The career of this first-class illustrator began as the
last-ditch effort of an extremely intelligent but highly
motivated 20 year old to find his true passion and place
in this world. After an unsatisfying attempt at college,
studying Greek and then English, Sorayama's childhood affinity
for drawing let him to Japan's Chuo Art School. He has since
been diligently perfecting his craft, following the credo
that technique is a matter of discipline and practice.
According to Sorayama, "Unlike art, illustration is not
a matter of emotion or hatreds, but an experience that comes
naturally through logical thinking." In 1978 he started
drawing robots, and a year later, these female figures began
to surface publicly. While Sorayama's fine-tuned technique
is superbly suitable for a wide range of subjects, his favorite
remains the erotically charged form of a naked woman.
Sorayama enjoys shocking people with drawings that are
so similar to the originals as to be indistinguishable.
He believes that as an illustrator doing realistic work,
it is important to convey the feel of the subject while
withholding the idiosyncrasies of the artist. That's not
to say, however, that he doesn't appreciate the masters
of his genre. For instance, Sorayama says that his favorite
artist is Henri Matisse, explaining, "His sensibility gives
the canvas the feeling that it is really breathing." And,
in fact, many of Sorayama's images look as if they themselves
are about to come to life.