by Ariadna Zierold

hhh gallery, monochrome, exhibition, tokyo, usugrow, mike giant

This past month the HHH Gallery in Tokyo showed Monochrome, a group exhibition curated by Japanese artist Usugrow.

“Today, the world is brimming with information and a wide variety of techniques, painting tools, and art styles are introduced, but I wanted to think about this in a simple way and let people know that [they] can still show wonderful expression using only simple tools like normal paper, pencil, and ink. Most of the artists participating in Monochrome are originally my friends, except Kyotaro and Ozabu, who I’ve been a fan of for a while. Each artist thoroughly mastered one writing instrument such as a marker, pencil, ballpoint pen, or ink pen. What’s interesting is that all of them use [tools] that are usually categorized as ordinary stationary, not a special writing tool. That means you don’t have to buy lots of paints or brushes to start your art.”

hhh gallery, monochrome, usugrow, tokyo, the citrus report, upper playground

The tools these artists used are simple: pencils, mechanical pencils, black markers, ink pens, ink brushes, and everyday ballpoint pens. However, by carefully utilizing white space not as “blank,” but rather as information to describe space and color, the artists transform pure, untouched white canvases and paper into detailed and complex monochrome landscapes. To achieve this, the artists must enter a fierce yet meditative state of resolve as they add lines to slowly weave their worlds.


The exhibition featured the work from Aaron Horkey, Mike Giant, Shohei, Kyotaro, Toshikazu Nozaka, Ozabu, Sadam and Usugrow.

mike giant, monochrome, hhh gallery, tokyo, upper playground, the citrus report

This was the first-ever Japan exhibition for artists Aaron Horkey and Mike Giant.


Ariadna Zierold