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Adam Norgaard is an expat artist from the United States, currently dwelling in Japan. Captivated to Japanese tradition from a young age, he resolved to relocate there quickly just after graduation his operates displays the system of adapting to a tradition unique from his possess. Making use of oils as his main medium, Adam’s work ties in Japanese factors, remaining playful when also protecting a concluded good quality.


Your fashion for these Van Goghs is quite distinct. Whether dead or alive, they are extremely recognizable as yours. Can you tell me a little bit about your type and the Japanese things that went into these avatars and your get the job done in typical?


Effectively, I required to retain the history very simple & crisp in buy to have the aim on the subject. In this work I targeted on the Japanese factor termed mono no knowledgeable, describes an consciousness of transience and the impermanence of daily life. It’s all about locating splendor in the passing non permanent instant and functions as a fantastic reminder to be more existing in our existence. For instance, cherry blossoms that bloom and drop in only 2 weeks are a big symbol of mono no knowledgeable. A different case in point would be cicada’s simply because they reside and die reasonably speedily. In my scenario with the avatars, the dead model corresponds to this component.

Does nearly anything in the aesthetic you selected converse with the Japanese mindset and philosophy as nicely?

It corresponds to ikigai. Ikigai is fundamentally a zest for everyday living, obtaining your intent and purpose for dwelling. It definitely did. I was imagining about Van Gogh’s dedication to painting. I recall listening to soon right before I started the undertaking that he experienced a hat with candles connected to them for portray at night time.

How did you tactic the development system?

For me I commenced with some investigate into his everyday living even though also tying in elements of Japanese society. I also discovered he experienced one particular portray influenced by Ukiyo-e, so I considered there need to be a backlink. It turned out he was an avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints. He wrote a quote “all my do the job is centered to some extent on Japanese art” in one of his letters. He and his brother amassed hundreds of the ukiyo-e prints. They’re now housed at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Several artists have found kinship with Van Gogh for the duration of their do the job on this venture, but that is a very distinct and exclusive trait to have in popular with him!
Can you explain to us about how you started off your profession as an artist? Did artwork lead you to Japan or did Japan direct you to art?

I started out my art education at the Academy of Artwork in San Francisco. Artwork completely led me to Japan. I did a homestay in superior school and when it was an particularly challenging 6 months with the lifestyle shock I seasoned back then, I felt like I had only touched the surface area of Japan. Right after my foundations classes at AAU I decided I needed to go back again. I also started to forget Japanese when I commenced university and understood I experienced to use it or lose it.

These two items I painted pretty much a year just after coming to Japan. After integrating far more into Japanese tradition I was equipped to pickup on extra of the cultural variations I hadn’t observed. In particular I was noticing how, despite currently being ready to converse Japanese and connect, there is a perpetual feeling of currently being alienated as a foreigner.

Japanese culture is comprised of anything referred to as uchi-soto which indicates insiders-outsiders. It can be incredibly insular at situations and I preferred to converse my preliminary emotion by those two parts. With the piece on the suitable I referenced some masks – Japanese noh masks. I recall hearing in a course I took that they improve their facial expressions depending on the angle you tilt them and that often trapped in my thoughts. It designed me assume that every thing is subjective based on how we see it.

What did you locate the most complicated in your journey of integrating with Japanese tradition? Do you imagine that there is at any time a probability of accurate assimilation or is it irrelevant?

I’d say that as an island nation there is often been a extremely distinctive identity. It’s exceptionally hard to assimilate. There are very powerful preconceived notions about nationalities due to a lack of exposure to different cultures. I think as I talked about before, the uchi-soto problem can make it quite complicated to go “in-group”

There are two distinctive styles of languages used. With “in-group” persons you use casual language. But with outsiders and “out-of-group” persons, you use well mannered language.

The language acts as a barrier, generally you use tremendous well mannered language with strangers or elders.



There is so much to learn about Japanese tradition and I really respect the depth and indicating you put into your work and life. Just before we near the interview, is there something you would like to say about your practical experience of generating NFTs?

It was an extraordinary encounter working with the other artists in Discord. 1 thing I uncovered from The Other Avatars is that teams make momentum. I typically get the job done by myself so it was really good to appear into the local community of artists with this project, thank you really substantially!

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