toshiya masuda turns sneakers, boombox & everyday items into pixelated ceramic sculptures

toshiya masuda turns sneakers, boombox & everyday items into pixelated ceramic sculptures

Toshiya masuda sculpts pixelated ceramics from ‘words’

 

Toshiya Masuda has been making pixelated ceramic sculptures for years now (read more here). Recently, he has added new members to his sculpted and fired family, ranging from sneakers and rollerblades to a boombox and bottles of alcoholic beverages. Each of his sculpted ceramic works embodies nostalgia from the imagery brought about by low-quality video games in bygone eras. Chiseled blocks of ceramics resemble stacks of bricks that eventually transform into everyday objects, with blurry and often hazy aesthetics coming through.

Speaking with designboom, Toshiya Masuda tells us that he begins making his pixelated ceramic sculptures with a word and ties in a relatable motif to visually convey that word into a tangible artwork. Looking at his recent works, words such as rollerblades, cassette tapes, stereo players, and drinking glasses may have come to his mind. He pictures, drafts, and measures the size of the object that carries the motif of his sculpture, and a cross-sectional paper pattern is produced. This process is similar to a CT scan, but in this case, Toshiya Masuda makes it by hand using grid paper.

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘Super Idol’ | images courtesy of Toshiya Masuda

 

 

Sculpture-making process with potter’s clay

 

Toshiya Masuda shares with designboom that using that pattern, the shape of the object is cut out of the clay and stretched onto a board shape, preparing it to be laminated and glued together. These glued objects are then shaped by cutting out the excess corners with a knife or spatula before drying them up and ungluing them from the base. The unglazed object is colored to give it a base palette before Toshiya Masuda fires the sculpture without glaze. The clay he employs is Japanese potter’s clay, and the color material he uses is AMACO velvet underglaze paint, as he reveals to designboom.

Bringing back the previous era that the current generation may not know of may take center stage in Toshiya Masuda’s pixelated ceramic sculptures. In his recent collections, some of the objects might be deemed rare these days, like the cassette tapes and boombox. In the midst of inventive and innovative objects rushing in almost endlessly, the Japanese artist is offering a moment of respite to his viewers that invites them to reconnect with some forgotten and rarely used items. 

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘All Star’

 

 

‘One of the most important things for me when I create my work is to make sure that it expresses the times in which I live. I see it as one way of confirming my presence in the long history of ceramic art. At the same time, I believe it also has the effect of increasing the part of the work that the viewer can relate to,’ he tells designboom.

The artist also reminisces about his experience with the advent of new technologies. ‘I am 46 years old now. I remember when I was in primary school, computers became widespread, and by the time I was a university student, these were followed by smartphones and tablets. It was like the dawn of the digital age. I am part of the generation where digital objects gradually increased their presence in our lives,’ he adds.

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘Time to Tipple 2’

 

 

Can digital mediums replace manual sculptures?

 

Before working with ceramics, Toshiya Masuda employed metal as his primary material, bending and molding the alloy into three-dimensional objects. ‘But when I wanted to use digital as a theme, I thought it would be better to choose a different material to express it more effectively, so I chose ceramics, which has an image that is the exact opposite of digital,’ he shares with designboom. He was a student of metalworking, investing his time and skills in fashioning his passion for shaping the alloy.

With ceramics, Toshiya Masuda relied on himself to research and experiment, traversing the medium for the first time in his artistic career. ‘How can I mold it? How can I express the form I imagine? I came to this point through a process of trial and error,’ he says to designboom. Years later, his dedication enabled him to perfect where he failed in sculpting ceramics, more so by making them pixelated, and alongside his ceramics, technology is incorporated.

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘Recollection Playlist’

 

 

‘Now that digital devices are at the center of our lives, the number of digital natives is increasing, and I think it is only natural that expression will also become digitalized in the future, as only such people will be around,’ he explains to designboom. He acknowledges that the use of digital mediums and technologies may share the spotlight with manual craftsmanship, given their growing presence more so than ever.

Still, Toshiya Masuda still hopes labor in handmade artworks receives the appreciation it deserves, established by his continuous creation of pixelated ceramic sculptures. ‘At the same time as the number of digital works increases, expressions using real materials such as ceramics and oil painting will also be re-evaluated, and as a result, I think that some expressions in artworks may not change significantly,’ he tells designboom.

toshiya-masuda-pixelated-ceramics-sculptures-designboom-ban

Low pixel CG ‘Recollection playlist 2’

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘Withering Flowers’

toshiya masuda pixelated ceramic sculptures
Low pixel CG ‘Time to Tipple3’

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Low pixel CG ‘Texture noise (empty bottle)’

 

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Low pixel CG 'Family Taking Refuge from a Bombing Raid' (V&A collection)
Low pixel CG 'Family Taking Refuge from a Bombing Raid' (V&A collection)
移ろい
移ろい
質感2
質感2

project info:

 

name: Pixelated ceramic sculptures

artist: Toshiya Masuda

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