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"Creative Adventures in Japan" of Christopher M. Gaston
xenovision, Christopher M. Gaston, cmg_small
Some artists paint.  Some work in metal or clay or whatever.  xenovision, just won't fit into any of those slots. "I", he says, "am here to expand, explore, and create." For him that means, simply, anything and everything to do with art and creativity.  A look at his resume puts you in the picture. Hailing from U.S.A., he took a BFA degree on an scholarship  at the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) in 1990, then hot-footed it to Japan where he found himself immersed in the world of Japanese ceramics of Mashiko and Kasama, smashing traditions and pushing his visions into reality by having numerous exhibitions and within two years was granted his Artist Visa by Japan`s Ministry of Justice soon after receiving the prestigious "Special Judges" award by Professor Emeritus Yoshiaki Inui at the 1992 Mino International Ceramics Competition.  Next, Christopher was starting to make a name for himself in Tokyo, performing together with the newly formed group of artists, musicians, and performers called, "geoidwork", traveling around Japan as a performance and visual artist for events, happenings, and fashion shows.

xenovision then turned content creator, graphic designer, on line editor, photographer, writer, and logo designer.  As the creative seed for the Tokyo based magazine, "zavtone".  While at "zavtone", his visuals expanded and were soon picked up by many of the dance club and event promoters, DJ`s, musicians, along with collaborations together with other Tokyo based video artists. xenovision was projecting his visions in the Tokyo club scenes of Shibuya, Roppongi, and Shinjuku as a VJ visual projectionist, creating mind melting human psycho-eye candy, playfully inter-weaving his raw analog effects together with the then, newly developed DV with firewire to the digital realm of desktop video editing. And back in his country studios, xenovision was creating remarkably original and striking works in metal, glass, and clay, along with other media. Not to mention his ventures into photography exhibitions and even winning "exhibition" prize in Japan`s Advertising Photography Association (APA), a national photo exhibit which traveled though out Japan`s major museums of art.

With his keen sense of color and design, xenovision is especially drawn to lighting and color in all its manifestations. One of his major themes is standing metal sculptures illuminated from the interior with multi- colored neon tubes. Why neon? Because it's an analog technology that's more natural and easy on the eye, with a relaxing, almost hypnotic sexy effect, a "Human Bug-Light" you might say. Indeed, in an outdoor setting at night xenovision's strange and wonderful neon sculptures take on an enticing life of their own. As architectural statements these neon sculptures singly or in groups add definition and quality to public and commercial spaces. They benefit from another big advantage of neon lighting: it is extremely economic power consumption and virtually maintenance-free reliability. While neon is a favorite, there are many other kinds of lighting -- and materials -- in xenovision's repertoire. He has used fluorescent, colored LEDs and even, in outdoor works, naked flame to achieve highly specific effects in combination with a gamut of materials extending from high temperature ceramics and aluminum or steel, to painted and textured glass and concrete, washi paper and more. And of course, the experiment is ongoing.

Nobody yet knows the shape of things to come from xenovision's fertile brain, but we can be sure they will be stimulating and thought provoking. Confident in his creativity, xenovision is always ready to try something new. That's why he takes part in so many solo and group exhibitions, live events and public projects. A recent one was the planning and implementation of an interactive art space for the municipality of Misato-mura in Mie Prefecture, Japan where the children and community were invited to create their own piece of art to contribute to the overall effect.

Another case in point is one of xenovision's favorite creations, the Saint-Gobain project. Saint-Gobain is one of the world's largest glass producers, and the oldest company in France, with a history of some 300 years. So Atlantis Associates, the architects of their striking new Tokyo Head Office building in Kojimachi, rightly assumed they would be interested in something special. The result was a remarkable collaboration, a reception space like no other. Immediately on entering the building you find yourself in a reception area enclosed on three sides by a gigantic, floor to ceiling mural created from 24 panels of backlit, painted and sand-blasted plate glass laminated onto stainless steel. The illumination is provided by a multitude of energy efficient fluorescent bulbs connected to a timer/micro-controller. This can be programmed for different lighting effects for morning, afternoon and evening as well as for special events. At first, says xenovision, office workers did not know how to react to the unique environment. But as the building's reputation spread, they became fiercely proud of their 'Space Art Lobby'. And that, in xenovision's way of seeing the world, is the most rewarding thing of all. "A truly successful creation of art is one that interacts with the environment and the people who experience it. That's when I really know I've created something special!"
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