Akari Uragami Describes Cobird

Akari Uragami lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Using soft sculpture, she expresses the universality of humans as organisms, depicting their internal and external phenomena. Akari graduated from Musashino Art University as a textile major and ESMOD fashion school in 2012. Her work has been exhibited in Korea, London, and California.

The painting she describes in this episode is:

「3 minute experience」
Cyanotype on paper & Lightjet print on photo paper
745mm x 490mm

photo: Masayuki Saito


Episode Transcript

Welcome to Art Personals, a podcast made by Compound Yucca Valley, an art and event space in California’s high desert. Here, we ask some of our favorite artists to describe another artist’s work as best they can, with only their words and sounds. The one parameter is that the object they choose must be one they have seen in person at some point in their lives (whether that's an ancient artwork in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or a friend's painting in a garage). 

Today, we’ve invited Akari Uragami, who has chosen to share her experience with the artist Cobird. Akari currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Using soft sculpture, she expresses the universality of humans as organisms, depicting their internal and external phenomena. 


Hi, I'm Akari Uragami. I'm a visual artist from Japan. Today, I'd like to introduce my friend and Japanese visual artist, Cobird. To give a bit of his background...he used to work in the fashion industry and his inspiration for the idea of weaving was drawn from this experience. Most of his current works are made by weaving strips of photo prints cut into thin pieces, and then woven together like threads, the warp representing time and the weft representing space. The photos he uses are sampled from the Internet.

This approach can be called simulationism, which refers to um, eighties art movement. The key concept of which is appropriating existing things like artworks or photos. He came up with this approach inspired by rap music. That is, he has been heavily influenced by rap music. The first work of his I saw was the huge artwork weaving of a scene from a public domain movie.

And there were another series of works of his using the technique of blueprints. Talking about blueprints, the color changes depending on exposure time. And, he decided a specific duration of exposure, according to each photo. For example, three minutes for a photo of a boxing match or the length of the national anthem for a photo of a national flag.

While looking at these works, I was remembering how he told me he wants to capture time and space using his body and spirit through his work. And, you know, time is usually invisible, but it felt like those blueprints works were visualizing and showing me the existence of time. The exhibition room was kind of dark, which made it feel like time was trapped in the space there just like his work. 

My work explores humans as organisms, along with our bodies and our relationship with things surrounding these human bodies. I also use technique of weaving in my work. So I was intrigued by his different approaches. Each of his series has strict rules and he works as an agent, which carries them out, making time and space stay in loop within his works. Seeing his works, we can feel his personal background such as his favorite music like rap music or movies and his human qualities. But, at the same time, this almost mechanical feel of monotonous, steady process of making these works too. 

Ninja Tune, an English independent record label, will release their 30th anniversary merchandise. His work is used in their t-shirts.* It's going to be rad. And his Instagram ID is @cobird1432. Please check it out. Thank you for listening. Arigato. See you again somewhere at some point. Bye-bye.


You have been listening to Akari Uragami discuss her encounter with the artist Cobird, who can be found on Instagram at @cobird1432. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider checking back on our website to find out more about our Winter 2022 exhibition which will feature Akari’s work.

Art Personals is produced by me, Caroline Partamian, Lara Wilson, and Michael Townsend in collaboration with our artists. 

Our intern is Emiliano Vazquez.

Original music by Ethan Primason.

We curate shows for our virtual and physical spaces. If you are an artist interested in working with us, please send an email to hello@compoundyv.com.


*Additional Notes: Cobird Ninja Tune Tee x Sasquatchfabrix tees in White and Black