• March 22, 2019

For the record, a survey of my early collages, and their evolution till today. The paper ones were made and exhibited in Tokyo, LA, Toronto. The series (style) began in 1987. The concept came fully-formed in a daydream while sitting at Shinjuku station: slice images to strip them to their core information, and then interleave the images to compress them into dense meanings. It also enabled works using disparate material and juxtapostions of ideas to visually cohere. I have always described these as having a visual rhyme scheme, A/B/A/B/C/C.   Poetry, music, and DNA. Most carefully composed, but all open to chance.

I used magazines and posters, gathered from around Asia as I traveled, Japanese manga, Thai movie posters, European and American magazines. The material was free, all I could afford. The works were first done ‘live’, on the street or subway, my version of graffiti,  me and an Xacto and tape, altering ads on the wall with linear slices cut, flipped, placed out of time, added; in today’s language, the images turned from analog to digital, disrupted, genetically modified within and across ads. (The man smoking a cigarette below was an example.) Then the work moved indoors…

These sliced collages were small at first, then were done on panels, the only way to make larger images in a tiny Tokyo apartment.  The panels then enabled iterations and combining paintings to create megacollages, which led to large recombinant installations.

The first exhibition of these early linear collages was in my apartment near Ikebukuro, 1987. The second was in a gallery in Ginza (1988), about 20 works in this style. The final showing in Japan was some of these works projected to about 70′ high, onto a building at Shibuya Station (above Hachiko) over a week, a project sponsored in part by the Canadian Embassy, the Shibuya Municipal gov’t, Tokyu Hands, and Heineken. (The other works below have shown in various places, guerilla to gallery, and been covered by the CBC, the Star, Japan Times, Lola, the Globe, Forbes, etc.)

I’ve continued to use this linear approach over the years — which became much easier with Photoshop — even using versions of it on my album covers (see bottom.) It has evolved through collage, painting, sculpture, printmaking, video, earthworks and installation. (Oh, and sound/music: see especially the songs Shinjuku Zulu from the first SZ album,  and Rashomon from the second K.I.A. album).

Some examples circa 1987:


Doll Hairs

Do You Smoke Good Cigarettes



A linear word collage, 1991 (these are ongoing today):
kissing text2
Painted sliced collage (72 x 72″), 1995:
chord reS

Collage 1997:
Upsized and painted on aluminum panels, from 1996-2000. Here, 2 then 5 paintings collaged together:

Masaimatical spliced in Staccatorest
installation view

Shinjuku Zulu album cover, 1999


Eventually this style became painterly. Here’s one 12′ x 6′ work on aluminum, spliced with another, 2007:

And here’s an 84″ work on canvas and smaller paper works from 2014:

tightSteppa 72 x 52". Acrylic on canvas.

paperSteppa 22 x 30"

Earthworks from 2013 and ongoing;

75 x 15' ash on snow

And from 2014 onwards:

Sculptural iteratons:
This wall 96″ wall sculpture:
And also this 30′ x 15′ x 12′ recombinant installation:

And this decentralized painting, 30 parts distributed globally: