Home > Highlighting JAPAN > Highlighting Japan MARCH 2012 > Ishinomaki Graffiti

Highlighting JAPAN


COVER STORY: Rising from Adversity—TOHOKU, ONE YEAR ON

Ishinomaki Graffiti


In a project made possible by the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Brazil in Japan, Japanese-Brazilian artist Titi Freak has brought color and conversation to people living in temporary housing in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The Japan Journal's Osamu Sawaji reports.

Artwork by Titi Freak on the wall of temporary housing in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture
At the beginning of December, large paintings depicting multicolored goldfish, flowers and other sights began appearing on the walls of temporary housing in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. This was a form of graffiti painted by Titi Freak, who visited Japan at the invitation of the Japan Foundation. Titi Freak is a Japanese Brazilian born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he is a renowned graffiti artist. To date, he has also been involved in numerous global brand collaborations.

The Japan Foundation designed this latest project to bring color to the temporary housing, as well as offering a catalyst for communication between residents and lead to the development of more vibrant communities.

Titi Freak with temporary housing residents at his farewell party
Titi Freak explained his reasons for taking part in the project. "I took part because I would have the chance to paint for people in great need of aid and attention, and because I and everyone involved with this project believe that art can bring people closer and boost their self-esteem."

Titi Freak worked over a period of ten days creating the graffiti. Many residents not only came to watch him create the art, but also talked with him and offered him snacks and drinks. And, with residents chatting amongst themselves about the paintings, art had truly served as the catalyst for communication. Titi Freak is also skilled with a yoyo, and he proved popular among the children by performing and teaching them yoyo tricks.

Titi Freak himself is immensely pleased that the residents accepted his art and allowed him to paint freely.

On the final day of his visit, a workshop where people used colored spray paints to create works of art together with Titi Freak was held. Many residents, from children to adults, took part. Residents also gathered for a farewell party held thereafter, and Titi Freak was inspired by the sentiment.