Honeyee US sits down for a rare interview with Tokyo artist Nakano Tsuyoshi aka SKOLOCT following a recent gallery show in Los Angeles. An OG of the Ura-Harajuku movement, Tsuyoshi talks about his roots in the scene, his recent collaborative efforts with UNDERCOVER and Hysteric Glamour, and building the NOWHERE store alongside Nigo and Jun Takahashi. Check out some highlights from the interview below and read the full piece at Honeyee US.
How did you start working with Undercover?
We were friends, when we were around 19, 20-years-old, people like Nigo, Jun Takahashi and myself were always in Harajuku, and that was the time when we all turning into adults from students. We started working together because we were similar.
What would you say is your greatest inspiration? What makes these things pop into your head?
In Harajuku, there were many brands such as WTAPS, Undercover, and other great brands; they were competing with each other in a way. Not in the sense of one being better than the other, but one [brand] might make a special product, which would challenge and motivate the other to release something just as special. This kind of healthy competition moved me so much. Also, another big inspiration for me could be American Culture.
But please tell me how you formed such a relationship with the Japanese designers you’ve worked with.
When I was 17 to 20, I was a security guard at a club where Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi, and everyone was doing DJ sets. Yeah…that’s where I met them. It was a completely different world from mine, but it was so fun for me, and since my world was different from theirs also, they were eager to get to know me. I was working as a security guard only at night with my crew, and then working as a house painter during the day. One day when I was 20, I was asked to paint Jun and Nigo’s store, NOWHERE. My job was in Sangen-jaya, and their shop was in Harajuku, which is pretty close, so I did it, and since then, we were together every day, and I learned a lot from them. There was always some Amerian artist I’d meet such as Futura 2000, Stash, and artists that worked for Supreme, and those were the influences I got and learned from them.
Is it true that you drew one of the first prototypes for the BAPE logo?
No, I didn’t do anything with BAPE logo. I did the first store, NOWHERE.
What was it like being apart of the building of a piece of history?
It was so much fun; I was only 20 something years old. We were a team of two painters and two carpenters, total four of us made the NOWHERE store and the store was doing so well, and we changed the interior two times a year.
Who is SKOLOCT?
SKOLOCT is SKOLOCT, not a rabbit or a dog, it just SKOLOCT. The helmet was given from Darth Vader.