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Hirohiko Araki Participates in Fountain Boy-themed Osaka Station Art Project

An interview with Hirohiko Araki on his Osaka Station public art project. Araki discusses his design process and connection to Osaka.

On May 16, 2024, West Japan Railway Company announced the launch of the “Osaka Station West District Art Project” (tentative name). Multiple creators will produce public art to promote Osaka. This includes manga artist Hirohiko Araki, known for his popular series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. He will participate in the project by creating his first public artwork. It is themed around the “Fountain Boy,” a former symbol of Osaka Station.

The project aims to display various artworks in the west side area of Osaka Station. Thus, it will offer everyday art experiences to visitors, contributing to the cultural and business development of Osaka and fostering innovation.

Araki’s Artwork

Fountain Boy installed at Inogate Osaka

They will display Araki’s work in the new station building “Inogate Osaka,” set to open on July 31. The artwork pays homage to the history and tradition of Osaka Station by taking inspiration from the “Fountain Boy”. Osaka Station displayed the statue for 103 years, and it is now preserved at the Kyoto Railway Museum.

The project team considered Araki a fitting choice due to his ability to create works that carry on history while depicting protagonists who thrive in their respective eras. They invited him to participate, expecting that through his first public art piece, visitors will feel a sense of timelessness and encounter a new wave of creativity in the Osaka Station west side area.

The full artwork has not been revealed yet, but a sneak peek is shown in Oricon’s video of Araki painting.


Interview with Hirohiko Araki

What motivated you to participate in this project?

I accepted the project because I thought it was quite romantic to revive the Fountain Boy, a former symbol of Osaka Station now preserved at the Kyoto Railway Museum, and bring it back to the public eye.

What are your thoughts and design concepts for the “Fountain Boy”?

Well, fountains symbolize water, don’t they? Fountains have a long tradition dating back to the Roman Empire. People gather around fountains, experiencing human interaction and a sense of healing—there’s a meaningful aspect to it. I think that’s why the old Osaka residents designed the Fountain Boy in such a way. The image of Rome in Italy was the first thing that came to mind, along with the circular design representing the water cycle. Rain falls, flows into rivers, goes to the sea, evaporates, and comes back again, circulating in a continuous loop. That’s why I chose a circular design.

It seems to have a connection with your work, especially themes like regeneration and revival.

Yes, themes like regeneration and revival are quite nice, aren’t they?

How does creating public art for the first time compare to your previous work?

Oh, yes. First of all, I’m very honored to receive a public commission. I usually create work exclusively for manga readers. This project, however, reaches a broader, more public audience, as it will be displayed in a station, a very public space. I considered the wider target audience and the themes accordingly.

What did you focus on when creating art that can be seen by a large, unspecified number of people?

I wanted to create a piece that anyone could look at and immediately recognize as a fountain.

How does this differ from your previous creative activities?

There are differences. The artwork will be significantly enlarged, so I had to consider the balance and proportions carefully.

If you were to set a story in Osaka, what kind of story and characters would you create?

I already have some connection with Osaka, having held the JoJo Exhibition there. I often visit Osaka for its delicious food and travel through it by train when going to Wakayama. As for a Stand, a Stand in Osaka would have to be related to food. There’s a character named Tonio Trussardi who deals with food, and I think characters and Stands like that would be great.

A story related to Osaka’s gourmet culture?

Yes, a gourmet showdown or a culinary battle would be interesting.

Finally, a message to your fans in Osaka?

When you’re passing through or stopping by Osaka Station, please take a moment to glance at the Fountain Boy. Thank you.

Source: Oricon News

Posted in Diamond is Unbreakable, Interview, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, News

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