Joey Meuross

December 8, 2014

Joey works with pixels and 3D programs to recreate a feeling of being in a place. This is Tokyo as seen through the mind of an artist and served in a magic mosaic of small squares of light.


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Joey Meuross. © Luis Mendo.

MC: What is your relationship to Tokyo?

JM: I come from England. I first went to Tokyo in 2008. I studied there. Since then I’ve returned many times. There is a special atmosphere in Tokyo, especially at nighttime. There is something beautiful about the lights. I now live in Gunma, about one hour away from Tokyo. I’ve been here for six months.

MC: When and why did you start drawing the city?

JM: I started making artworks and animations about Tokyo in 2008. I just wanted to capture the atmosphere and the mood. When I was home in England, I would return to the artworks to remind myself of my time in Tokyo.

MC: Do you draw professionally? If not, how do you combine drawing with your work?

JM: The artworks here are created using a combination of 3D modeling, photography, and image manipulation software. I have always been involved in some sort of artistic media, but I’ve never settled on one specific style. When I was in Tokyo, this is the method I was using.

MC: What is it you try/tried to achieve with your drawings of Tokyo?

JM: My pixelated style relates back to ‘90s video games I played as a child. That visual style is very nostalgic for me. When I create artwork in this style, it’s like I’m trying to capture and preserve a special moment or feeling. So I suppose these artworks of Tokyo relate to that. I don’t want to forget my times in Tokyo; I want to remember them in a warm, nostalgic way.

MC: Tell us about the place that you have selected.

JM: I chose Shibuya because walking out of Shibuya station and seeing the crossing for the first time was an unforgettable moment. I chose the Japanese convenience store because when I first arrived in Japan I was jet lagged and often visited the same convenience store at 4am, tired and lonely.

MC: What’s your favorite Tokyo place?

JM: I like the old streets in Asakusa, especially at nighttime. There’s a warm light, and the narrow streets are lined with happy people eating and drinking. I also like the masses of electricity wires overhead, when I see them I really feel like I’m in Japan.

MC: Who is a reference for your work or is there someone whose work you particularly admire?

JM: The strongest references for me stylistically are the 32-bit graphics of early ‘90s video games. I also love the work of David Lynch.

MC: Did drawing change your life and if it did can you explain us in what way?

JM: I’ve always drawn, so it’s a difficult question. But my life would be very different if I didn’t have the ability to draw and be creative. I would be a very different person.

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© Joey Meuross.

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Shibuya was the first area of Tokyo I visited. I remember that moment, walking out of the station and seeing the famous Shibuya crossing, surrounded by the tall, futuristic buildings. It was a special moment for me, as I’d always dreamed of visiting there. Remembering that moment, I made this 3D scene of Shibuya crossing. © Joey Meuross.

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The first time I visited Japan was for a six-month study abroad trip. For my first few weeks I was a bit homesick and jet lagged, so at around 3am every night I’d aimlessly wander around the local convenience store marveling at all the interesting things. I made a digital 3D model of the convenience store and animated it in an attempt to re-capture the mood of those lonely nights. Here are two frames from the animation. © Joey Meuross.

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© Joey Meuross.

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Build your own Tokyo series. These simple pixel illustrations can be cutout, folded and glued together to make your own miniature, 3D Tokyo scene. © Joey Meuross.

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© Joey Meuross.

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© Joey Meuross.

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© Joey Meuross.

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© Joey Meuross.