The life of artist Kira Yaegashi, who continued drawing for 50 years - one day, crayons changed his life [Isai Tsuushin #11]

"Isai Tsuushin" is a column introducing artists brought to you by Marie ( @Marie_heralbony ), the Isai Evangelist. In addition to the appeal of the works produced by Isai artists, we will deliver it in a chatty style, including wonderful experiences born from the interaction between Heralbony and Isai artists. For all of you who "love the unusual". We will support your tomorrow with content that will help you relax and give you energy.

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This is a unique artist whose expression is filled with surprise and joy, and whose voice seems to come from the photograph. What is there before his eyes?

The main character of this issue of Isai Tsushin is Kiyoshi Yaegashi, a writer with Down Syndrome who is still loved by many people for his friendly personality.

The film traces his life, during which he produced thousands of works until his death in 2020 at the age of 64.

Circles, squares, and straight lines: the true nature of these mysterious shapes

First, let's take a look at the works that Kira has created.
This is "(Untitled) (House)," which is used in many HERALBONY products.

"(Untitled) (House)" It is filled with bright colors and circles, straight lines, and squares drawn with black lines.

As you look at it, your imagination runs wild, wondering, "Is this a floor plan of the house? Or a three-dimensional drawing? Maybe the window is over there?"

Let's take a look at another house-themed piece. Can you guess what a white circle is, floating amongst the dense colors and shapes?

According to Kira, this white circle is "a toilet!"

"(Untitled) (House)"

Kira has such a humorous side to him. He started making this "Architecture Series" in 1999 when the facility where Kira was staying was rebuilt. Kira loves new things, so the modern exterior of the rebuilt facility was very appealing to him, and it became a source of inspiration for his work.

Before that, he painted a "car series" rather than architecture.

This work resembles a car driving through a lush green forest. Where is it going? Who is in it? This work invites viewers to use their own imagination.

"(Untitled) (Car)"

Another piece I'd like to introduce is a work titled "Maki-chan's Car." The bright colors make it look like it's driving through a bustling city. The dynamic contrast between the finely drawn lines in a grid pattern and the car-like shape on the left is also impressive.

"(Untitled) (Maki-chan's car)"

Kira's work is now loved by many local residents, but the path he took to become known to the world is full of dramatic events.

Disconnected from society. A fateful encounter that changed one writer's life

In Kira's childhood, the relationship between disabilities and society was very different from today. Under a system called "exemption from compulsory education," he was not able to attend elementary school, and his only connection to society was his family. It seems that even the local people were not very aware of his disability.

In those days, what opened the door to Toyoshira's creativity was a ruler and crayons that his younger sister received from elementary school when he was about 10 years old. Even after he entered a facility for the disabled, he continued to draw silently alone in between farm work and other chores. However, at that time, no one paid any attention to the creative activities of people with disabilities.

Time passed, and when Kira was in his 40s, a major turning point came for him. He met Takashi Itagaki, who would later become the art director of the Lumbini Museum, and came to Kira's facility to support his creative endeavors. Fascinated by Kira's worlds and insatiable desire to express himself, Itagaki energetically supported his artistic endeavors, including participating in exhibitions at galleries showcasing contemporary artists , and Kira's work began to receive more recognition.

Later, Kira's works were exhibited at the Lumbini Museum, which Itagaki helped establish, and have since attracted many visitors.

In fact, the birth of HERALBONY also started when the company's representative, Takaya, was shocked by the artworks he saw at the Lumbini Art Museum. The creative work of people with disabilities, which had been in an obscure place, was displayed in art exhibitions and museums, which led to the birth of HERALBONY. Kira's work was the foundation of this journey.

The miraculous sight that met Kira's gaze

Since then, his works have been exhibited in various places and he continued to paint throughout his life, beloved by many local people.

In 2019, the HANAMAKI ART STATION project, the first of its kind in Japan, was carried out, treating Hanamaki Station in Iwate Prefecture itself as a canvas and wrapping it in artworks.

The piece chosen as the main artwork was "(Untitled) (House)" by Kira, a local artist beloved by many residents.

Toki and her sister get in the car and head to Hanamaki Station.

Wearing a tie that reproduced one of his own art, he gave us a happy peace sign.

Finally, he arrived at the station building, enveloped in his own art.

Kira looks ecstatic and happy, as if to say, "This is my painting!"

The architectural art that Kira has been painting in silence alone now decorates the buildings of the town where he lives . It touches the eyes of many people who pass by the station and colors their hearts. It was a beautiful moment that felt like the climax of Kira's creative career.

Please also take a look at the video.

Yaegashi Kiryo's unique talent will continue to shine

The following year, in 2020, Kira completed his long life's journey.

In all the photos of Kira, he has a gentle expression. His friendly and loving personality can be seen in every detail.

When Kira visited Hanamaki Station, he proudly introduced his work wrapping the station building. He had unwavering confidence in his work. Seeing Kira like that gave the people around him the strength to affirm themselves.

Finally, we would like to introduce a unique work painted in his later years.

"Kira, Tomoko and her mother"

This is a work that depicts not a house or a car, but myself and my family. The white circle in this work does not represent a "toilet," but something like a soap bubble or a heart mark.

He expresses his utmost love for his family through painting, which has been with him throughout his life. Just like Kira-san's smile, this work will bring a ray of sunshine to the hearts of those who see it.

At the exhibition "HERALBONY/Starting from Zero", which was held in October 2021, chairs, desks, and art supplies that Kira actually used in her creative activities were displayed alongside many of her works.

There will also be an exhibition of Kira's "(Untitled) (House)" rendered like stained glass.

It is also on permanent display at the Heralbony Gallery in Iwate, where it is always watching over us.

Mr. Kira's warm smile seems to float in the sunlight shining in. I believe that Mr. Kira's presence will live on in our hearts, and that the works he left behind will continue to illuminate the hearts of those who see them forever.

We hope that many people with Down's syndrome, and not just people with Down's syndrome, but people with other disabilities, can live their lives with the confidence that Kira-san has. We hope that this BUDDY WEEK will help many people learn about disabilities such as Down's syndrome and autism, leading to a future where everyone can live comfortably, without prejudice or restrictions.

We will continue our activities in the future.

Yaegashi Kiryo's work is available as a limited edition necktie

At HERALBONY, we have named the period spanning World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd as HERALBONY BUDDY WEEK.

>>Click here for the special page

During this time, as Isai's "buddy," we will be selling limited edition products to raise awareness of "autism" and "Down syndrome" among many people. This tie, worn by Kira, is being reprinted and sold in limited quantities. Wear Isai's art and move towards a future where everyone can live comfortably.

[Limited quantity] Necktie "(Untitled) (House)"《 BUDDY WEEK 2024 》

Products featuring this artist's work

Cushion "(Untitled) (House)" |Silk scarf "(Untitled) (House) "

Handkerchief "(Untitled) (House)" | Handkerchief + frame set "(Untitled) (House)"

Kiyoshi Yaegashi

Currently enrolled at Lumbini Museum (Iwate Prefecture)

At first glance, the paintings appear to be abstract geometric patterns, but many would be surprised to learn that they are actually original arrangements of architecture. Yaegashi created this style of expression on his own as a child, without any instruction from anyone, and has continued to create in this single style for over half a century since then. The number of his works likely reaches several thousand.