Keisuke Mori's colors breathe new life into record jackets. "Listening Museum #5"

"HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM ~Listening Museum~" is a podcast that started this spring and focuses on the artists under contract with the welfare experimental unit Heralbony.

Sara Ogawa, an actor, filmmaker, and writer, and Takaya Matsuda, CEO of HERALBONY, will be the interviewers. As they listen carefully to the art, they will touch upon the personality and life story of this "unique artist" that can be seen beyond his work.

Our guests this time are Keisuke Mori, an unusual artist who skillfully uses prints and colors to create record jacket motifs, and Director Murabayashi of the "Sen of Hope" facility, which inspired him to develop his current style of work. Fumito, Takaya's twin brother and vice president, also joined us for the talk.

#Record jacket

Ogawa: Today we will be joined online by Mori Keisuke himself and facility director Murabayashi.

Mori-san: Hello!!!

Ogawa: You're so full of energy! Thank you.

Takaya: You're doing well, Mori-san! What's wrong?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Are you feeling excited today?

Mori-san: I'm going to do my best today!!

Fumito: Thank you.

Keisuke Mori "Someone Loves Someone"

Ogawa: Thank you! I saw your drawings, and I thought they were really colorful and beautiful, but you always draw pictures for record jackets, don't you?

Mori-san: Yes!

Ogawa: Why is that a record jacket?

Mori-san: Because it's cool!

Ogawa: So the record was in "Garden of Hope" and you started painting it?

Director Murabayashi: That's right. The landlord of the studio has a hobby of collecting records. I've joined him in collecting them, so there are a lot of records on display. I don't know when it started, but Mori-san picked one from there and said, "I'm going to draw a cool person," and started drawing it.

Ogawa: Do you yourself listen to records?

Mori-san: We have a recorder at home, but it's not being used right now!

Takaya: I see.

Ogawa: I wonder if it was the visuals? I was attracted to how cool it was.

Director Murabayashi, do you remember when you first started drawing records?

Director Murabayashi: Yes. Keisuke was born in 1989 and has been painting in my studio since he was in the sixth grade of elementary school. At that time, he just painted on regular paper with watercolors.

Ogawa: What were you writing?

Mori-san: Umm, maybe fruit?

Ogawa: Wow!

Takaya: I'd like to see it. What was the style of the work? Was it colorful enough to look three-dimensional like it is now?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Although it is very pure, I drew it in a fairly normal and cute way.

Mori-san: (smiles broadly on screen)

Takaya: Sorry, I'm online with Mori-san right now. You have such an amazing smile, I can't help but feel a bit uncomfortable (laughs).

Fumito: What a nice smile, Keisuke!

Mori-san: Yes!

Takaya: It kind of gives me energy too.

Ogawa: Yes you can! I understand that the designs were different originally, but how did they change to your current style?

Facility Director Murabayashi: They asked me, "How can I write it well?"

Ogawa: Wow!

Facility Director Murabayashi: So I said, "What if we used light colors in the light areas and dark colors in the dark areas?" and that's how we got to where it is today.

Takaya: I see! I think you'll understand if you look at my work, Sara, but there are many works in which the right side of the face is lit up with a very bright light, while the left side is a dark painting. Even within that, he uses three or four different shades of black, so the way he creates the shadows is incredibly delicate.

Keisuke Mori "Let it be"

Ogawa: I see! I heard that you spend a lot of time creating colors, but how do you usually create your colors?

Facility Director Murabayashi: How do you create the colors?

Mori-san: You just mix one color and make it!

Ogawa: Wow! It takes a lot of time to make them, doesn't it?

Director Murabayashi: That's right. I think I spend more time touching the palette than I do coloring the canvas.

Fumito: Oh! That's right.

Facility Director Murabayashi: They kept kneading (the paint) for about 20 minutes.

Takaya: So you have a strong preference when it comes to creating colors, don’t you?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Yes. However, it takes about 40 minutes just to lay down one line.

Fumito: What, 40 minutes?!

Ogawa: So how long does it take to create this record jacket art?

Facility Director Murabayashi: It's amazing. Smaller pieces take longer. On the other hand, the smaller they are, the more detailed they become. So recently it can take more than a year to make one piece. For larger pieces, around 20 or 30 cm, it takes about three months.

Fumito: I see.

Ogawa: When you draw it, you don't just copy the original record jacket, you change it with your own colors. Are the colors you use your favorite colors?

Mori-san: I like a lot of different colors. There are a lot of different colors that I use!

Takaya: What color do you like?

Mori-san: Umm, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, white...

Takaya: There are a lot!

Fumito: Maybe still.

Mori-san: And...

Fumito: See!

Facility Director Murabayashi: Do you like them all?

Mori-san: Gold, silver, and so on! Yes!

Ogawa: That's great! Do you like spending 20 minutes like that creating different colors?

Mori-san: Yes!

Takaya: Actually, Mr. Mori was also involved in recruiting for HERALBONY.

Ogawa: Wow! How?

Takaya: When we had a Mori Keisuke exhibition at the Heralbony Morioka Gallery, a woman came all the way from Tokyo to the gallery in Iwate to buy a piece, saying, "I want to buy an art piece to commemorate my 30th birthday." She now works for us. Her name is Kobayashi Megumi.

Ogawa: Amazing!

Fumito: I wanted to own one of Mori's works, so I bought my first ever art piece at Heralbony and even ended up joining the company.

Takaya: Mr. Mori and Mr. Kobayashi bought one of Mr. Mori's paintings and joined the company. Thank you very much.

Mori-san: I'm happy!

Takaya: Mori-san looks great too, seriously!

Ogawa: How do you usually choose the record jackets you draw?

Murabayashi: What criteria do you use to select record jackets?

Mori-san: Hmm, I can't decide which one to draw!

Takaya: So it's hard to decide after all. So while you're undecided, you decide based on what you like?

Mori-san: Yes!


Ogawa: Do you spend most of your day drawing?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Mr. Mori has a regular job, so on weekdays he works at a supermarket cutting meat.

Ogawa: Wow!

Facility Director Murabayashi: They come to Hope Garden once a week on weekdays, starting around 3:00 p.m., and they're there every Saturday from morning until evening.

Takaya: I see. Mr. Mori is really hardworking, or should I say, wonderful. Previously, when we held an exhibition of HERALBONY at a department store in Nagoya, everyone from Kibo no Sono came. Then, Mr. Mori offered to help with the cash register! Thank you very much, even though we were short-staffed (laughs).

Mori-san: I love working the cash register!

Fumito: You like ringing up customers, don't you? Thank you so much for helping out.

Takaya: I'm grateful for that. Really.

Ogawa: I've heard that you have a lot of hobbies other than drawing. What are they?

Facility Director Murabayashi: What do you like to do?

Mori-san: To show customers the paintings on display!

Ogawa: To be seen by customers? I also heard that you like all-you-can-eat restaurants, and other things.

Takaya: Hehe, that's nice. What do you like to do? Besides drawing.

Mori-san: Me?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Yes.

Mori-san: Things I like... Ah, Book Off!

Ogawa: You like Book Off! Why do you like it?

Mori-san: Because they sell books, games, CDs, and DVDs.

Ogawa: Wow!

Facility Director Murabayashi: If you want to sell books...

Mori-san: Book Off!! (in the tune of the commercial song)

Everyone: (laughs)

Takaya: Oh, there's a commercial (laughs). When you held an exhibition in Tokyo, you even went out of your way to visit the Book Off in Tokyo. You visit all the Book Offs in Japan, right?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Is it moving?

Mori-san: Umm, well... (joking through the screen)

Everyone: (laughs)

Fumito: Hey! Stop making those funny faces! (laughs)

Mori-san: Umm, well... (Whispering vaguely) Maybe so.

Everyone: (laughs)

Mori-san: Wataraibashi Bridge and Matsusaka.

Takaya: There are Book Off stores in Wataraibashi and Matsusaka in Mie too.

Fumito: I guess that's the Book Off I most like?

Mori: That's right.

Fumito: I heard you like second-hand shops too. Do you like buying things at those places? Or do you just like looking at them?

Mori-san: I look at them and buy them!

Fumito: I see. Is there anything you bought there recently that you liked?

Facility Director Murabayashi: What did you buy recently?

Mori-san: What did you buy?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Yes.

Mori-san: Books, toys, video games, etc.

Fumito: Wow, that's great.

Ogawa: Do you like games? You mentioned that earlier.

Mori-san: I love the Super Famicom!

#cute hikaru-chan

Ogawa: I heard that you have a friend named Hikaru, maybe they are from the same facility. Mori-san, what kind of child is Hikaru-chan?

Facility Director Murabayashi: See, see? (laughs)

Mori-san: Hikaru-chan?

Facility Director Murabayashi: What kind of person is he? What kind of person is Hikaru-chan?

Mori-san: Hikaru-chan is a girl.

Ogawa, Takaya, and Fumito: Hmm!

Facility Director Murabayashi: What do you think?

Mori-san: It's cute!

Ogawa: Do you get along well?

Mori-san: Yes!

Takaya: That's great! Hikaru, have you ever shown Mori's work?

Mori-san: Have you ever had anyone see my work? Hmm, maybe. Maybe.

Facility Director Murabayashi: No, they painted in the same studio!

Everyone: (laughs)

Takaya: Ah, so you paint in the same studio!

Facility Director Murabayashi: You always eat snacks together.

Mori-san: In the morning. I always go there after I finish eating.

Ogawa: Murabayashi-san, what is the relationship between you, Keisuke-san and Hikaru-san like?

Facility Director Murabayashi: As a woman, I think she is quite interested in it. By the way, yesterday I did some preparations for today's recording.

Takaya: Thank you.

Facility Director Murabayashi: So, you ended up going to the atelier late. And Hikaru-chan was waiting for you the whole time.

Fumito: Oh.

Facility Director Murabayashi: But we didn't have time, so in the end Hikaru-chan went home by herself. Then Mr. Mori kept saying, "You're making me do extra work!" "Hikaru-chan's gone home, what are you going to do about it!" (laughs)

Takaya: Ah, Mori-san!

Facility Director Murabayashi: "What should I do? What should I do? Oh, Hikari-chan has gone home. What should I do if she gets angry?" So I called.

Takaya: A call from Murabayashi.

Facility Director Murabayashi: Right. So, she called and said, "I'm not angry." And that's how they became friends, right?

Mori-san: Yes!

Facility Director Murabayashi: (To Mori-san) I'm so sorry! (laughs)

Takaya: So you weren't able to meet Hikaru-chan at the meeting for this radio show, right? I'm sorry, I'm very sorry (laughs). She's an important person to you.

Keisuke Mori "Ballad of Youth"

Ogawa: Aside from the time you were drawing, do you have any memorable interactions with Keisuke?

Facility Director Murabayashi: For example, on Saturdays we go out to eat lunch together, and we drink soup, like miso soup, ramen, or udon.

Ogawa: Yes.

Facility Director Murabayashi: Close your eyes.

Takaya: So you're savoring it.

Facility Director Murabayashi: They taste it. And then they always say, "Haaaah!"

Everyone: (laughs)

Takaya: What a gourmet!

Ogawa: I'm sure the person who made it would be happy too. I hope people enjoy it that way.

Facility Director Murabayashi: One of their favorite things is "More rice, please!"

Ogawa: Keisuke, do you like having seconds of rice?

Mori-san: Yes!

Fumito: Out of all those foods, what is your favorite?

Facility Director Murabayashi: What is your favorite food?

Mori-san: My favorite food is fish.

Ogawa: Oh, fish. How do you like to eat fish?

Mori-san: There are also grilled, boiled and fried dishes.

Takaya: In various patterns.

Mori-san: Yes!

Ogawa: It really is clear that you have a lot of things you like!

Fumito: I think that if you see Mori's work in person, you will understand how unique he is.

Ogawa: Seriously, there's something about Mori's paintings...

Mori-san: Yes!

Takaya: Thank you for replying!

Mori-san: Thank you very much!

Everyone: (laughs)

Ogawa: Hehe! Mori's work is really cool!

Takaya: Recently, there was an exhibition at Hankyu Umeda, where an art piece by Mori for over 1 million yen was sold. When Mori actually met the buyer, he said "Thank you!" in a big voice, just like now. By the way, the painting is currently being used to entertain guests from all over the world at a villa overseas, which I think is amazing. I'm very grateful.

Fumito: Mori-san, your work has crossed the ocean!

Mori-san: Is that true?

Fumito: Yes!

Ogawa: What do you put the most effort into when you draw?

Mori-san: Hmm... (pauses in silence) I choose record jackets and draw pictures on them.

Takaya: What do you find most enjoyable when drawing?

Mori-san: Draw a picture?

Facility Director Murabayashi: What is fun about drawing?

Mori-san: Before drawing with pencil, I apply white paint.

Fumito: I guess you paint the whole thing with white paint and then add color.

Mori-san: No, no, I write it with a pencil.

Takaya: Oh, I'm sorry.

Facility Director Murabayashi: We first paint the base white and then draw the shape with a pencil.

Ogawa: The base is the most fun part, right?

Facility Director Murabayashi: Is the base fun? Or the pencil fun?

Mori-san: I first paint the base with white paint and then draw on it with pencil.

Ogawa: Wow, that's fun. That was a bit surprising!

Fumito: It's about building the first foundation. It sounds exciting!

Ogawa: I'd love it if everyone could see the paintings in person and imagine the process behind them. So, Mori-san and Murabayashi-san, thank you so much for sharing your valuable stories with us today.

Mori-san: Thank you very much!!

Facility Director Murabayashi: Thank you very much.

Ogawa: From start to finish, Mr. Mori's greetings and words of thanks were really pleasant and gave me a lot of energy. Thank you very much!

Takaya: Sorry for interrupting you when we were so excited that we were about to finish! Mori-san, if you don't mind, I'd love to hear about any projects you would like to try with HERALBONY in the future! What would you like to try with HERALBONY?

Mori-san: It's an exhibition!

Fumito: An exhibition! Let's do it! It would be called "Mori Keisuke Exhibition."

Takaya: You've done it once in Iwate, so where would you like to do it next?

Mori-san: Tokyo!!

Takaya: Thank you. So you'll have an exhibition in Tokyo! We'll do our best.

Fumito: I'd like to ask Mr. Mori to work hard on writing a new piece too! Thank you very much.

Mori-san: Yes, I'll do my best! Thank you very much!!

Takaya and Fumito: Thank you very much!

Ogawa: Maybe one day we'll be able to see Mori's paintings in Tokyo again.

Mori-san: Yay yay !!

Ogawa: I'm looking forward to it too! So thank you both so much!

Mori-san: Thank you very much!!!

Facility Director Murabayashi: Thank you very much!

Takaya and Fumito: Thank you!

Ogawa: And thank you, Fumito, for today.

Fumito: Thank you! People often tell me that I sound like I have the same voice as Takaya, so I'm sorry if it's confusing (laughs).

Ogawa: No, thank you. Takaya, I look forward to working with you again next time.

Takaya: Thank you very much.

Text by Tomoyo Akasaka

Keisuke Mori

He started painting in his studio at the age of 12, and has been painting oil paintings since he was 17. He chooses one record jacket that he finds "cool" from the vast collection of record jackets stored at the facility and paints it. He sometimes paints large works such as F100, but it takes an enormous amount of time to paint them, as it takes 20 minutes to create the colors and 40 minutes to draw a 20cm line. His distinctive color composition with striking light and dark was inspired by the advice of his teacher, Director Murabayashi. He starts painting early every morning, and greets everyone when the door to his studio opens. His hobbies are playing video games and visiting second-hand shops.

Learn more

The podcast "HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM" is now available for free

Based on the concept of "imagining the history of an unconventional artist through his art," this program listens closely to the art and touches upon the personality and life story of one "unconventional artist" that can be seen beyond his work.

The two MCs are Sara Ogawa, an actor, filmmaker and writer, and Takaya Matsuda, CEO of HERALBONY. Each episode focuses on a writer under contract with HERALBONY, and welcomes intellectually disabled writers, their families and welfare facility staff as guests.

It is available every Sunday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

You can also enjoy back issues for free.