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A gentle story by Eri Nitta, played with deformed creatures. "Listening Museum #11"

"HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM ~Listening Museum~" is a podcast that focuses on artists contracted to the welfare experimental company 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.

The artist we will introduce this time is Eri Nitta, who is a member of Atelier Bravo (Fukuoka Prefecture).

The creatures, deformed through Nitta's unique interpretation, give off a somewhat serene impression, as if they were a direct expression of Nitta's gentle personality.

# I want to be fashionable

Ogawa: What kind of fascinating artist is appearing today?

Takaya: Today we are joined by an artist named Eri Nitta from Atelier Bravo, a collective of artists based at a welfare facility in Fukuoka.

Ogawa: I have a painting by Eri Nitta in front of me right now. Is it a big sunflower? It's a really lovely painting with a beautiful contrast between yellow and blue.

"A fountain on the way home, sunlight filtering through the wisteria trellis, calla lilies, gerberas, and miscanthus" by Eri Nitta

Takaya: That's right. It says gerbera and miscanthus. I think it's probably a flower. If you search for "Nitta Eri Heralbony", I think you'll find card designs and so on, so I hope you'll enjoy searching.

Ogawa: So, let's get started right away. Today we are connected remotely with Eri Nitta and Yuka Furumai, facility manager at Atelier Bravo in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Nitta-san: Thank you very much.

Furumai-san: Thank you very much.

Takaya: Do you like drawing flowers, Nitta-san?

Nitta: I loved drawing pictures of flowers.

Ogawa: Do you always draw different pictures and different flowers?

Nitta: I'm drawing.

Ogawa: What kind of place is Atelier Bravo? Furumai-san.

Furumai: It's a Type B facility that provides employment support for people with disabilities, a welfare facility where people with disabilities work in the arts.

Ogawa: So, Mr. Nitta, you spend all your time here working as an artist.

Nitta: That's right.

Takaya: I heard that your work has recently been used on ramen bowls.

Ogawa: I have a photo of this too, and it's so cute!

Takaya: I thought that when I finished drinking this, art would appear, but I could already see Nitta's painting right from the start. Did you go for ramen, Nitta?

Nitta: We went to eat.

Takaya: Oh, that's good!

Ogawa: You can eat this at Hakata Ikkosha . In this bowl.

Takaya: Can I still eat it?

Furumai: This is a children's bowl and can be purchased at limited stores.

Ogawa: So you can buy them too! They're child's bowls, but the size seems like they could also be used as adult rice bowls.

Furumai: We also sell it online.

Ogawa: You can buy them online too! That's great. They're so cute! So Nitta-san, how old were you when you started drawing?

Nitta: I've been drawing since I was little.

Ogawa: I see. What kind of pictures did you draw when you were little?

Furumai-san: What kind of pictures were they? Do you remember? Birds or letters?

Nitta: I don't remember.

Takaya: Hehe. I bet you drew a lot of different things.

Ogawa: When did you join Atelier Bravo?

Furumai: I've been with the company since April 2012, after graduating from high school.

Ogawa: I see. After you joined the company, did your drawings change as you watched Nitta?

Furumai: That's right. I think it's true that things change depending on what you see and touch. For the past four years or so, you've actually had the desire to become more fashionable.

Ogawa: Wonderful!

Furumai: Right. So I tried making various suggestions. Up until then I had been looking at animal encyclopedias and the like, but I ended up depicting something more pop and cute, something that modern girls would like, something that women would like, in my work.

Takaya: I see. Are you also interested in buying clothes and things like that?

Furumai: She sometimes came to work wearing a long skirt.

Nitta: There was a time when I went to work wearing a long skirt.

Ogawa: Nice.

Takaya: That's great. I thought it would be nice if we could make a skirt out of materials like Nitta's, like Heralbony.

Ogawa: That certainly sounds good. What kind of products does Nitta's work become at HERALBONY?

Takaya: Actually, we have a credit card called the "Heralbony Card." We have used Nitta's work as the design on the face of the card. It's a really wonderful credit card, so I wonder if any of the Atelier Bravo staff have made one? Maybe not?

Furumai-san: I'm sorry... (laughs)

Takaya: It's free, so please give it a try!

Ogawa: I heard that 0.1% of the amount spent on this card is given back to the welfare industry?

Takaya: That's right. The other day I was on stage at an event with someone from the Marui Group, and it was interesting to hear that the amount spent on the "Heralbony Card" is four times that of a regular Epos Card. In other words, the amount people want to pay with this credit card is four times more than with a regular Epos Card. What's more, it seems that younger people are signing up for the card compared to a regular Epos Card.

Ogawa: Is that so?

Takaya: With the support of Nitta-san's wonderful illustrations, this card looks towards the future.

Ogawa: If you were to hand over a card with this design at the checkout, it would look really nice.

Takaya: I'd like to be able to start a conversation by handing it over at the register at a cafe and saying something like, "The card is cute."

#I want to dance

Ogawa: Nitta, what did you use to create this picture?

Nitta: I used acrylic paint and colored pencils.

Takaya: I wonder if you're looking at something while drawing, Nitta-san.

Nitta: I drew it while looking at a photograph.

Ogawa: Do you choose photos from those available at the facility?

Furumai-san: Is it from the internet?

Takaya: I see, I see.

Furumai: I either search online, or I have a lot of books in my studio, and I go there once a month to borrow about 20 books, so I choose from those. However, Eri has painted so many works up until now that even if I look at a photo at a glance, I might not be able to remember the situation at the time.

Ogawa: Ah, that's true! How fast do you usually finish drawing?

Furumai-san: How about that? About 10 works every three months.

Ogawa: That's amazing!

Takaya: That's amazing.

Furumai: He draws about 15 pieces in four months.

Ogawa: That's a lot. 15 works in 3 months means you're drawing about 5 works per month, right?

Takaya: He finishes at least one piece a week.

Ogawa: When you were at Atelier Bravo, did it feel like you were constantly drawing?

Nitta: That's right.

Ogawa: Mr. Nitta, what is the most enjoyable part about drawing?

Nitta: Drawing shapes.

Ogawa: It's the process of looking at a photograph and creating the shape.

Takaya: For example, is there anything at Atelier Bravo that you really like? Like the food is delicious.

Furumai: What's fun about coming to Atelier Bravo?

Nitta: When I do radio calisthenics with the other members, when I do Marina-sensei's calisthenics, or when I dance together with everyone?

Takaya: Wow, that's great!

Ogawa: Everyone seems to get along well!

Takaya: I think it was about four years ago. I went to Fukuoka and went to the zoo with the Atelier Bravo people and drew a piece of art while watching the animals. I remember there were some people doing exercises at the beginning.

Ogawa: In addition to just drawing, do you also have plenty of time to exercise together?

Furumai: Yes, we don't just draw pictures, we also have time to sing and dance together to maintain our stamina.

Ogawa: In your profile, you say that "kind words from friends can bring you to tears, and you can exchange letters with people you meet at events." Do you like exchanging words or letters like that?

Nitta: Yes, I like it.

Takaya: That's great. Nitta-san, what do you write in your letters?

Furumai-san: (To Nitta-san) What will you write in your letter? You write your feelings in a notebook and show it to me. What words will you write in that notebook?

Nitta-san: Do your best at work. I'll do my best with a smile.

Ogawa: I write about my enthusiasm for my work.

Takaya: Nitta-san, who is your favorite? It could be an idol, your family, or your friends at Atelier Bravo.

Furumai-san: Who do you like?

Nitta: BTS!

Furumai-san: Oh, is that so?

Takaya: BTS has jumped to the top! My daughter loves BTS too.

Ogawa: What do you like about BTS?

Nitta: She's good at dancing.

Takaya: I see.

Ogawa: The quality is really high. Also, one of Nitta's favorite things is "Dogs that don't bite, cats that don't bite." I thought that was really cute. He likes animals like dogs and cats.

Nitta: That's right.

Ogawa: It's better not to bite.

Takaya: Have you ever been bitten?

Nitta: I've never been bitten.

Ogawa: So you're scared. You're afraid of getting bitten.

Takaya: It’s important.

Ogawa: Other than drawing, is there anything else you're passionate about?

Furumai: I guess what I'm most into is dancing.

Ogawa: What kind of dance is it?

Takaya: Maybe BTS. Or is it different?

Nitta: Running Through the Night.

Ogawa: YOASOBI's "Racing into the Night"! You seem to be very knowledgeable about the latest entertainment.

Takaya: Please show it to us someday!

#I want to make a skirt

Ogawa: What kind of motifs have you been drawing recently?

(Nitta-san shows the picture on the screen)

Ogawa: What picture is that?

Nitta: I drew pictures of three girls, fashion and buildings.

Ogawa: I guess I'm a bit interested in girls' fashion right now.

Takaya: That's a lovely picture.

Ogawa: The illustrations are also in a different style from the ones on the Heraldic Bony cards. Who are these three girls?

Nitta: It's a picture of a model from a magazine.

Ogawa: You draw while looking at models. That's wonderful. What kind of magazines do you read?

Nitta-san: Cool photo I got from the beauty salon.

Ogawa: I see. It's interesting that it led to art.

Takaya: I think you're interested in a lot of things, like fashion, but what do you want most right now? What do you want right now? If you could get it, what would it be?

Nitta: Stickers?

Furumai-san: It's a sticker!

Takaya: Let's tell J-WAVE to make stickers. Radio is synonymous with stickers.

Ogawa: Let's do it. Let's collaborate. What sticker do you want?

Nitta: Animal stickers.

Ogawa: Animal stickers. They're nice.

Furumai-san: Let's go buy it with your salary.

Takaya: That’s good too.

Ogawa: It would be nice to make stickers of the animals you drew yourself. Is there anything you would like to draw or try with HERALBONY in the future?

Furumai: What kind of pictures do you want to paint in the future?

Nitta: I want to draw pictures of animals.

"Flamingo" by Eri Nitta

Ogawa: That would be nice.

Takaya: By the way, we worked on credit cards this time, but can I ask if there are any other types of work you would like to do?

Ogawa: What would you like to see your artwork become? Right now it's a credit card. What's next?

Furumai: What kind of picture would you like to see Eri's work turn out to be?

Nitta: Please make a skirt.

Ogawa: Then Eri could wear them and there's a chance they'll appear in fashion magazines!

Takaya: I think that Nakatsuka, the product manager at Heralbony who is sitting in the back of the radio booth, was nodding just now, so I'd like to talk to you about it in more detail. Then please come every day!

Nitta: I will wear it.

Ogawa: Right now, you can enjoy Nitta's work on Heralbony through credit cards, but do you have any plans for the future?

Takaya: Actually, there are about 50 of them in the Omotesando area right now. Nitta's work beautifully decorates the trash bins that use IoT to separate all the trash . The shape is also cool, so if you live near Tokyo, please check them out.

Ogawa: That's amazing! When I spoke with Nitta, I felt like my soul was purified by his calming tones, and it seems that Nitta's art actually purifies the town as well.

Takaya: That's right. Please come and see it in Tokyo, Nitta-san.

Nitta: I'd like to see it.

Takaya: We also have a big project coming up. I can't tell you about it yet. Nitta's work is also scheduled to appear in some amazing places, so I hope you'll look forward to it.

Ogawa: I'm looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to the possibility of developing items for everyday use, such as skirts. So, thank you to Eri Nitta and Yuka Furumai, the facility manager at Atelier Bravo, for your wonderful talk today.

Furumai-san and Nitta-san: Thank you very much!

Text by Tomoyo Akasaka

Eri Nitta Eri Nitta

Currently a member of the JOY Club Art Division at Atelier Bravo (Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture).
Born in 1991 (started attending in April 2012) I've always written and drawn a lot of pictures in my notebooks. I enjoy drawing small creatures. Creatures deformed into Nitta's form quietly appear on the screen, and as their numbers increase, they start to murmur, and when colored pencils and watercolors are added, they make beautiful cries. I have a feeling that a story is about to begin. I cry at kind words from my friends, exchange letters with people I meet at events, and my world expands every day.

"HERALBONY TONE FROM MUSEUM ~Listen to the Museum~" is 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.