Hajime Sorayama’s Gynoid, An Exceptional Futuristic Aura

Sorayama is often referred to as the contemporary imaginative Vargas by those familiar with his pin-up style works and is greatly respected by artists and illustrators for his perfect technique. Less known is that he uses his specially modified Kabuki make-up brushes, pencil, and acrylic paint, and airbrushing certain finishing details to create memorable hyper-realistic images.

In retrospect, Sorayama’s work has been remarkably prescient. Beginning in the 1970s and evolving into the 21st century, the futuristic aura of the robotic, mythical and fantastical figures in his art have always been ahead of their time. His arts appear to us in many ways each day and are available on the internet, movie, media, and books.

Starting in Japan, Sorayama’s arts breached our sub-conscious in the west during the mid to late 1980s traveling from the artist underground in Japan to the doorsteps of mainstream art in major USA venues in the early 1990s. One of his most important first visits to the USA was a coordinated series of art gallery project(s), meetings and efforts including an industry a seminar with George Lucas’ Mark A.Z. Dippé / Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) managed by the artist’s established representatives at Artspace Company Y, LLC in the USA and Uptight Co. LTD in Japan. His arts which are often appealing and shockingly aesthetic went into public collections of major museums, private collections and academia worldwide. A most enduring influential 2006 to 2008 meeting(s) came when Artspace Company Y first met Naomi Wilzig of the famous WEAM Museum in Miami area of South Beach, FL. This establishing arts in the permanent / public viewing collection of WEAM in the area of Art Basel Miami Beach ( artbasel.com ) yearly events. Circa 2011, Sorayama and his same longtime recognized expert agent in the USA was called upon again by Lucasfilm LTD. This for the artist to create a series of sci-fi futuristic fantasy characters. The character arts went into the private collections of George Lucas who placed it in his comprehensive “Star Wars Concept” book published by Lucasfilm LTD in 2013, a time period when Mr. Lucas sold his company Lucasfilm LTD to Disney.

Sorayama started his illustration career in Tokyo painting Sexy Robotic forms, objects, and pin-ups. Intrigued by the effects of light on various metallic surfaces, and always ready for challenges to his technique and imagination, Sorayama began producing a series of female robotic and bio-robotic figures in the late 1970s; anatomically correct in form, but appearing to have been fashioned of molten silver. The term “Sexy Robot” was coined to describe his unique and exceptional works.

Sorayama’s art appeared in major magazines since the late 1970s, and in the 90s, Playboy TV Sextera and Penthouse Magazine featured his arts. Major art books were published from the 1980s including, but not limited to the hardcovers “MasterWorks,” “Vibrant Vixens,” “XL Masterworks ” released in 2010, 2013, 2014 and in 2015 or 2016 a soft cover “Sexy Robot Gigantes”; “ XL Masterworks” is the most comprehensive high quality reviewed one at the time of this writing.

Sorayama’s art book ‘Sexy Robot’ which was published by Genko-sha in 1983 made his organic-robotic forms known throughout the world. In this work, he used ideas from pin-up art, which in the book then appear mostly as chrome-plated gynoids and feminine organic robots in suggestive poses as well as other humorous playful nature paintings of robotic plant and animal forms. He replicated many ideas in his next book, ‘Pin-up.’ His other later works similarly revolve around figures in suggestive poses now being set into imaginative, edgy retro-styled, futuristic or fantasy settings, including highly realistic depictions in latex and leather that span a time period from about 1989 into the 21st century. From the beginning to the time of this writing the arts that may be equally important are those that are fantasy / biography - historical in nature that are maybe best described as a Sorayama imaginative form of Impressionism depicting real / fantasy characters of the past rather than future.

His pin-up and Shunga work appeared monthly for years in the pages of ‘Penthouse’ magazine, and ‘Playboy TV’ later aired a made television special on Sorayama’s art. In 1985, Sorayama published the video illustration of his first work apart from the book illustrations but there was no copy available to review here for this research. He did character concept arts for the films ‘Brain Dead’ (1992), ‘Timecop’ (1994), and ‘Space Trucker’ (1995), ‘Spawn’ (1997) and a yet unrealized re-make modern version of the classic movie “Barbarella” contemplated by Dino / Martha De Laurentiis and director Robert “Roberto” Rodriquez. The design of trading cards, limited-edition prints, CD-ROMs, and the cover art for Aerosmith’s 2001 album ‘Just Push Play’; art exhibitions; and the initial design for what would eventually become Sony’s dog-like robotic “pet,” the AIBO.

In the 2000s, Sorayama’s first-generation AIBO design, the robotics of which were developed by Sony’s Toshitada Doi received the Grand Prize of Best Design Award, the highest design award conferred by Japan. AIBO has since been included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Smithsonian Institution. MOMA published a book, ‘Objects of Design’ by Paola Antonelli, which included AIBO along with other noteworthy designs where form and function combine in harmony. AIBO was the first “artificially intelligent” mass-market consumer robot for entertainment applications. It has been the subject of special studies at Carnegie Mellon University and other academic institutions. Also in this decade, Sorayama produced or contributed to nine more books, and the Nike “White Dunk Project” included Sorayama’s art among the 25 most inspiring Japanese artists.

The artist released another retrospective, MasterWorks, in early 2010, and a new book, ‘Vibrant Vixens,’ in May 2013 and updated version “XL Masterworks” in 2014 with the “XL-Masterworks” books being his most comprehensive hardcover book at that time of this writing. He worked with filmmakers in Hollywood on fantasy and science fiction projects, (as well as preliminary discussions of a potential film about the life and work of owner/publisher of Penthouse.) During 2012 and 2013, Sorayama worked on book project(s) with American fashion designer Marc Ecko. In 2013 and 2014, Sorayama was engaged by Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas to create a spread of Twi'lek and droid fantasy Star Wars sci-fi fantasy characters for a tribute art book entitled ‘Star Wars Art Concept,’ near the time Lucas’s company LucasFilm was sold to Disney.

Working on creations with the world’s most notable companies continued into 2015 to 2016. Sorayama’s work included in Marvel Comic’s Ironman 3 movie related product/art lineup; one of the world’s largest skateboard manufacturers Darkstar’s skate decks appointed with Sorayama organic robotics. And recently, a Sorayama immersed clothing line of Samsung’s new Fashion division under designer Juun J. led by Ms. Lee Seo-hyun, the Parsons-educated second daughter of Samsung’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee. The vast majority of these projects as well as largest private collectors were introduced from about the early 1990s into 2016 being coordinated by Sorayama’s longest standing representatives at Artspace Company Y, LLC and Uptight Co. LTD., operating in the USA and Japan.

© 2016 sorayama.net / Artspace Company Y, LLC. / Hajime Sorayama / ® Mark Paniccia (Tsunami Girl)

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