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Subsign Spotlight #117: Hidenobu Suzuki.

With a work that straddles the border between photography and painting, Hidenobu captivated us with a surreal, almost magical image of Japan and a visual story ripped from books.

Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your childhood experiences have influenced your present creative endeavors?

Hidenobu: When I was around three years old, my parents divorced, and I had a less than ideal childhood due to the family environment. I wasn’t the type to actively make friends, so I preferred spending time alone drawing pictures and reading books.

I loved drawing, and when I was around six years old, I won a gold medal in a local art competition. I think I was more sensitive compared to other kids my age. It was a childhood filled with drawing manga and anime, dreaming big.

This is a photograph featuring my late sister. I believe I often felt a sense of loneliness because my adoptive parents and my sister, who was two years older, both took their own lives. I was very prone to loneliness and hungered for affection, yet I struggled to interact with many people. It might sound contradictory, but I feel like I don’t truly understand myself. I went through a very emotionally unstable adolescence, influenced by the environment I grew up in. I believe my works are expressed with complex and delicate emotions, as the intricate feelings deep within my heart are lurking within my sense of aesthetics.

I continue to create in order to understand myself and to discover the underlying sense of aesthetics that resides within me.

Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?

Hidenobu: I loved drawing, I dreamed of becoming a manga artist, and because I tended to escape from reality, I also dreamed of becoming a pilot who could travel far away. Currently, I am continuing my creative activities while working as a hairdresser.

Subsign: What does your workstation look like?

Hidenobu: I am fortunate to have a home in a naturally rich environment. Being able to engage in creative activities while being soothed by the beautiful landscapes of the area is truly wonderful. Watching the ever-changing scenery of nature and feeling the seasons allows me to create with a rich heart, and I believe it has become an essential source of inspiration for me.

Many of my tasks are performed in this place. I relax and work while listening to the sounds of nature with the window open. Surrounded by the sounds of insects, birds, and the rustling of trees in the wind, I spend happy moments with my family while creating.

Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?

Hidenobu: I create with a deep focus on the idea that “emotions leave a lasting memory.” I seek the origin of beauty that resides deep within my emotions. Unlike techniques that depict paintings realistically, I consciously work in a space between photography and painting, where editing plays a crucial role.

I also pay close attention to the type of paper used for printing, and I would be delighted if you could get to know my printed works. The choice of printing paper can lead to various variations in the image of the artwork. I believe it’s essential not only to appreciate artwork on a monitor but also to experience it visually through printed pieces.

Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?

Hidenobu: My foundation is rooted in Japanese painting (Nihonga), but I approach my creative process with an awareness of both Western art and the works of many photographers. I don’t have a fixed process; I create flexibly, allowing my emotions to guide the creative process.

Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?

Hidenobu: I hold each of my works dear because I’ve created them with care, so I love all of them. However, the ones that have left a deep impression on me are the ones that received awards from prestigious organizations like National Geographic and the French Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts. Since receiving influential awards, my works have gained recognition and been showcased in many countries, and I feel incredibly proud and happy about it.

Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?

Hidenobu: I don’t consciously follow specific artists. The internet allows me to discover many outstanding works beyond well-known artists. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are especially convenient for this. Among the works of relatively unknown individuals, there is a wealth of incredible talent that truly stirs the senses. I find myself deeply influenced by the creations shared by many people.

It’s enjoyable because new ideas and sensibilities continually overflow. Everyone possesses remarkable individuality and talent.

Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?

Hidenobu: It’s about gaining a wide range of knowledge and experiences flexibly. In creative work, it’s important to be open to unexpected things that may provide hints leading to new ideas and creations. Surprisingly, great ideas can sometimes emerge from seemingly unrelated sources such as unconventional jobs, lifestyles, cultures and people.

Expanding your imagination from topics you may not initially be interested in can lead to innovative expressions, so I believe having the flexibility to embrace all aspects is essential. This extends to being receptive across countries and cultures. Acquiring knowledge is crucial because it forms the foundation for how you perceive and think, ultimately giving birth to new ideas.

Subsign: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Hidenobu: I want to become someone who can transcend time and space. If I could see different eras in various places, I believe it would be an incredibly stimulating and enjoyable experience. Being able to actually experience the lives of many people, their cultures, and the changes in different times would provide a different set of emotions compared to the knowledge gained from movies or books.

Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie, for our readers?

Hidenobu: When it comes to books and movies, I also recommend Japanese anime and manga. The unrealistic and creative world stimulates viewers and provides an opportunity to expand their creativity. I think the influence of manga and anime I’ve watched since I was a child has had a slight influence on my creative process. As for music recommendations, it should be whatever music stimulates your sensibilities according to the scene at hand. Whether you need relaxation, motivation, energy, or simply a boost in mood, your preferred music that suits those emotions at the moment will become the ideal choice. These preferences may change depending on the situation.

Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what special occasion would you choose?

Hidenobu: I don’t have the confidence to organize elaborate parties that create a whole ambiance and entertain a large number of people, but I will definitely host intimate home parties with close friends and acquaintances. These gatherings will be for celebrating birthdays of friends and family, as well as marking special occasions for loved ones and friends.

Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?

Hidenobu: I can’t imagine inviting celebrities, and I don’t have the image of treating anyone as special. I’m content with maintaining relationships that are directly connected to my own life, such as friends, acquaintances, and associates who are within my reach.

Thank you, Hidenobu, for being a part of our Spotlight!

If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at

For more of  Hidenobu‘s work, you can follow him work on the links: Hidenobu on Instagram.


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki