IO Artist Interviews: Yoshi Sodeoka

Yoshi Sodeoka has been a pioneering figure in visual art since the 1990s, exploring the realm of visual arts through various media such as GIFs and print materials. His neo-psychedelic style, utilizing advanced techniques like digital video feedback and video sampling, consistently carves out new horizons in the visual arts.His work extends across multiple domains, collaborating with renowned international musicians such as Metallica, Tame Impala, Oneohtrix Point Never, Max Cooper, and engaging in video collaborations and advertising projects with Apple and Samsung, along with contributing illustrations to the New York Times.

Calm & Punk Gallery, November 2023
Yoshi Sodeoka, 1.618?, Photos by Naoki Takehisa, Instagram @takehisanaoki


Calm & Punk Gallery

IO: Earlier this year we released a full physical Yoshi Sodeoka collection following an amazing show in Tokyo. I’d love to learn a bit more about the show which took place in November 2023 at Calm + Punk Gallery. We loved seeing the Infinite Objects living in the space. How did the Infinite Objects pieces interact with the rest of the physical pieces in the space? Can you share how the show came to be and any thoughts or reflections you have on this collaboration?

YS: I’ve been friends with Mr. Nishino, the owner of Calm & Punk Gallery, for quite some time now. The gallery itself boasts a rich history, and Mr. Nishino is well-regarded for his various ventures in the Japanese art and design world. Having a show at Calm & Punk Gallery had always been a dream of mine.

Sometime in 2022, we began discussing the possibility of showcasing my video work. When planning a video art exhibition, choosing the right equipment to best represent the work is crucial. That’s when the idea of using Infinite Objects struck me. What I love about it is that it’s not just a typical video display device; each machine exclusively showcases one video. This uniqueness felt perfect for an art gallery setting. When I proposed the idea to the gallery, they were completely on board.

Calm & Punk Gallery did an exceptional job with the exhibition design, complementing the Infinite Objects with projectors and a few televisions. I was thrilled with how the show turned out.

Digital Genesis

IO: Your work is renowned for its vibrancy and complexity across mediums. Could you share with us how you initially approach a new piece? What sort of tools are you using to get started?

YS: For the past couple of decades, After Effects has been my go-to tool. I rely on various plugins like Trapcode Suite, Element 3D, and Plexus to enhance my work. Additionally, I make extensive use of Expressions within After Effects to add dynamism and efficiency by minimizing keyframes.

When it comes to my approach, I’m not a big fan of strict planning. I prefer to dive in and see where my creativity takes me. I start by sketching out ideas in After Effects, experimenting with different techniques until I find something that resonates with me.

Yoshi Sodeoka, Flood Pt 1

 Yoshi Sodeoka, Flood Pt 1, Photos by Naoki Takehisa, Instagram @takehisanaoki



IO: We often talk with artists about how they merge the digital and physical mediums. Your work seamlessly blends the two worlds. How do you see your digital creations in relation to traditional physical art forms? What is that balance like for you?

YS: I started painting when I was young and grew up making all sorts of stuff. Over time, I’ve developed this all-around style to my art. Whether I’m doodling on a computer or getting my hands dirty with physical pieces, I like to keep things flowing smoothly between the two. I don’t like to box myself into strict categories.

Unboxing 1.618? at Calm & Punk Gallery

Evolution of Digital Art

IO: How have you seen the perception and appreciation of digital art evolve over the years? In your opinion, how does the digital nature of your art contribute to or enhance these connections with the audience?

YS: The way people see and enjoy digital art has really changed, especially with social media coming into play. Back in ’99 when I started messing around with video art, getting it out there online was tough with slow internet and no YouTube or Instagram. But I kept at it, even got some experimental DVDs out through publishers.

Nowadays, it’s a whole different ball game thanks to social media. Artists like me can reach people all over the world in a snap. But I’ve learned not to stress too much about what everyone thinks. I just focus on being real and sharing my stuff in a way that lets folks connect with it however they want. And because it’s digital, it’s like breaking down walls — anyone, anywhere can join the conversation and make it their own.


IO: How do you see your work evolving with advancing technology? Are there specific innovations or tools you’re excited to explore in future projects?

YS: With all the new tech coming out, it’s important to keep an open mind and roll with the changes. I like the idea of blending AI tools with my usual methods — it’s like adding a whole new layer to my creative process. But, we have to be careful not to let the tech take over. It’s about finding the right balance where innovation complements our creativity without overshadowing it.

Infinite Objects Collection

IO: There are so many unique elements to each piece in this collection, all part of a larger narrative. Driven by themes like the golden ratio and bird flock behavior, could you share a bit about what drives your creative process for these works, and is there a particular piece in this collection that holds special significance to you?

YS: The Infinite Objects Collection really stems from my fascination with the beauty of flock behavior — how creatures move together in harmony. I’ve been diving into new software to bring that concept to life in 3D, which has been a pretty fascinating journey.

Now, my simulations aren’t meant to be scientifically accurate, but they’re all about sparking imagination and opening up new possibilities. Each piece is crafted to invite reflection and personal interpretation.

Speaking of pieces, ‘1.618?’ holds a special place for me. It’s where everything kicked off. Collaborating with Infinite Objects allowed me to realize my vision, blending math and art into something truly unique.

Audience Engagement

IO: Finally, how do you hope your audience will engage with and experience your art in this format? What do you think sets this experience apart from viewing digital art in more traditional settings?

YS: So, when it comes to my piece for Infinite Objects, it was not designed to be a decor. It’s meant to make you pause and think. It’s not about blending in quietly.

Thinking back to my days as a music fan in the 90s, collecting those rare vinyl records and custom CD sets was something special. I hope my Infinite Objects pieces capture that same feeling for folks.

Experiencing my art in this format offers a unique perspective. It’s about digging deeper, really connecting with it on a personal level.

Thank you for your time and insights, Yoshi! Check out the full collection available here: Yoshi Sodeoka and more about the Calm & Punk Exhibition here

Calm & Punk Gallery, November 2023

Calm & Punk Gallery, November 2023, Photos by Naoki Takehisa, Instagram @takehisanaoki