Every now and again, opportunities are presented to us by chance and possibilities are created from mistakes. Irrelevant images like broken chairs, unused cups and expired paint are what fuel Tokyo-born artist Jiro Endo’s imagination. Inspirations are drawn from everything and everywhere. Similarly, to even begin to think of an appropriate job title for him is like trying to describe contents of a melting pot.
“These days, you can easily get stuck physically and emotionally if you choose to be just one thing,” Endo explains, “Old occupations die out and new ones are introduced as we evolve - many occupations merge and crossover. You should always choose what you really like and believe in; then create an occupation for yourself.”
Like many artists whose creative visions know no boundaries, Endo found his hometown to be too restricted. After a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at Musashino Art University (Tokyo, Japan), Endo relocated to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to continue his studies at The Berlage Institute. Soon after his career paths began. Having explored several cities worldwide, Endo responded to the spontaneous and fun-loving nature of the Thai people and decided to settle down.
From stage and lighting design for Thai artists (Modern Dog, Joeyboy, Pru) and international (Cornelius, Black Lips, Adam Green) to fashion shows (mercibeaucoup, Greyhound, Sretsis) to festival scenography (Summer Sonic, Big Mountain, Fat) - it is evident that a large body of his work revolves around music - a personal passion that led Endo to establish ’Soi-music’ in 2003; an organisation that brings over emerging Thai acts to Japan and vice versa.
As diverse as the collection of works may be, Endo’s “organised chaos” signature remains throughout. Behind what looks like a jumble of imperfect alignment there lies a thought system that has been painstakingly calculated. It is this logic within the seemingly random facade that further reveals elements of surprise once discovered by spectators. His discreet sense of humour, too, plays a big role and adds colour to the work, even when it appears in only black and white.
In 2009, Endo started an academic career as a Temporary Lecturer and Advisor at School of Architecture + Design, KMUTT (Bangkok). “I started it as a way to give back to the country,” he muses when asked about the original motive, “Eventually I found that it is the students that are teaching me and I get to learn a lot from them. It is rewarding to invest time and put aside a few days each week.”
A new day is not merely a continuation from the last. For Jiro Endo, it is about the present and much more about the future. Everyday is a territory of the unknown; it is as dreadful as it is thrillingly hopeful. Playing safe is never on the cards, it’s the risky flaws that give him the sharpest tool to execute meaningfully.