Kentaro Yanagi was born in Tokyo in 1969. His father passed away due to illness when Mr. Yanagi was just five months old, and afterward his family moved frequently. Due to his having few friends in his youth, he often played alone. At that young age, he would go to the next town by bicycle once a month to buy plastic models at a toy store. Yanagi became fascinated by the assembly of such models, to the extent that he would forget to eat meals. He could complete the model assemblies quite quickly – whereupon, he would purposely break the models apart and repeatedly re-assemble them into totally different forms.
In 1990, Yanagi was greatly impacted when he saw an art nouveau lamp exhibition, and decided that he would make glasswork his lifetime occupation. Just as a child might draw a picture exactly as they wished in a sketchbook, he felt that he wanted to be able to manipulate glass precisely as he wished. He desired to learn the techniques for creating the things he imagined. Since then, in order to garner experience in the glass-working field, Yanagi has changed jobs as a craftsman several times.
In 2005, he opened a private studio, and began working as an artist. The original style which he ultimately developed is, in a way, like plastic models without blueprints – as if his childhood play has been transformed directly into glass. Hidden in the sophistication of the works are a craftsman’s techniques which no one can duplicate.
One characteristic of his creations is “moveable glass”. People often chuckle despite themselves when they see the pieces which have the unwritten message, “Dedicated to all the men out there who never grew up”. Underlying the artist’s works are messages of sociality, love, etc., though children can also fully enjoy them. The pieces have a mysterious ability to be able to pull one in, and bring happiness to one’s heart. We might even say they are full of smiles and laughter… (^ -)