Intellectual property of aki-T, original artworks used for non-commercial purposes by HEL MORT®.
Have you played Metroid before? Have you ever read the manga Ghost in the Shell? Have you seen the film Akira?
No? Maybe you should, or maybe it’s better to say you have to! Many people today believe that art is something that is hidden away in an Italian museum or somewhere else in a European capital, whereas many others believe that art is something that is exposed in strange galleries where people show blank canvases with the mysterious meanings of the artist hidden behind much stranger ideas. But take a moment to reflect in this manner, and then look at what your children are doing right now, and where they are focusing the majority of their attention. Toys, video games, and smartphones. Now, take a closer look at everything and ask yourself: Isn’t this animation that my child is watching done by artists? Isn’t his favourite video game created by artists? Isn’t his toy the work of an artist? Everything your child does, appreciates, and loves is PURE ART. Art created by outstanding artists who labour tirelessly to achieve something spectacular, innovative, intriguing, and full of fantasy and colour. Art is not just something hidden in an Italian museum or strange gallery, but something more. When we say “more,” we must recognize that all of the things that entertain our children right now are also true art. I understand that this may scare the art market, which often insists that only certain styles and forms of human creativity can be considered true art. As an art brand and gallery, HEL MORT® may feel obligated to follow this rule, but we don’t like to conform and we believe that art can take many forms that are not always recognized or valued by others. So differently than others here at HEL MORT® we regard anime art, comics, cartoons, mangas, and videogames to be on the same level as a Picasso artwork or a Jeff Koons artwork sold for US$91 million. We believe that manga like Ghost in the Shell is a masterpiece that should be displayed in a museum, and that the first edition of Metroid for NES is so important that it should be protected under a glass case and exhibited in the National Gallery of London. We also think that the movie Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo should be shown in art schools and recognized as one of the most diverse, incredible, and important pieces of art of our era. Because the combination of music, animation, and drawings in Akira demonstrates the true power of authentic art. After this lengthy introduction, you can now understand why we have chosen aki-T (Darrien Kobayashi Gibson) as the perfect example of the artist that we like to support with our efforts at HEL MORT®. aki-T is not just an artist, but a testament to the depth of anime, manga, animated movies, and video games in our millennial generation. A generation that has never experienced great wars or significant events like those of the Victorian era or World Wars, but that has created works of art so complex that they have made us think differently than other generations. For us, video games are not just a hobby, but often a snapshot of a specific moment in our lives when we were happy or sad, a kind of time stop that brings back memories and emotions. If you don’t understand this feeling, you can’t understand why aki-T chose to create illustrations about Sailor Moon, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Metroid, Akira, Trigun, etc. These things are important to us, more important than a diamond, because they represent what the pyramids were to the Egyptians or the Colosseum to the ancient Romans: a monument to our generation, our civilization, and our era, something that represents us and our ideas and personality. So, don’t underestimate the amazing art of aki-T for even a second, because his art has much more to say than a stupid plastic dog by Jeff Koons that was sold for millions! To truly appreciate aki-T’s art, you must also understand two other key concepts: cyberpunk and Synthwave. What are these two things? Cyberpunk is a specific sci-fi genre created by William Gibson with his masterpiece book, “Neuromancer,” and the visually impressive and atmospheric movie “Blade Runner.” These artistic works introduced the concept of “low life, high technology,” a different vision of the future where human technological evolution is very different from other sci-fi genres. It’s like the cyberpunk genre is saying to us: stop thinking about the clean spaceships of Star Trek or the shiny worlds of Star Wars, and consider a possible future where people have incredible technologies like lasers, robots, and space travel, but also live in a desperate lifestyle characterized by poverty and inequalities, where rich companies control almost everything. This is another important aspect to consider when discussing aki-T, because, like his artworks, we at HEL MORT® and so many other people of this generation are protesting against something that is happening right now in 2022. We know that we don’t have the flying machines of Blade Runner or other technology shown in the cyberpunk genre, but in some ways, we feel like we are living in a distorted cyberpunk reality where rich companies like Facebook and Amazon control everything, where people like Elon Musk are trying to manipulate people’s minds and use robots to control everything and everyone. We feel inequalities, but also the power of new technologies. We know that the internet has great potential, but it is also used to sell drugs and exploit children on its dark side. We know that we have the most incredible technology in the history of humankind, but we also know that something is wrong, incredibly wrong, like in a cyberpunk book. And aki-T’s illustrated monsters, robots, and tentacles are saying this to you. His colors and forms are a vivid protest against what is happening right now in a world that will be consumed by robots and AIs in the next decade. We don’t really know how our lives will be, and we are all scared but also excited by the possibilities of this crazy future. Synthwave, on the other hand, is an underground musical culture (also known as outrun, retrowave, or futuresynth) that is an electronic music microgenre primarily based on music from 1980s action, science fiction, and horror film soundtracks. Other influences include art and video games from the decade. This genre, which largely exists only thanks to YouTube, is influencing the modern view of millennials because it exposes them to something they never lived but tasted in the beginning of the 90s when they were very young, perhaps through a TV replica of a famous TV series or a movie watched alone in an empty room during Christmas. It’s hard to describe because describing just the visuals or the music of this movement is not enough because it’s more something connected with personal feelings, the same feelings that the millennial generation always feels when watching John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and hearing the music starting in the movie. And aki-T is including these feelings, these vibes, in his art by using particular colors, shadows, forms, and images that transport us to these vibes and make us feel like we are living in this never-lived era, something like a strange childhood dream that we never lived but just imagined. So, when you see aki-T’s art for the first time, don’t just focus on the visual impact, but consider his artworks as the voice of a generation trying to say something, trying to expose political and social problems, and presenting the views and memories of a generation. The colors in their minds and their presence in a society that wants to get rid of them because, as previously mentioned, they are not considered as important as other generations, like the people in the 60s who made great revolutions or the people of the 40s who sacrificed themselves for freedom against Nazism. I know that millennials are not experiencing all of this, but they are living through things that have never been seen or considered possible before, and it is all of this that makes this generation special. They are the first of something, the first to have a wealthy society that is making them poor inside and outside, a society that does not consider their existence important when they speak. They are still considered kids by other generations, but whether they want it or not, they are writing history in a way that only future generations can judge, and we think that future generations will one day take A-Kit’s art as a great example of what happened long ago in 2022 when computers started to think and the first robot changed everything.
If you want a taste of millennial underground culture, if you want a taste of anime culture, if you want to be enveloped in synthwave colors and vibes and find yourself trapped in a fantastic cyberpunk nightmare, you must follow aki-T (Darrien Kobayashi Gibson) and be amazed by his magnificent and unique art that we absolutely love here at HEL MORT®. You should do the same!