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CCS First Thursdays

Born in Japan, schooled in San Francisco, currently living and working in Zushi Japan on commercial collaborations with your favorite brands and exhibiting work internationally on gallery walls, Yusuke Hanai is high on our list of favorites.
Have a look.

CCS: Can you tell us a little about Zushi Japan?

Yusuke: If you have visited Japan, you may know the place called Kamakura.  Where the big Buddha is, it has many Temples and Shrines. And has been there since 1192.  It is a place and was the time when Japan was first ruled by samurai. Kamakura is also the place where Japanese surfing started. Zushi is the small fisherman’s town next to Kamakura. It’s a small beach town and is surrounded by mountains. You can get to Tokyo in just an hour by train.

 Yusuke Hanai for CCSStudio photos by Shu Kojima.

Are you a cat or dog guy?

Both. I had a chihuahua named Mancha, she passed in 2018 when she was 16. Last year we adopted two sister cats called Okayu and Chikuwa.

Yusuke Hanai griptapeCustoms X Yusuke Hanai cat griptape

I know you did university in San Francisco, do you miss the city?

Yes. I love the city, I liked the arty atmosphere of San Francisco. It seems like just rich people live there now.

Favorite destination (anywhere in the world) to visit?

I would like to visit California to see my friends. Especially since these last two years, we haven’t been able to travel, it makes me really miss travel.

I know you’ve done a fair bit of commercial collaboration with some high-profile groups, do you enjoy working with Disney, Vans, Beams, Coleman, etc.?

Yes. I am always stoked to work with the company which I’ve been wearing since I was a teenager. Feel so lucky to work with them. I usually work (painting) just by myself, so sometimes working with others is fun.

Yusuke Hanai art studio

I love the drawings you made of Hi-dutch (Takahiro Hida), Tim, etc for your drop with CCS. Do you have any funny, quick Hi-dutch stories?

We were driving on the 405 in California once, Hi-dutch was the driver. We were about to miss our exit, so I told him, "we’re going to miss the exit!" He changed lanes without checking and he almost hit a car.

The car was a highway patrolman. Suddenly red and blue lights are on and the police pulled our car over to a dark place near the exit. The policeman got Hi-dutch out of the car. While the policeman did a body check, Hi-dutch's hands are on the car. The policeman shines his light in Hi-dutch's face. Hi-dutch had red eyes from surfing.

The policeman was asking him, "Are you on drugs? Have you been drinking alcohol?" Hi-dutch can’t speak English and he just kept saying sorry. His face was so sweaty. The policeman asked him to, "follow the light with your eyes”. Hi-dutch said sorry and followed the light with his whole face. The policeman asked him, "Follow this light with just your eyes” but Hi-dutch followed the light with his whole face again. The policeman said, “just your eyes,” but Hi-dutch followed the light with his whole face again. I think they had this conversation more than 5 times. The Policeman finally yelled at him, “just your eyes!!!!” Hi-dutch said “Sorry!!!!” and followed with his whole face again.

Eventually, the policeman gave up and realize Hi-dutch was just a Japanese tourist with no English skills. Hi-dutch didn’t get a ticket and the policeman told him “drive safe” and Hi-dutch responded “sorry”. Hahaha.

Yusuke Hanai hoodieCustoms X Yusuke Hanai Hoodie

Your current exhibition in China is next level, how long did you work on that collection of work?

At first, we were planning a solo show in Hong Kong for the summer of 2020. But it was postponed because of the pandemic. I had the show in Hong Kong in the summer of 2021. It was a big solo show. Then the Museum in Shanghai asked us to have a show there too.

This is a traveling show, but the museum is much bigger than the gallery in Hong Kong. I had plenty of time for the show in Hong Kong but for Shanghai, I painted ten new works on canvas in five months, it was crazy!

Coffee or beer, which do you prefer?

I like both. But I can’t drink coffee at night. I only drink coffee up through lunch. I can’t drink coffee at night.

Customs X Yusuke HanaiStudio views

Last time you paddled out and where?

This morning at my local reef break.

Last time you rolled on your skateboard and where?

This morning to check the waves, from my studio to the wharf where I usually look.

Yusuke Hanai japanese artist

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and for being part of the Customs X First Thursdays project. Have any parting comments, thoughts, requests, shout outs?

Thank you!

Now it's your turn to team up with Yusuke on a customized t-shirt, hoodie, skateboard deck, and griptape from Customs X by CCS. You can mix, match, and manipulate all of Yusuke's characters to make the perfect squad. You even have full access to a custom font from Yusuke to make sure your message is loud and clear.

Make sure to keep up on the latest from Yusuke on his Instagram page, and while you're there, give CCS a follow if you haven't already.

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