Welcome to OSON’S NATIONAL PARKand wander journal #68

この夏、OUTDOOR GALLERYにはアーティスト、JUN OSONさんによる架空の自然公園「JUN OSON NATIONAL PARK」が出現します。そこにあるのは、ピラミッド状の岩「ピラミダル・ロック」。太古の昔から象徴として在り、悩める人々はこの大岩を歩いて目指すと言われているそうです。トレイルに出かけたのは、OSONさんの作品でお馴染みのキャラクターたち。犬、ガイコツ、地球外生命体という3人組は、どんな旅路を繰り広げるのでしょうか? 彼らと一緒に未知のトレッキングをお楽しみください。

11:00 – 20:00 ※最終日は18時まで 
東京都千代田区丸の内3-3-1 新東京ビル1F and wander MARUNOUCHI
tel. 03-6810-0078

Jun Oson’s exhibition “Oson National Park”, is donning the walls at Outdoor Galleries new home in Marunouchi. The Osan National Park is home to the “Pyramidal Rock”, a giant symbolic rock that has existed since time immemorial. Troubled people flock to “Pyramidal Rock” to find tranquality and peace. Three well-known characters from Oson’s artwork: a dog, a skeleton and an extraterrestrial, set out together on an outdoor journey through Osan’s National Park.

Wednesday, 9 August ~ Monday 28 August
11:00 ~ 20:00 (closes at 18:00 on the last day)
Shin-Tokyo Building 1F, and wander MARUNOUCHI
3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
tel. 03-6810-0078


30代で登山を始めたというアーティストのJUN OSONさん。その都会的な作風から、OSONさんと山との関わりを知らない人も多いかもしれませんが、山を歩くこと、自然に触れることは、直接的ではなくとも制作に確かな影響を与えていると言います。今展のコンセプトである JUN OSON NATIONAL PARK(JONP)が生まれたきっかけや、制作において大切にしていることを聞きました。


Artist Jun Oson started climbing mountains when he was in his 30s. Although the urban style of Oson’s artwork means that many people might not associate him with mountains, hiking and time spent in nature, yet all of these nature influences have a great impact on his artwork.. In this interview, we talk to Jun Oson about his current exhibition “Oson National Park” and about what is important to his creative process.


New artworks created specifically for this exhibition. The three characters enjoying their time in the fictional national park are a Dog, a Skeleton and an Extraterrestrial – all well-known characters from Oson’s artwork.



and wanderチームにお声掛けいただいた時に「ナショナルパーク」というお題をいただきました。僕が登山を好きなことを知ってくれていたからこそ出てきたテーマで、普段から展示のテーマを決めることが苦手なので(笑)、喜んで「ナショナルパーク」というテーマで制作を始めました。






Experiences on the John Muir Trail

――The theme of the exhibition is a fictional national park, is that right? Could you tell us how this concept came about?

When Papersky’s Lucas B.B. and And Wander’s Mihoko Mori approached me about concepts for an exhibition at Outdoor Gallery – Lucas suggested the idea that I create a fictitious National Park. They both of course know that I’m into hiking, and as I often find it quite hard to come up with themes for my exhibitions, I was wonderfully surprised and excited to pursue this great idea to create a National Park stemming from my imagination.

――What first came to mind when you heard the words “National Park”?

The first thing that came to mind was the John Muir Trail, which I visited about ten years ago. It’s a long-distance trail that stretches for 340 kilometers from the Yosemite National Park to the 4418-meter-high Mount Whitney. I spent four days walking along a section of it with my friends.

The trail takes you across magnificent landscapes. We’d stop along the way to collect water from rivers, or take a break by pristine lakes we came upon during out travels . For me it was the perfect way to spend time in nature.

――I imagine that National Parks in America are on a different scale.

Yes. The experience can be very different to hiking in Japan. When we talk about mountain climbing in Japan you’d often think of something quite grueling with lots of climbing. You might imagine getting kitted out with a lot of gear and carrying a big rucksack as you trudge towards the summit of a mountain. But long-distance trails in other countries are often more about “walking” than “climbing”. The section of the John Muir trail that I walked wasn’t forested, and it was basically just walking along mainly flat but immense and expansive landscape. You just keep walking. That was exactly the sort of experience I was looking for. I don’t need my interactions with nature to be grueling. So, my experience of walking that trail left a big impression on me.

キャラクターたちの背後にそびえるのが、架空の自然公園 JUN OSON NATIONAL PARKにある「ピラミダル・ロック」。展示のコンセプトを象徴する作品がショーウィンドウで出迎えてくれる。

Towering behind the characters is the “Pyramidal Rock “ at Oson National Park.










――So that experience was an important point of inspiration for this exhibition?

Yes. But it was purely the inspiration - the drawings do not depict my actual experience there.

――The “Pyramidal Rock” appears as a symbolic motif so I thought there must have been a similar looking rock on the John Muir Trail?

There’s a giant rock called “Half Dome” in Yosemite National Park which is part of the trail, but it’s not pyramid shaped.

Characters that I draw a lot - the Dog, Skeleton and Extraterrestrial are all featured in this series. From the moment they appear we’re no longer in the realm of reality, so I thought it would be interesting to have a strange and symbolic presence in the Oson National Park.

During my creative process, I normally work backwards from the visual output that I want to achieve, and this defines the world view that I present. I don’t base my creations on a story.

――That’s interesting. Because both the title “Oson National Park” and the anecdote about “the rock sought out by people who are lost” are so unique, I had assumed that you started with a story in mind.

I think I’m just not interested in communicating a story or my feelings about something.
I’m always working backwards. I’m thinking about what composition or colors would elicit an emotional response from the viewers. What scene should I draw to incorporate that composition or those colors? What characters or motifs are needed for that scene? That’s the sort of thought process I go through. I spend the most time thinking about what to add or take away from the final image that I have in mind.

JONPとand wanderのコラボTシャツは半袖と長袖の2タイプ。キャラクターとピラミダルロックのイラストをバックプリントに。胸元にもJONPのロゴが入る。半袖Tシャツ¥8,800、長袖Tシャツ¥11,000。

Jun Oson & Outdoor Gallery ollaboration T-shirts come in two styles – short sleeve and long sleeve. The back print features the characters with the pyramidal rock and there’s a JONP (Jun Oson National Park) logo on the front. Short sleeve T: ¥8,800, Long sleeve T: ¥11,000


The Original Sierra cup, featuring the JONP logo on the bottom, comes in two colors, khaki and black. ¥3,850 each.






A picture that has an indescribable “something” about it.

――So, your focus is more on the superficial elements of the picture, such as the composition or color scheme.

Yeah. I don’t assign any deep meaning or anything.

Take the image of the three characters walking together for example. It would be possible to create a variety of different scenes with that image depending on the order in which they are walking or from what point of view the picture is drawn. In order to decide what the scene will look like, I’ll make lots of sketches, but when I’m doing so I’m not just thinking about creating a powerful or novel composition, it’s also important for me to think about how to create a sensation that something’s not quite right or out of place.

When I say “out of place” it might sound a bit over the top, but what I mean is just something that doesn’t quite fit, something to trigger a feeling. I’m trying to create an image that, no matter who is looking at it, is just an image of three people, yet at the same time has something indescribable about it.


Oson’s sketches. Multiple sketches are created in the search for the perfect composition or scene.


Come down to the exhibition and view Oson’s original artwork and experience that “indescribable something” that Oson strives to create. A world view that is at once flat while also strangely deep awaits you in his artwork.








――That “something” enables the viewer to use their imagination.

That’s what I hope. My paintings are representational, so if I as the artist also come up with the story, my images would become very rigid. The reason I don’t paint “stories” is because I want to leave space for the viewer to interpret what they see freely.

――In that sense, the setting of “walking in a National Park” is actually much more story-like than your other work.

Yes, you’re right. It’s also the first time in a while for me to be painting a specific background. Making sure the pictures weren’t becoming “explanatory” despite having the background was one of the new challenges of this project.

During the creative process I actually considered not painting any background. I thought scenes such as “walking in the mountains” or “resting in the forest” could be created without a background. But as I went through the process of drawing and editing, I eventually decided to try and create a “non-explanatory” background for the project.

――I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of trek the trio will embark on at the exhibition.

Different people will see them differently - to some they will look like they’re just resting, to others they will look like friends having a chat, and some people might even think they look like they are fighting. I think the characters’ expressions or gestures can be interpreted in many different ways, so I hope that each person will be able to enjoy the world created through the four paintings in their own way.






Illustrator and artist based in Kamakura, Japan. Known for his nihilistic and pop artistic style. Provides illustrations for TV artwork and advertising, and collaborates with apparel brands etc. Recently has also been very active overseas, holding shows and releasing artwork in the UK, France, Spain, Dubai, Hong Kong and Beijing.



text Yuka Uchida
photography Machiko Fukuda(exhibition & collaboration item photo)
translation Yuko Caroline Omura