Hidden beauty, invisibile brutality and... unchallenged cult!

8-PAGE SPECIAL (inkl. Interview) IN
INSIDE artzine #19 (PREVIEW/BUY)
+++ Chris Mars (USA), Seungyea Park (Republic of Korea), Kamerian (Japan) +++

INSIDEartzine No. 19, dark art magazine

Trevor Brown, girl with sad eyes, dark artIt‘s your own fault when you always listen to the opinions of others. When you move preconceived opinions to and fro in your own perception, like scenery in an empty theatre. Art can change fundamentally in the angle of viewing – this becomes only too clear in the work of Trevor Brown, an Englishman who has been living in Japan since 1994. In the Western understanding of art (by the way, also on Wikipedia), Brown is seen as a morally condemnable chronicler of the humiliation of young girls and thus pushed into the light of pedophile glorification; in Japan, however, he is considered as a master of anti-Kawaii. To understand this typical Japanese way of thinking, it is not enough just to clarify the terminology, but it helps.


Trevor Brown, Japan, illustration, child, bunny ears, black leather, gun, fetish, art scum„Kawaii“ can be roughly translated as „cute“ or „sweet“; it is a design term in Japan that is used not only in art (mangas and anime, for instance) but also in news graphics, traffic guidance systems, and/or commercial aircraft interiors. To Western brains, these aesthetics of cuteness often seem rather „inappropriate“ or „unserious“. It has probably to do with the enviable effort of the Japanese not to have to unlearn childlike behaviour in old age completely. And the art, described on Trevor Brown‘s website as „baby art“, then prefixes the term with an „anti“…. Exactly. Anti! There are the cute little girls with black eyes, bloody mouths, and various medical instruments stuck under their skin. The look of the big manga eyes share the expression with grotesque eye rings and deep sad melancholy. This head-on contrast potentiates the impact of Trevor Brown‘s images into a grotesque urgency that is hard to resist.


Trevor Brown, Japan, illustration, childs, pigtails, chopper, butchery, kitchen, dark art magazine

Trevor Brown, medical bondage, dark artWhen you want to approach the work of Trevor Brown, you should also include his early works. Even before 1994, before his relocation from England to Japan, Japanese women, forms and characters were very present in his works. Fetishes from BDSM, such as (Japanese) bondage or humiliation, were even more visibly incorporated into Brown’s motifs than they are today. The violence in his early paintings seems more painful and unmistakably more real without today‘s „kawaii effect“. This kind of brutality can still be found in his works today, despite the comic-like abstraction and the big eyes. But it has become more enigmatic and thus more intense. The conflict of „violence“ and „innocence“ disturbs many viewers, and only the true connoisseurs of art can face this conflict. Art has to touch the mind, even if it hurts. Otherwise it is only decoration.
You can find an excellent overview of the artist‘s development on his website. You will find an extensive portfolio there which, divided into years, goes back to 1994.


The look on the person behind the work, behind the forehead, is always exciting. What lurks up there in the watery thought muscle of creative outlandishness? In the case of Trevor Brown, this is rather difficult. There was no photo of him to be found in the whole fucking internet, and at the launch for the artbook of INSIDE artzine #20 (in which his work is also represented) in Tokyo‘s „Vanilla Gallery“, he didn‘t show up (okay, outside it was +30° Celsius… at night…). In the 8 page interview with Brown in INSIDE artzine #19, he says of himself, „I find it difficult to believe in anything (even in myself?!).” Lack of self-confidence, however, I could not detect; to the question „Does it bother you when people masturbate to your work?“ he replied, „I make art to please myself primarily… which is synonymous with masturbation.” Unfortunately, as almost always in INSIDE artzine, the interview quickly developed into irresponsible madness, but his statement „all art should be aesthetic terrorism“ is something I‘d want to write on my forehead.

Trevor Brown, artbook "Alice", dark artHave a look at some of his great art books like „Trevor Brown‘s Alice (in Wonderland)“ (2010), „Pandora“ (2015), or the current „La Nursery Noire“ (2019), which, by the way, was censored (!) on some pages by the involved printing company. It seems that anyone who likes has a say there… Buy his books!


Trevor Brown, cosplay of his art, young girl with sweets, dark artTrevor Brown’s art in Japan has been described with many clichés – clichés that apparently exist only in this country. For example, the above mentioned „Kawaii“ (cute), or „Ero Guro“ (art that is focused on sex and decadence and combines the erotic with the grotesque). One of the most famous Otaku excesses must not be missing: Cosplay. There are lots of Japanese websites and blogs where countless (female) Trevor Brown fans recreate the scenarios and poses of his paintings! Some of them are in an adorably dilettante and obsessive way photographed with the own mobile phone, others however are professionally staged with makeup, costumes and professional post-processing. Compare „original“ and „cosplay“: The „Trevor Brown-Special“ in INSIDE artzine #19 shows both the original illustrations and the photos where fans represent exactly the same poses. Trevor Brown’s visions come to life, as it were. Did I hear someone shout the magic word „CULT“ from the last row?!? That‘s right!!! Great, unique art that touches you deeply despite, or even because of, the innocent surface!