Jesse Freeman - Artist in Tokyo

Jesse Freeman

I'm an artist in Tokyo, Japan

I speak English and Japanese

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My activity

About me

I am from Baltimore, MD, and have been living in Tokyo for 13 years. I fell in love with literature once moving to Japan in 2006 and that carried me into films once I understood auteur theory. Seeing film as a director’s novel, the pen his camera, and actors his characters, I came to understand that style and prose came from overall shot style and composition. This brought about my expression in four different mediums. The first is photography, I mostly do film in black and white. I self develop and darkroom print images of everyday life. The second is filmmaking, I have written and directed 12 short films holding my own screenings in Tokyo. My films usually arise out of my own problems or curiosities playing more to aesthetic theories of films while featuring persons of color because you just don’t see normal representation. The third is ikebana, I have been studying under the Sogetsu school for 10 years. I appreciate the structuring you learn in the balance of ‘shin, soe, hikae, and jushi’ and subsequent space in between. The fourth is collage that I started creating a half decade ago using materials I find in recycling bins as a much more direct form of expression. In addition, I write art reviews, essays, and my film scripts. In all, I basically just have an idea and see which medium is best to express it …offering my perspective. For my actual job I work for Japan Camera Hunter.

My Creations

  1. Swedish Family Portraits

    +shot family portraits of my Swedish friends, inspired by Hammershoi...(click the photo for the set)

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  2. a swedish backyard

    7 July 2016
    a swedish backyard
  3. Pieces

    7 November 2016

    Here is my latest short film titled Pieces that I actually screened at Tacchi Studios last year. Pieces was a dream I had about a man (and his friend) who makes an absurd trip from Ikea home with a mirror he purchased for his girlfriend. It is quite experimental with... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  4. ~

    12 November 2016
  5. +This is a teaser for one of two short films I will screen this Sunday (20th) at Just Another Space in Naka Meguro at 6pm. I use a laundry cycle to metaphor the repetitiveness of life in a realistic Romanian New Wave aestheticized film about a man at a laundry... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  6. +This is a teaser for one of two short films I will screen this Sunday (20th) at Just Another Space in Naka-Meguro at 6 pm. This is a sort of off beat film on social and human interaction.

  7. Two Can Win!

    23 November 2016

    +Here is my short film Two Can Win! (I will upload the Circuital soon). Two Can Win is a commentary on social media and relationships because as much as it connects us, it disconnects us in often the most frivolous ways. This has been an interest of mine in the... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  8. Circuital

    24 November 2016

    +And here is my short film Circuital. Laundry was used a lot as a metaphoric device for life cycles in Japanese literature and film (Shimizu’s 1941 film Ornamental Hairpin best did it) and I touched on them in my first two films Vein (before the character kills himself) and Heart... continue reading (1, 0 images)

  9. Subtle Figuration

    28 November 2016
    Subtle Figuration

    I made camera-less images in the darkroom to further abstract a selection of geometric based photos.

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  10. my 2016 ikebana pt.1

    19 December 2016
    my 2016 ikebana pt.1
  11. my 2016 ikebana pt.2

    19 December 2016
    my 2016 ikebana pt.2
  12. +shots from a recent developed roll
  13. Ritual (short story)

    4 June 2017
    Ritual (short story)

    +Here is the short story that inspired me and Simon De Boer 's comic, Ritual. Wrote this when I was 23 after seeing a man jump in front of a train in Ikebukuro. Kinda ...

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  14. shiga

    16 August 2017
  15. +hands

    14 January 2017
  16. +natural ikebana

    6 March 2017
    +natural ikebana
  17. A short documentary I shot in Amami Oshima on an ancient mud dyeing technique exclusive to the region that is applied by the fashion brand Beaugan designed by Christopher Dorian Hancy. The brand is based around sustainability which is an indication of good design, especially in our time, in any... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  18. +nebraska

    9 May 2017
  19. +some structures and space

    18 October 2017
    +some structures and space
  20. +architecture & gf

    3 December 2017
    +architecture & gf

    +the crappy switch to panorama mode on a 1000 yen junk camera was accidently on when i took these, masking half of my film negative....can't do anything with these pho...

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  21. Tuesday, adj.

    13 December 2017
    Tuesday, adj.

    +This was my two-man exhibition with Inoue Taku​ over the new year, last year. We will be having another show at the same place this December 29th-Jan 2nd at Fotori. W...

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  22. +my 2017 ikebana, pt.1

    3 January 2018
    +my 2017 ikebana, pt.1
  23. +my 2017 ikebana, Pt. 2

    3 January 2018
    +my 2017 ikebana, Pt. 2
  24. +a half an hour on a volcano~
  25. +Something Else I

    24 February 2018
    +Something Else I

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally.

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  26. +Something Else II

    18 March 2018
    +Something Else II

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally.

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  27. +3 upside down photos

    6 March 2018
    +3 upside down photos
  28. +Something Else III

    9 May 2018
    +Something Else III

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally.

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  29. +Here is my short film, “GENSHOKU” (Primary colors), I shot for the clothing brand Beaugan. Two years ago I shot their documentary in Amami and got full creative control to shoot a short film with high school kids who meet under this bridge in Yoyogi to practice freestyling. The purity... continue reading (1, 0 images)

  30. +Something Else IV

    25 July 2018
    +Something Else IV

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally.

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  31. +Something Else V

    4 August 2018
    +Something Else V

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally.

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  32. +1/2 a summer vacation in 120

    20 September 2018
    +1/2 a summer vacation in 120

    Decided to take a medium format camera and some expired film along with me on my US vacation. It broke half way to Yellowstone so only got 2 1/2 rolls in. The fun was ...

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  33. untitled

    14 October 2018

    +took these from my same US trip. this was the first roll of 14 i developed using my cousins broken film reels and ended up damaging these negatives before getting the...

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  34. Permanence

    11 November 2018

    +Here is my latest short film called, Permanence. It is a reflection on the inner, outer, and surface layers of water as it exists naturally. Harping to Monet this is something that has interested me visually for quite sometime, in 2013 I photographed the surfaces of water and found it... continue reading (1, 0 images)

  35. +hell on earth

    25 November 2018
    +hell on earth

    +looking back, Yellowstone really was that: burnt out forests, boiling pits, sulphur....and lots of tourists.

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  36. +my 2018 ikebana pt.1

    23 December 2018
    +my 2018 ikebana pt.1
  37. +my 2018 ikebana pt. 2

    23 December 2018
    +my 2018 ikebana pt. 2
  38. +something else VI

    28 January 2019
    +something else VI

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally

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  39. +5 recent photos of friends
  40. +something else VII

    5 April 2019
    +something else VII

    An attempt to say something about my friends and family without photographing them conventionally. This will be the last in the little series.

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  41. +sink study

    4 November 2019
    +sink study

    doing the dishes i noticed how pleasing the shadows were from the various forms of my dishes and got curious to play around after washing with my leica m3. i liked the...

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  42. +Three Dedicated to Ozu

    25 November 2019
    +Three Dedicated to Ozu

    +Three Dedicated to Ozu is a play on the late great film director Abbas Kiarostami’s film, Five Dedicated to Ozu. It is a film made of only five static long shots (wel...

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  43. +untitled

    6 January 2020

    +been trying out a black paint that will absorb over 98% of light for a surrealist film photo set I have in mind. Looking at it now I suppose I could skip all of this ...

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  44. +recent photowalk

    17 February 2020
    +recent photowalk

    +waiting for my new visa to come back to Japan been back home in Baltimore, MD. Drove to Richmond, VA for a day and these were from that roll:

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  45. +Dada inspired Chess set

    30 March 2020
    +Dada inspired Chess set

    Recently learned chess and have been addicted since. Decided I'd try to make a set without the class based European symbolism in favor of something more intuitive repr...

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  46. +four for floyd

    5 June 2020
    +four for floyd

    Still stuck in the US because of Japan's travel restrictions due to COVID-19. In seeing the most recent killing of an unarmed African American, George Floyd, I partici...

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  47. +African Teratology

    13 December 2021
    +African Teratology

    I am still stuck in the US since the pandemic started, but looks my COE will finally get processed next month depending on the Omicron variant, so think I'll start pos...

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  48. +Fifteen Dedicated to Ozu expansion on an earlier Canvas post, Three Dedicated to Ozu

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  49. +my quilts

    27 April 2022
    +my quilts

    Randomly took up quilting after seeing some of the Gee's Bend quilts in person...just the texture, patterns, and movement👌🏾 Local quilt shop had classes and been going...

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  50. +My Improvised Quilts

    13 December 2022
    +My Improvised Quilts

    Finally got back to Tokyo last spring and just been busy, so haven't had time to share. Here are the last quilts I made before returning that unlike the last ones I sh...

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