Masaki Yokobe, known for his work initials YKBX, is a director, art director and artist all in one and who is currently based in Japan. He has many accomplished works and have won a lot of awards and is currently the President at Strange Ga Rhythmom (S.G.R). Having graduated from Osaka University of Arts, he is now a freelancer who has worked on many projects ranging from music videos and 3D CG modelling to visual art. Below, I will be stating why I admire this artist who likes to keep things on the lowkey, focusing on letting the public eye appreciate his work and being satisfied behind the scenes instead.
1. His art is unconventional with strong messages.
I got to know about YKBX through the artworks on albums belonging to Japanese singers I really liked; Japanese rock band “amazarashi” and Japanese musician “Sanketsu Shoujo Sayuri”.
The art on these album covers had a quirky, imaginative, and unexpected narrative to the display, with some art displaying a combination of elements that is often not mainstream. People sometimes think that Japanese people are prim, proper and mainstream because this is how they have been raised; with proper rules and traditions put in practice, starting from the household. However, Masaki Yokobe shows us that his imagination clearly does not function the same way.
The way YKBX highlighted his narrative was something I truly enjoyed because while the message that could be interpreted was subtle through the visuals, it was nevertheless loud. Furthermore, the randomness and abstract take on the way the art was portrayed was very bold and confident. I loved stories, and I enjoyed the way he told them.
2. He goes all out.
Something I especially appreciate in Masaki Yokobe’s work attitude is how he does not pick his clients. Regardless the nature of the work he is producing for, he will accept the job and create something amazing for them. This has led to his works being published everywhere worldwide, from Olympics to Netflix Originals to Video Games. As you can see from the image above, those are only a handful of the clients he has worked with.
Yokobe started out small; he was originally an illustrator who illustrated only for amazarashi commercially, but as he stayed longer in the media industry, he expanded his range of works to include the “big guns” such as VR, Music Videos and Video Games, but still remained humble and lowkey. I feel that this is the mark of a true artist, where his happiness lies in the greatness of the work he can produce, and not fame from the times he managed to get bigger clients.
3. He’s a Jack of all Trades, and a Master of all.
He is a very strong role model to me because of how he dares to dabble in a whole multitude of artistic platforms, and always strives to create great works in each.
This is important motivation for me, because I have often thought of myself as a Jack of all trades, and a master of none. I believed that it was fun to explore many mediums of interactive media, be it installations or digital media. However, I came to realize that I was not producing professionally substantial work even though I touched on many forms of interactive art including game design, web development and installation works.
He made me realize that exploring different ideas and mediums without creating quantity was okay, if you make good use of the opportunity to create at least one good work out of what you have explored.
Masaki Yokobe’s art pieces and work portfolio gave me hope that it was okay not to be mainstream, and that it is okay if I do not feel like I am going to be employed because I do not have what others have, and have other things instead. He taught me that it is okay to be different, because this will make you a niche artist in the end. His art works are a narrative inspiration, and he reminded me that by going beyond what is learnt in school and our degree, and being unafraid to explore all sorts of artistic mediums, will we eventually find our rhythm and favourite way to work. Masaki Yokobe started out as a visual artist (as can be seen from his earliest illustrations) before expanding into all sorts of media such as VR and Directorship, and he turned out amazing.