A work by Dan Baldwin - from the "URBAN ART" exhibition currently held at GALLERY SCENE in Shibuya Center Gai.

GALLERY SCENE: Street Art In Shibuya

Written by

For sure, you can spot graffiti all over the Shibuya streets – some people may see the tags as nothing but scribbles on the wall, others truly value them as street art. The latter have found a haven in a recently opened gallery in Shibuya’s Center Gai. GALLERY SCENE aims to promote young and upcoming street artists. The gallery space is pretty close to Shibuya Station, and is an initiative by non-profit organisation KOMPOSITION. PingMag talked to its director, Motokazu Terai, about his new project.

Written by Chiemi
Translated by Natsumi Yamane

The logo of GALLERY SCENE by KOMPOSITION. It just opened this June.

Motokazu Terai, first, what is KOMPOSITION about?

There are many ways to express in all sorts of media out there, and some of them are more recognised than others. KOMPOSITION as an organisation wants to support lesser established media with artistic value. We are not limited to street art and our mission is to back anything we regard as good regardless of public opinion.

That’s so punk, isn’t it? (laughs)

Yes. (laughs) But that’s the hotbed for finding something truly interesting.

In the past, KOMPOSITION also did a project called Legal Wall, as kind of predecessor to GALLERY SCENE, where you cleaned some walls and legally provided this space to street artists…

Basically, that was a project to turn the whole town of Shibuya into a gallery. For us, every single wall here is a potential canvas. But in order to realise that, we have to be the ones to restore it first and it wouldn’t get anywhere if we don’t make any contributions to the local community. That’s why we started off with the act of cleaning.

So far, thirteen walls in five locations have been turned into legal canvases by KOMPOSITION’s “Legal Wall” project.
Newly painted graffiti over an erased wall. More pictures here.

I suppose you’d have to achieve credibility first in order to use public spaces.

That’s certainly true. I think our statement to society and our contribution to the community are two sides of the same coin.

Then what made you open the gallery?

The gallery is an experimental thing. At the moment, an artist’s rise and fall is based on the system of an exclusive “art circle.” That is why we have always been wanting to create a space where anything goes. We managed to realise that up to a certain extent with our “Legal Wall” project. At the same time we felt that the writers needed a space to exhibit and sell their works indoors as artists.

GALLERY SCENE, located in Shibuya’s Center Gai (‘gai’ meaning ‘street’). This wall was painted as part of the “Legal Wall” project in 2006.

Incidentally, the gallery is on the upper floor of this building in Center Gai (street) near Shibuya Station, but its whole outer surface serves as billboard. I heard that it was a Japanese artists who did the outer walls. I know you won’t tell me his name out of legal reasons as he is spraying on other locations too… What made you choose him?

As for the outer walls, we thought a first glance at it and the feeling you get from it would be quite important. So, we went for an artist with one quite direct way of expressing himself. Regarding the actual work, we just asked him to do as he liked and we didn’t even see the initial sketch! We certainly liked it when we first saw his finished work.

What makes this gallery so special must be its location – the town of Shibuya is closely related to street art but when it comes to the crowded Center Gai area, with all its fast food joints and karaoke places, it couldn’t be further away from art. For me, a gallery in such a place seemed intriguing and unique in itself.

There are all kinds of people in Center Gai – to put it simply, it’s chaos. And yet, I don’t think there has ever been a space like this before. It wasn’t like we had our minds set on Center Gai from the beginning, but it was important to have the space right in Shibuya. Now, we are really lucky to have our base in the Center Gai area of Utagaya!

From the “URBAN ART” exhibition currently at GALLERY SCENE: “war by numbers” by OBEY.

More from the “URBAN ART” exhibition: BAST’s work titled “Paris Hilton.”
“freedom” by artist Inoue Jun with a remarkable style.

Apart from its location, what makes this gallery special?

The greatest difference is that it’s a feature gallery. Of course, we have to think about earnings, but we have no intention of selling works by putting the profit first: We will prioritise supporting the artists in a way we think is best.

Another point is that everything, including the interiors, is handmade. There used to be a gallery space in a vacant store in Nakameguro where artists could change the outside and the interiors freely to make either an exhibition space, shop, atelier or a gathering space out of it. I think this gallery comes fairly close to that.

From the “URBAN ART” exhibition: a work by Aiko Nakagawa.

A work by Japanese artist NOVOL, who was inspired by a powerful Jazz performance and the performer’s face.

A work by L.E.T (Les Enfants Terribles) based in Germany.

Where do you find your artists – literally on the streets?

That would be the best, but that’s not all. We discovered some when we did the “Legal Wall.” Others such as OBEY are coming from abroad.

Any future plans for your gallery?

At the moment, we are exploring how far exhibiting talented street artists can help them get more recognition. And also, we’d like to see more Japanese people keep artworks on their walls at home. So we want to be a positive influence for both artists and young people that aren’t into art so much yet. That’s what we are providing this environment for.


Another view inside

Motokazu Terai, thank you for your time today. We look forward to seeing GALLERY SCENE further enrich the Shibuya art scene!

  • http://www.pce-iberica.es/ jdm

    This is a nice graffiti!! How much could it cost?

  • http://pingmag.jp chiemi

    You can see the price here.
    You can also buy them by emailing Gallery Scene!

  • anon

    this is why i love the japanese–where else would a group of graffiti artists rehab the walls first?

    what a culture!

  • Pingback: Street Art em Shibuya

  • Badger

    Reading this I had an idea, what about an empty gallery where you can go in and just spray all you want, nothing is permanent, just like any street wall, but it would open the publics eyes to great graffiti!

  • Aroldo

    lol. I almost made something like that in Sao Paulo a few months ago.

  • http://www.german-street-art.com Max


  • http://www.myspace.com/mediamisfit MediaMisfit

    anon’s quote makes no sense.

    Let stuff. For more rehabbing of the walls check out the WoosterCollective.

  • Anonymous

    interesting i guess…

  • http://www.autoterrorist.org natalie

    I wish they had said the name, or at least the alias of the artist who did the front of their building.. AMAZING!!!!

  • Pingback: Autoterrorist » New gallery in Shibuya

  • Pingback: Design-mate » Blog Archive » Task on list

  • http://luciaotero.com.ar Lu!

    “War by numbers” by OBEY (the one with the little girl) is really amazing.

  • Vane

    I love the yellow one that says in Spanish “This is a crime. $500 reward for those who can catch the vandals who paint the walls with graffiti. Call 911 to report vandalism in progress. Call 311 to provide the authorities with information”
    Pure Genius

  • http://dcdomain.org DC

    This is great, I’m in Japan for two months, just got back from a week in S.Korea. Is there a street in Tokyo similar to Insadong in Seoul?

    Will definitely check out the Gallery Scene mentioned here, thanks for the informative blog!

  • http://dcdomain.org DC

    N/M! Just checked your FAQs and found Tokyo Art Beat. THANKS!

  • http://www.ulusevdeneve.com Bursa Evden Eve Nakliyat


  • http://www.ebrandwatches.com men watches online

    I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me. Really the article is spreading its wings rapidly.

  • http://www.thebestteethwhiteneronline.com the best teeth whitener online

    Hi i like your website i’m currently looking for products and information to put on my webpage and your site has set my mind at ease .

  • http://www.howtocurechildrensyeastinfection.com/ Children Yeast Infection

    I was looking for a quick treatement for my child’s yeast infections and I stubbled upon this website. It offers natural cures, as well as over the counter medication, great website.

  • http://bestcollegefootballschedule.com football college betting

    Hey, I like your website, it is a wonderful site! I’m looking for some informations about sports betting to put in my page.

  • http://www.extracashforeveryone.com niels

    Check this site for a better report =>

  • Create Profitable Niche Market.

    interesting site, looks cool,some good stuff on it, keep up the good work.

  • http://www.tuscanywind.com energie rinnovabili

    Pannelli Fotovoltaici

  • http://fastcash9freevideos.com Fast Cash Videos

    I like your blog. Thanks for helping me with my research. I am always on the lookout for good blogs and interesting posts.

  • http://www.cellphonelocation.net Cell Phone Location

    Excellent details regarding cell phone location and in particular tracking cellphone.Looking forward to having access to new technology as it becomes available.

  • http://howtogettheabs.com/ How to get the Abs

    This is a very nice article and superbly written. I have bookmarked and will check back often.

  • http://prostatecancertreatments.biz Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    Your articles on creative designs are awesom. Please keep up the good work.

  • http://www.techwizpro.wordpress.com Soccer

    If u like soccer visit us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.1s3y5j2l4.com Amparo Kirstein

    nonetheless rare to become identified, for the reason that this seriously a brand new kind of item

  • http://newhotproductshere.blogspot.com/ Free Facebook Like’s

    Here you find a way to promote your blog with facebook like’s

  • http://www.billpoulosforexreview.com/ Bill Poulos Forex

    I believe you convey some fascinating points that not too many people discuss . It’s fascinating to see it from this perspective. I really enjoyed the post!

  • http://www.xn--12c2b3bza7an.com/ กระดาษ

    Your articles on creative designs are awesom. Please keep up the good work.

  • http://www.hmmtube.com/ porn

    Hi i like your website i’m currently looking for products and information to put on my webpage and your site has set my mind at ease .

  • http://www.healthnaturalproductsdatabase.com/ Health Natural Products Database

    Interesting information. I am interested in the matter so I used to be comfortable to return throughout this article.

  • http://www.happyseasons.gr xristougenniatika

    xristougenniatika dentra,xristougenniatika stolidia,

  • http://www.fashionlouboutinsale.com/ christian louboutin

    Very Nice! makes me remind the coloured performance of the early pink floyd!

  • http://www.happyseasons.gr χριστουγεννιατικα ειδη
  • http://www.baimintspa-academy.com School of thai massage

    school of thai massage and spa certificaes Association of thai treditional medicine Appoved by the Ministry of Health

  • http://32lcdpc.com 32 Lcd Pc

    Best 32 Lcd Pc Review & Buy at Cheap Price

  • http://www.katavendo.com.br Kata-Vendo – Bons ventos para seus neg�cios

    Anuncie no Katavendo e usufrua DE TODOS OS BENEFICIOS OFERECIDOS, NO KATAVENDO voce encontra: anuncio, anuncios, anuncie, anunciar, classificado, classificados, classificados gratis, anuncios classificados gratis, imovel, imoveis, autos, automoveis, automovel, veiculos, carros, motos, celulares, video-games, computadores, dominios, cameras digitais, livros, quadinhos, revistas, cds, cd, dvds, DVD, hd, informatica, eletro-eletronicos, eletronicos, audio, video, decoracao, joias, relogios, esportes, lazer, negocios, filmadoras, videos, selos, moedas, ferramentas, antiguidades, raridades, oportunidades, promocoes, empregos, curriculos, servicos, artigos esportivos, empresas, produtos, vestuario, revistas, Sao Paulo, sp, Rio de Janeiro, rj, parana, pr, classificados, katavendo, kata-vendo, catavendo, cata-vendo, an�ncios, gr�tis, gratuitos, gratuitamente, empregos, oportunidades, comprar, vender.

  • http://cybermonday2011dealslist.blogspot.com/ Cyber Monday 2011 Deals List

    Cyber Monday 2011 Deals List my blog. you can shopping online Cyber Monday Sale have product HDTV,3DTV,Tablets,Laptops,Netbooks,Notebooks,Game Consoles & Electronics, you can see list Best Cyber Monday Deals and buy cheapest product and super saving shipping from AMAZON.COM

  • http://www.hostespacototal.com.br Hospedagem ilimitada

    Hospedagem ilimitada, revenda ilimitada, dominios ilimitados

  • http://gpsbestmaps.com gps best maps

    Thank you for good content..

  • http://www.yoogly.net reza atayee fard

    Do you have a very good site

  • http://www.thevisayas.com The Visayas

    I’m very lucky to have found this website, this is exactly what I have been looking for All I can say is wow, you hit the nail by the head.

  • http://www.ipadspeakersdock.com Yogungman

    I like very much.Thanks for the great article.

  • http://www.buycheapvacuumcleanersonline.com buy cheap vacuum cleaners online

    Lorèm Ipsum dolor chita ame, anile reply. Ou tanpri e-dèy. Nou toujou, tankou plis plis plis isit la lide sou ide li yo, pa Teyorèm ou an oswa pi plis. Posted pous

  • http://www.aiostream.com Watch Movies and TV Shows | AioStream

    thanx for your valuable post…I love to see this type of interesting posts.

  • http://www.benimlezayifla.com zayifla

    Thank you. O like this post. I would like to share at my facebook account.

  • http://www.stopitnow.gr ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο

    ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο,ego-T

  • http://www.1001obiavi.com Безплатни обяви

    Безплатни обяви в Facebook, сайт за обяви вестник за обяви добави обяви, София, Пловдив, Варна.

  • http://www.love-2day.com Social Network

    Enter to the safest social networking site! Love GENERATION –> http://www.love-2day.com Free Forum Free Blog Free Ads

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EomgB72m1U4 Smile

    This is really great. Thank you! You’ve put a smile on my face.

  • http://illslickfc.blogspot.com illslick

    Thanks for this post. It is very useful. I hope you will write an article. This issue again.

  • http://www.decorcraftservices.co.uk Painting and Decorating

    DecorCraft Services has the qualified, licensed and bonded professionals with years of excellent reviews on their side to offer your next painting or decorating project. As proud members of the Painting and Decorating Association, we have the distinction of offering the best services for your home improvement desires, no matter the total size of the project. Our professionals are on hand today to offer a free, competitive quote for our services. Trust the DecorCraft Services name for your next project.

  • http://www.hitbeats.de —————————————————————————————-

    Live Music MOTET – Deutsch Polnische Hochzeitsband (Band) Polnische Hochzeitsband

  • http://www.stopitnow.gr ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο

    Online Store Happyseasons

  • http://seouzytkownika.wput.com.pl Alva Wehmann

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • http://furnituregardenteak.com garden furniture

    I get a lot of useful information in your blog, and of course I hope I can continue to enjoy the articles are informative