Bears are big, furry and playful types. Japanese artist Cauro Hige tells us about his world with the bears. 

You are originally from Japan, what brought you to Barcelona?

My partner was transferred to Barcelona by the company he works for. As we had a policy not to live apart and I came with him. Luckily I can do my work wherever I am.

What are the similarities and / or differences between Spanish Bears and Japanese Bears?

There is a big difference between them. It’s like comparing flesh-eating brown bears with plant-eating panda bears. Incomparable! Spanish guys are slim and beautiful when they’re young, and as they get older, many of them become bigger and bigger and more and more hairy automatically. They seem to be gifted to be a bear whether they like it or not. Japanese bears usually go with constant efforts to stay in a bear condition, like eating a lot and working out a lot. The number is much smaller in Japan and therefore bear guys are highly appreciated. I’m a big fan of both.

We love that you show these bears in all their glory. What pointed you in that direction?

At some point in my career I thought of what characteristics I could set on my paintings. Then I chose to paint more bears than before. Bears have all the mouth-watering masculine signs on their appearance, and are always appealing to me. I wish I could join them.


You have done some amazing murals, how many so far and where are they?

In My Hunk, a popular bear bar in Korea, you can see a mural of nearly 2 meters. Besides, in Nora Kura and Backroom Tokyo, both in Shinjuku in Tokyo, they decorate their walls with my paintings, though they’re not murals but large prints

Who are your artistic icons both artists and model.

It’s not easy for an artist to continue his/her career for decades. So all the successful artists whose career is long enough can be my icons. They always have something I can happily learn. As for the models I find an instant icon at any time in the gym. I get a crush on someone very quickly.

Your art includes a wide range of beefy models, sometimes I feel that they could a blend of Asian and European, am I imagining this?

Maybe it’s something uncontrollable for me as a Japanese artist. I have a tendency to paint anyone a bit more softly than I intend to paint him. And I’m into line works these years. I love to draw outlines in dark colours first and paint each part later. So the darker the colour of the eyes and the hair is, the more suitable the man is for my model. This is the reason you have such impression, I guess. I don’t intend it.

There are many subtle references to Japanese culture in your works, sakura & origami for example. Can you share more about this?

I have the weakness for small cute-looking things cross-culturally whether they are natural ones or artificially made. Japanese things may catch your eyes because of their exotic look especially when they appear with non-Japanese men. But if you look at my paintings carefully, you’ll soon notice that I don’t stick only to Japanese things.

Love the piece called ‘Laundry’. Are you an Ikea shopper?

When I saw my German friends using its blue bags in the supermarket, I was impressed by the fact that I see the bag all around the world. I had the same ones in my house in Japan too. And at the same time I took notice of today’s renovated laundromats in Berlin and Köln. They look so stylish like a café. Those two experiences combined and led me to the painting. This one was born in Germany.

Whats coming from you in 2020?

Now I’m working on two projects. One of them is the publication of my second book. Anyway I’d like to release it preferably within 2020. As for the other projects, I can’t make any comments yet … (gt)

Follow Cauro Huge on his Instagram: @caurohige