Pharrell Went to Japan to See How Artists Responded to the Tsunami

NEW YORK—An image of Pharrell is painted on the side of a store on Lafayette Street, a couple of blocks south of Houston.

The mural is an ad for “Tokyo Rising,” the short documentary (chunked into five videos that are 5 to 7 minutes each) about how artists, designers, musicians, DJs, and other creative types have responded to the March tsunami in Japan—which they refer to as 3/11.

“Tokyo Rising,” directed by Thalia Mavros, is sponsored by Palladium Boots and hosted by Pharrell, who talks to and explores the work of the featured artists, much of it underground. The videos provide a compelling look at the amazing creativity of Japan’s youth and insightful commentary from them about the how Japan’s art scene has been influenced, and in many instances transformed, by the disaster. Definitely worth checking out.

Interestingly, the ad is a hybrid promoting both the documentary and the shoe company that helped to fund it, showing—for better, or for worse—how content is created and funded, continues to evolve.

Photo by Arts Observer

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