1/18/17 / Tokyo/Japan

Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic Readies A Show At The Famed Park Hyatt Tokyo

Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic Photo: @giltman

New York artist Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic is a busy guy. You might find him debuting work at The White House, drinking champagne with Karolina Kurkova at Art Basel, or simply honing his calligraphic brush stroke style in the studio where he spends most of his time. Despite his prolific output, there’s still one place far across the world Mestrovic makes time for: Tokyo. More than just a second home, living, studying, and working in the Asian metropolis has become a major influence on him. Now he’s revisiting the Japanese capital once again to return the favor.

On January 24th, Mestrovic heads to the famed Park Hyatt Tokyo where he will do a live painting. To coincide with the performance, he has collaborated with the hotel on a luxury chocolate bar set, featuring his work printed on the packaging. It’s an unexpected medium for his work, but offers the chance for people to discover his style just in time for Valentine’s Day and its Japanese equivalent, White Day. We caught up with Mestrovic before he heads overseas, to discuss his work and the huge influence of Tokyo.

Do you feel that painting live brings a different element to your style?

Of course. Much of my work is very much in the tradition of other Action Painters like Pollock, Rosenberg, Kline. My work is almost a work of choreography. Much of the mark-making comes down to the fluidity of the movement. That can’t be faked. But this particular performance is quite different. I’ve teamed up with an amazing Japanese performance artist, Yuki Tsuji, who is well known for his large scale performative IKEBANA ( or Japanese Flower, Plan arrangements.) I was introduced to him through the CARNEGIE HALL JAPAN FOUNDATION and helped organize an event with them here in NYC. He just recently made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York. So now, with the blessing of the Carnegie foundation we are creating a wholly new collaborative piece. Really pushing a cross-cultural dialogue in performance based work. I’m truly excited.

You’re work is calligraphic, have Eastern styles always inspired you?

Definitely, I think if you look up many of the fore bearers of the abstract movement, they looked to the east for inspiration and solace. Personally, I’ve spent time living and studying in Japan and I am a cultural ambassador chosen via the White House and the United States Japan Leadership Program; A think tank which brings together the best and the brightest of both countries. For me, it’s all the more reason to continue to explore this cultural cross-pollination.

A major theme in my work is Multiculturalism. My background is Latino and Slavic, growing up speaking spanish. Studying in Asia and learning Japanese as well as tradition Japanese Shodo calligraphy. Ultimately, my work is a reflection of this mix and it’s what inspires me to continue to explore.

Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic

You spend a lot of time in Tokyo, what’s your relationship with that city?

I attended Temple University of Japan, then living in Tokyo and working for companies like MTV Japan and Def Jam Japan. I then returned to NYC to get another degree at the famed PRATT Institute. Japan has always maintained a strong gravity with me. It’s always drawn me there and it’s just eye-opening to see a completely different way of living. People have so much more respect for one another and everyone’s personal space. Also, everyone has a reverence and true pride for their work. No matter how menial the job may be. That’s something I identify with.

As I mentioned. now I split my time between NYC and Tokyo and truly love it.

Do you feel your work is received differently by an Asian audience vs an American one?

I think the world has in many ways homogenized. Everyone has access to the same internet, the same feeds and timelines, the same Pinterest boards and Tumblrs. In that way, I think it’s becoming increasingly rare to find work that is nuanced and truthful at a personal level. Something that maintains a true voice.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest brands in Asia, America and Europe. As well as working with artists like Kanye West and Major Lazer and Skrillex to name a few. I think the influence of the culture they helped usher in can’t go unnoticed. But I think the work that really will stand the test of time will come from somewhere else, or exist in a different context.

Night_View_East View from Park Hyatt Tokyo

You’ve collaborated with hotels before, why do you think they are such good places to showcase your work?

It’s interesting, as much as we now live online, we look for communal space to really find a touch point and interact with each other in meaningful ways.
I see how in the last decade or so, hotels have had to reinvent themselves to be not just places of lodging and relaxation, but places that a visitor or even a local can stop in for immersion in a certain kind of curated culture. They become these amazing platforms for gatherings and events that help to define the cities in which they exist.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo is an iconic hotel…what makes it special to you?

I’ve had the honor of work with some amazing properties and teams in the past. There is just something so Iconic about The Park Hyatt Tokyo that really thrills me.
My memories of watching Bill Murray in “Lost In Translation” and being able to inhabit that same legendary space, but also fill it with my art and products. That’s a true honor. This is something very new for them. One of the last collaborations they did was with legendary British designer PAUL SMITH.

NewYorkBar_ New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

It’s always interesting to see how artists bring their work to more people…but chocolate was unexpected! How did this collaboration happen?

Indeed. I’m thrilled to be working with the Executive Pastry Chef Pascal Ciadella on creating a luxury collections of chocolates, in a super limited packaging, available exclusively at the hotel. It started with an idea to create something to commemorate the exhibition and performance. We wanted something people could buy and take with them. Especially as it’s launching for Valentines Day and White Day in Japan.

Working with the executive team, they suggested we look at the Latin American origins of Chocolate as they mirror my background from Argentina. Specifically the Mayans, Incas, Olmecs etc. who used it in rituals.
We sourced the best Peruvian cacao in the world and I put my artful touch on it!


What does your ideal day in Tokyo look like?

Anthony Bourdain recently wrote that if he had to live in one place for the rest of his life, it would be Japan. He said, just the sheer density of what is there, with food, art, culture etc. One can live there for decades and not have even scratched the surface.

That being said, since I’ve gone there so much, I don’t really do anything touristy. I’m usually there for meetings, work, and more meetings.
I also have some of my best friends in the world living in Japan so much of my time is spent meeting with homies like Ben Mori, who’s an amazing artist and RISD grad.
My dear friend Crystal Kay is also an amazing singer and we end up doing hood rat stuff at places like BERRY in Nakameguro. Or we’ll end up in a whole-in-the-wall bar like D.U.I or Red Bar in Shibuya with my long time friend Yoshi Kogure. I’m also always in the club so you can find me at Oath, Trump Room or whatever Feria pop-up my friends are doing that night. Tokyo is immense but the artistic, influencer community is tight knit.

I always say to people that have never been to Tokyo, to go and experience it first hand. It’s truly another planet and such a unique country and culture.

‘The Masters of Art’ featuring Aerosyn Lex-Mestrovic takes place on Tuesday, January 24th at 6:30pm, at the Park Hyatt Tokyo 

Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic x Park Hyatt Tokyo

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