Syreeta Ko (@syree444) decided to apply insights that go beyond the world we know to her designs, her art, and her personal aesthetics. The reality is in us, in what we perceive with our senses and process in our mind. So, if within us we intuit other realities, past, future or parallel, why not think that they are also real?
The fashion garments and accessories that Syreeta Ko designs for her brand, Gekyume (@gekyume.jp), inspire dystopian settings. Her art could have come from some alien civilization. This multidisciplinary creator, model, and stylist of Chinese origin left Japan after having settled in Tokyo. Now, she has returned to her native China, although she maintains a strong connection with Japan. I talked to her about her projects.
Chorareii: First, please introduce yourself!
Syreeta: My name is Syreeta Ko. I was born in Gulangyu Island, on the southwestern side of Xiamen, China. In 1903, Gulangyu Island was designated as an international foreign settlement, which allowed members of 13 partner countries to settle [including Japan, the United Kindong, Italy, or France].
The settlers could build houses, start their own businesses, and control the administration of the island. Its particular historic background makes it even more like an otherworldly sort of place out of China.
I was raised by a Buddhist family. I can say I’m living entirely by spiritual values with love for Mother Nature.
Your art and the clothes you design have a cyberpunk vibe. What connection do you feel with this philosophy and aesthetic? Where do you get the inspiration to create?
As my Buddhist thoughts were based on the concept of reincarnation, most of the time I can truly feel that my previous life happened on another planet. That may sound crazy but I usually make art pieces by dredging up the deep-hidden memories of my previous life. If you can catch something vaguely familiar from my art, probably you used to be one of my folks! [laughs].
You had a solo exhibition & pop-up at Design Festa, Harajuku. The concept behind it was “The world is your reflection of your understanding.” Tell me about this phrase, please!
I think I’m not living in this reality but living in my very own reality. What creates our realities before that?
In my world outlook, consciousness determines the material world. Your mind can affect the “real world,” because to me it is a temporary hallucination. What you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste are just the feedback signals sent by your brain. The reality you feel is actually like a mirror to your personality.
In summary, I think this world is virtual. Law of Attraction already shows us how it actually works.
Tell me about your fashion brand, Gekyume (@gekyume.jp). What’s the concept behind it?
Gekyume is a word created by the late hip-hop artist XXXTentacion meaning “a different state of thoughts” or “next-level thinking.” He is very sentiment to me because I suffered from bipolar disease & anger control issues too. I can understand this young tragic genius’s self-contradictory and self-redemption.
After his death, as a fan, as someone that felt kind of rescued by his music, I feel like I should inherit his thoughts and kill my old self —like the scene in his last music video “SAD!” That’s the beginning of the story.
Among your works, there are some weapons, and some of your clothes have a fighting-gear vibe. Do you think we should prepare to fight for our survival? How do you see the future?
In the science and technology highly-developed robotic future, people may totally forget the importance of spiritual growth. I’m not optimistic about the future because spiritual emptiness is already a universal disease. Have you heard about the book “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology,” by Ray Kurzweil?
Back to my art, I made a weapon as a visualization of my negative feelings like anger or anxiety. That’s how I revolt against the shitty society in an elegant way all the time.
How does your fashion work influence your art and vice versa?
They are both natural parts of my body, the right side would be my modeling and fashion work, the left side would be my art. I’m using my right hand to hold the chopsticks: as an unknown artist, the unstable income could be such a survival problem. For that reason, I make clothes that can translate my art into straight commercial interests. Clothes are just more understandable and practical, right?
Apart from being an artist, designer, and stylist, you are well known as a model. How does this influence your creative work?
We all have to admit that social media are superficial and irresponsible. I hate people who try to prove themselves by growing their number of followers. You are chasing wrong things that won’t make you feel the true pleasure of life.
However, as a model, my appearance is very easy to understand. Thanks to that, maybe 10% to 20% of my followers will begin to have some insights into my designer & stylist sides. I’m thankful for that.
Besides, my model/stylist sides also enrich my general aesthetics system. It’s like a trinity.
Tell me about your future projects.
I’m back in China now. Compared to Japan, this huge market has stiffer competition and more madness. It’s easier to make money, but it’s also easier to accumulate anxieties at the same time.
In Japan, what I could do was very limited due a to lack of a budget, but I think I tried.
In recent days, I’m looking for a job related to installation art and I’ll make an effort to make Gekyume become a more complete, mature, and active brand.
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