Artist Sadataka Anmi on Being Drawn to Catalyst’s Incredible Diversity

On his mission to draw 1,000 people in Berlin, Japanese artist Sadataka Anmi was introduced to the Catalyst community. His stunning portraits of our students now take pride of place on our walls. Learn more about the project in this interview.

If you’ve visited Catalyst in 2020, you may have noticed our walls have had a little spruce-up – and it’s infinitely more impressive than a lick of paint. The incredible diversity of our school has been captured as part of Japanese artist Sadataka Anmi’s wow-worthy project. With a goal to draw 1,000 people in Berlin, our music and film students of 59 different nationalities were the perfect subjects for his creativity.

Exhibited over eight metres of our Funkhaus interior are the 13 people Sadataka has drawn so far from our community, bringing his then running total up to 87 people. In a striking collage style, it celebrates the differences that bring us together as creators – and it does it with a smile.

With hundreds of drawings still to be completed, we chatted to the Kanagawa-born artist to learn what inspired his hero’s journey, and what’s drawn him both to Berlin and the subject of diversity. 

What catalyses your creativity?

Everything. I always feel inspired when I see or feel a different perspective on very ordinary things. The initial inspiration for my artwork was the posters all over town. People stick them to the wall and take them off over and over again. The process creates an abstract collage of tiny paper leftovers or scratches. This influenced the way I express myself through my current work and helped me to create my own style. 

Tell us more about the project.

I am planning to draw 1,000 people. I enjoy representing the diversity of Berlin and archiving the relationship with the people I’ve met here. I am interested in people; I am visualising their identities. I am trying to find out what interested me about a person and how can I draw that. I have been drawing people from different backgrounds, such as nationality, religion, ethnicity or social status. I am eager to see and meet more people to continue questioning my interpretation of diversity.

Why Berlin?

I am interested in Berlin's society, which has diversified much sooner than Japan's, including the acceptance of refugees. This attracted me a lot, because I can learn how the Japanese society might change in the near future.

What brought you to Catalyst?

I was introduced to Catalyst by my roommate's friend, and previous Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student, Rosaline Yuen. My exhibition could never happened without the chance to meet these students. Once again, thank you very much to the music and film schools, and everyone who is involved in this project, for this great opportunity. 

What's the deadline for 1,000? How many are you planning for this year?

My current visa is valid for two more years. I need to draw 450 people a year if I want to achieve my goal in Berlin. However, I think only a maximum of 200 per year is possible. I know there is a very high wall between me and my goal, but I believe it is worth it. It’s even more meaningful to me because it is very hard to achieve. 1,000 is just a number to aim for, which means it is not a goal in itself. The goal, for the purpose of this project, is to keep on drawing; it will never end. I will continue with this project for the rest of my life and this artwork will perpetually hold the status of ‘unfinished.’ Unless I stop drawing, it will keep evolving and improving forever.

Keep up with the project on Sadataka Anmi's Instagram and website.