Shishido Mazafaka on his freaky flesh-like purses, belly buttons and shot glasses
The Japanese DJ and artist tells us about his flesh-inspired items – all of which are made primarily of silicone, but the rest remains a secret, “sorry”.
- Ayla Angelos
- 4 May 2020
Whether it’s a floating mouth wearing a bow tie, a hairy belly button, a flesh coin purse, an iPhone case or a USB portal made from skin, this might be the weirdest work you’ve see today. Created by Shishido Mazafaka, a Japanese DJ and artist who goes by the title of Dooooo, these pieces are equally as freaky as they are fascinating.
Mimicking parts of the human body, Shishido’s unsettling creations are a byproduct of his infatuation with science fiction and horror films – be it Gremlins 2: The New Batch or Aliens. Made using silicon rubber and designed to replicate the body, each piece has a skin-like quality that’s akin to the the real life thing, just a little bit more disturbing. “I started making human flesh items because of my first album, Panic,” he tells It’s Nice That. Working as a DJ and music producer, he wanted to accompany his sounds with a spooky counterpart. “I wanted everyone who saw the album artwork to know that I like horror and science fiction movies, as well as music, so I made a human flesh MPC (equipment used for making songs).”
Since coining the idea, Shishido sought out “daily necessities” and transformed them into human flesh items. An iPhone case, Hanko-seal, coin purse and shot glass to name a few, where each has been morphed into a stretchy, hairy and rubbery-looking piece of flesh. In order to achieve as such, the self-taught designer works alongside his partner Jurjen Hasseling, founder production studio JUR. “I do the idea and design, and the special modelling is done by my partner from the amazing studio JUR,” Shishido adds. “They also run schools, where anyone can learn special modelling techniques.”
The reasoning behind these items is “hard to explain”, Shishido continues. But when anyone asks what it actually is that he does, he responds: “I make daily necessities out of human flesh, look and touch!” Tactility plays a key character in the making of his works, just as much as his desire to create something useful out of each – a purse, for example.
A typical day, then, begins with Shishido producing songs in his studio and coming up with ideas for his next piece. As for his human flesh pieces, he says that the inspiration comes when he’s reading books, watching films or experiencing the smaller parts of everyday life. “Thinking about ideas is important,” he adds, “but everyday life is also important.” He also cites keen influences from manga artists Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, Radio Wada and ukiyo-e artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa. “I also love the work of Chris Cunningham and HR Giger,” he adds, noting that he’s also recently enjoyed listening to Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Arca and Thom Yorke.
As for the design process, “the details are secret, sorry”. What he does tell us however, is that each item is mainly created from silicon, each is handmade and can take between one to three months to produce – but the other parts and the making-of these weird and objects remains a mystery. Another aspect is that, once Shishido has come up with the initial idea, he will then design on paper and work with his partner on the future details to complete the final product. “If you create something that everyone sees but doesn’t exist, like my work, living a casual life will create ideas that will touch more people’s hearts.”
The most important aspect of these creations – other than it just being downright aesthetically strange – is that they are linked to the music that he makes. Not only have they appeared in his music videos, but they are also protagonists to his album artwork, too. “Even if it’s the same song, people who listen to my music will hear it differently before and after seeing my human flesh items,” he says. “When I wear a human flesh item as a necklace when I’m DJing, I can express my character in the same way as music and behaviour.”
For Shishido, his music and his flesh items are of equal importance. Recently, the artist held a competition on his website giving applicants the chance to win their very own coin purse – the market price of which is ¥390,000 yen; a nose shot glass is ¥140,000, and a finger stamp is ¥120,000. So far, these remarkable items have achieved some kind of cult-like status, divided between disgust and utter infatuation. “Of course I will make a new one,” Shishido concludes of his future plans. “I also want to make goods like a mouth coin purse key ring, and exhibitions to let various people touch my work. I will keep doing what I find interesting, so please look forward to it!”
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.