ニットをアートに昇華した「編み物☆堀ノ内」のユーモアと衝動 Making knitting cool: meet the Japanese guy who creates incredibly intricate portrait sweaters.


Quirky designs mixed with an oh-so-cozy chunky knit – it’s a strange combination but one that seems to be working for Amimono Horinouchi. His sweaters - which are more a work of art than a fashion choice – are definitely pushing the boundaries of creativity in Japan. We caught five minutes with the designer to chat about his inspiration.

Q.まずビジュアルのインパクトに圧倒されたのですが、よく見ると非常に繊細かつ緻密な作品群。ニットということもあり女性作家を想像していたのですが、男性の作品と知り意外でした。そもそも、編み物で似顔絵を描こうとしたきっかけは?Your work has a huge visual impact, but when you look closely it’s very intricate stuff. Most people would assume that it’s the work of a female designer, but you are fighting the men’s knitting corner. What made you decide to start making portraits through knitting?


Ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved drawing, and I dreamt of becoming a manga artist. Since I couldn’t succeed in that field, I guess through becoming a creative designer I found a way to still be able to express that part of my personality. Three years ago I suddenly thought, “I wonder what would happen if I turned my drawings into knitting?” Since I was used to using computers in my work, turning a cartoon into a knitting pattern wasn’t too hard for me. My hands, that had always held coloured pens and manga drawing materials, suddenly became the holders of knitting needles. And that was when my Bruce Lee vest was born.

Q.言わずもがなの、パンチ力です(笑)。ほかの作品の人選も絶妙ですが、モチーフを選ぶ際の基準やこだわりはありますか?It definitely packs a punch. All your other works are really impressive too – how do you decide who’s portrait to knit?


Put simply, it’s just people who get me excited. Biz Markie and Kraftwerk, or in the case of a Japanese person, the baseball player Sadaharu Oh. A lot of it comes from my teenage years when I became huge fans of various bands or figures, most of whom I still respect now. When I started out knitting, I chose easily recognisable people like the comedian Yasushi Yokoyama or the committer of the famous 1968 three-hundred-million-yen robbery, but recently I’m leaning more towards minor figures who just mean a lot to me personally. Right now, the person I want to knit the most is Genesis P-Orridge who was a member of the 1970’s band Throbbing Gristle. Have you heard of him? Uh, I guess not (laughs). He used to be this vicious skinhead, but now he dresses in drag. The way he expresses himself has changed, but the energy in which he does it hasn’t.

Q.バッグやコースターなどの小物も多彩ですね。代表作のひとつ、肉バッグに「MADE IN TOKYO」のタグが付けられていて、東京から何かを発信するという意思を感じました。You also have some dope bags and coasters. One piece that stands out is the ‘Made In Tokyo’ bag – it’s like it’s trying to convey something from the capital city.


When I was a teenager, there were a lot of foreign artists that I looked up to – I think that comes across in my work. However since I’m using the method of portrait drawing, it’s not like I have to speak a certain language or being a certain nationality to understand – it’s about personal impressions and feelings. Art is something that anybody anywhere in the world can understand. I want to appeal to people who are interested in art and culture, so maybe that’s why I used the words ‘Made In Tokyo’ as a sort of pinpoint to reach out to other people around the world.

Q.活動開始からわずか3年とのことですが、目利きの業界人に早々と発見され、野沢直子さんが出演している舞台では衣裳に使われたそうですね。また、3月に開催された原宿の「A STORE ROBOT」さんでの展覧会も好評だったと聞きました。これからますます注目を集められるのではないかと思いますが、今後、堀ノ内さんの作品を見られる機会はありますか?It’s been just three years since you started out, but already the industry is loving you and celebrities like Naoko Nozawa are wearing your designs. Your exhibition at ‘A STORE ROBOT’ in Harajuku in March also received rave reviews. Your work is receiving more and more attention, however when do you think your next pieces will be released?

5月に、イラストレーターのmasami yanagida君と二人展をやります。短期間で大量生産できるものではないのですが、できれば新作も数点、お披露目したいなと。たとえば、すでに発表しているベートーベン・バッグという作品があるのですが、そこにモーツァルトとキダ・タローさんを加えて三重奏とか(笑)。

In May, I’m doing a joint exhibition with the illustrator masami yanagida. It’s just for a short amount of time and since my pieces can’t be mass-produced there aren’t a huge number of knits available, but I will be opening an exclusive selection to the public. One piece will be a sequel to my Beethoven bag – this time I’m doing Beethoven, Mozart and Taro Kida in a little musical ensemble (laughs).


1967年 神奈川県相模原市生まれ。桑沢デザイン研究所卒業。

イラストレーターmasami yanagida氏による初の二人展。

(東京都渋谷区道玄坂1-11-3 第一富士商事ビル4F)

Amimono Horinouchiknit artists

Born 1967 in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture. Graduated Kuwasawa Design Academy and worked as a graphic designer before taking up knitting in 2012.

Knit artist Amimono Horinouchi and Illustrator masami yanagida’s joint exhibition:

Date: 2nd – 8th May 2016
Place: Gallery Conceal, 1-11-3-4F Dougenzaka,Shibuya-ku,Tokyo.