A detour through the artist’s mind


A scarlet fish head, the silhouette of a tree and a burned-out hole surrounded by scribbled thoughts may at first sight appear to inhabit different worlds.

But upon closer inspection, the starting point for all these creations is the same: a pristine white notepad.

The joys of scrawling, painting, drawing and doodling on the empty white pages of a new notepad have long been a well-documented springboard for many a creative mind.

Now, a new exhibition in Tokyo is showcasing the imaginations of 50 architects, designers, writers, directors and artists, each of whom were given an identical blank notepad to transform into a projection of their creative vision.

Not that it was any old notepad: these are Moleskine notepads, the iconic Italian stationary company famous for its sleek black hardback creations, inspired by the role of the notepad among legends ranging from Pablo Picasso to Ernest Hemingway.

The exhibition, titled “Detour,” is the latest Tokyo leg of a global tour exploring the imaginative results of creative minds in cities around the world when confronted with such a notepad.

Launched in 2006 in London, the event has since expanded to notepad exhibitions among native creatives in cities including New York and Paris, with Tokyo opening last week and Berlin scheduled to launch next month.