“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.” 2016
I am an artist who changes the format of my work depending on the environment I am living in.
1995 Storytelling works ... Kobe Earthquake and Sarin Attack in Tokyo Subway
I was born and raised in Japan. In 1995, two huge disasters were happened in Japan. A big earthquake and an act of terrorism. It was my second year in undergraduate studies. At that time, I was painting on canvas and I felt that I needed a more direct language or format to talk to people about the situation. I started to use storytelling as a method to reach people.
FAMILY MEETING 1998
mixed media, sound
It is fiction that I wrote. It is a psychological story about a surrealistic world. 5 parallel worlds are going on and they are all related somehow. 6 min. for each script. Total would be 30 min. I was interested in the idea to take time for getting an answer.
2000 Collaborative Project “gansomaeda" ... Critique Japanese Art Scene
From 2000 to 2005 I was focusing on an experimental collaborative project with another artist. The project was called ‘gansomaeda'. 'gansomaeda' developed performances and large scaled installations with ironic and humorous symbols. It was a critique of the Japanese art scene. I was very interested in the idea of anonymity. So during 'gansomaeda', we did not tell our names.
workshop, video installation, a road sign with a UFO logo, U.F.O. Sculpture made with bamboo and silver construction sheet.
FLEA CIRCUS 2005
Yokohama Toriennale, an important international art festival in Japan. We created a story called “FLEA CIRCUS”. This work is a satire of the art world. The piece occupied the space between fantasy and reality. The fantasy story was a blog written by Fleas titled “FLEA CIRCUS”. At the same time, in the real world there was the installation and performances in Yokohama Toriennale exhibition space. The real Flea Circus. “FLEA CIRCUS” was an ironic and metaphorical story about the Japanese art world. The fleas are artists and the trainer is the curator.
INNER CRUSH SCENE 2005
A newspaper art project. I asked my artist friends who live all over the world to participate in the project. Their work and ideas are the background and the world which I belong to as an artist. I wanted to make a news paper reflecting my world. I did a performance with two other artists in the early morning like normal newspaper delivery. There was no audience.
2006 Painting and Sculpture ... Moving to the U.S.
In 2006, I moved to New York. It was a huge change for me. New York affected my process once again. I was shocked by the American art scene. I saw a lot of master pieces from art history and I witnessed people's reaction to the art publicly. These things I would never seen in Japan. I started to challenge the history of media, painting and sculpture at this point in my life.
Extreme Prelude 2007
I tried to create a dialogue with Iconic and Symbolic Western paintings. I referenced the characters from Goya's and Millet's paintings which related strongly to my emotions. I created my own original characters as well. Two years later, I took the canvas off of the stretcher and showed it like a flag. I have continued to paint in this format.
Hooly Mountain 2008
This is my reaction to the sculptural medium. It is a work that occupied the space between sculpture and bonsai. Bonsai is a format that creates a miniature world in nature. I created a miniature mountain.
Around this time, my themes were based upon the hardships of life. They included Natural disaster, tragedy, and my own personal experiences. I was living in a time of personal struggle. It was a terrible time. But I knew it could be an interesting theme if you could look at it from a distance. I started to realize that my art making is a healing process. This was an important realization for me. There is a cave in this mountain. And I set a secret painting in the cave. The mountain is an important symbol which I need to continue to work on.
2011 Transform Comic ... Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Nuclear Power Plant melt down, Back to Japan
In 2011, a huge Earthquake occurred in Japan. The resulting tsunami devastated a huge area of northern Japan including a Nuclear power plant. At the same time, I made the decision to end 8 years of marriage with a divorce.
I went back to Japan to rethink my life and my art. I was there for one year. It was then that I started to create a daily transformation comic. I worked strongly with my intuition.
The title of this series is ;
There are many inexplicable things in life. 2011
●The story proceeded a page per day and was published on a daily blog.
●The text is bilingual. I quoted it from a English Japanese dictionary and it reflects my feelings.
●All of them were shown in real-time as they were made.
I started to be interested in the effects of intuition.
This mode of creating allows me to go in any direction and select the unexpected way.
New Possibility, surprise, bravery and wit are guiding lights.
Vol.1( total 17 pages) It is made with collage composed of the past drawing pieces.
Vol.2( total 11pieces) I tried a different format.
It is movable and sculptural.
I try to find an interesting way to speak to people.
Vol.3 (12 pages) I tried the simple comic format again.
Vol.4 (6 pieces) I was very happy to reach this format.
Each volume has a different format and characters. In some parallel worlds continues the storyline. I named this format “Transform Comic.” With this format, I have been interested in connecting the 'lack of control' as both an interesting place to make art and a place to draw from.
This work is another daily comic. Title is ;
It was an epoch never to be forgotten in my life. 2011-12
This is also created as a page per day and was shown on a daily blog.
The story was inspired by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. I started with an image of Tsunami.
Then for the second page, I wanted an interesting narrative structure.
I wanted to leave the normal linear structure.
I observed my own feelings day by day and created the story
and witnessed the audience's reaction to it.
I tried to find strong images and symbols with a simple color pallet.
I received an exhibition space. I try to make a sculptural version of the daily transforming work.
This installation work involves
sculptural processes (urethane foam)
The process was the same as the daily comics.
I transformed the shape of the sculpture everyday during the show. For 7 days, I recorded the detail and process of the construction via transformation and demolition, and placed those images on a daily blog. The form of the installation echoed the geographic and psychological impacts of cataclysmic change.
The drawing reminds me Hokusai's Ukiyoe, one of a series of Mount Fuji, with papers flying in the wind.
This is the image of the 7th day.
2014 ~ Personal Mythology
Settlement in the U.S.
After my stay in Japan for a year, I came back to New York.
Around 2014, my environment changed and I felt more stable in the U.S.
I started to explore the Hudson Valley. An area that is located a few hours from NY city. Here the first art movement in U.S. The Hudson River School occurred. The paintings of the Hudson River School inspired me. The themes of America in the 19th century as it moved away from European influence. The themes of discovery, exploration, and settlement.
Village of Oblivion 2014 -15
7' x 13' 3" (7 feet by 13 feet)
This is a painting on canvas without stretcher. The title is “Village of Oblivion”. It is the same size and formant of the painting I created in 2007. I created this painting using the biggest wall in my small apartment. I started with landscapes and animals which I discovered in the Hudson Valley. In the process, the image of the disaster from the Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami appeared. When I saw that the shape of the mountains resembled the face of a frog, I felt really strange. Frog in Japanese is "Kaeru" and it has two meanings : 'frog' and 'going home'. Nostalgia is one of the important emotions that I am interested in.
ODD HOUSE 2015
2' x 2' (2 feet by 4 feet, 2 by 2)
This is an experimental time-based work which I am working on at a specific location in the Hudson Valley. The painted panel has been hung on a tree at a private residence. The painted motifs are of animals known to that area. They are recognized easily by the local population. Once in a while, a new piece is on one of the trees. The work can be seen from a public road, and a lot of people pass by to look at it. It creates a lot of reaction. The local people are excited with the work. They have lived in this area for many generations, and suddenly many artists are moving in. The local people are anxious about this situation. It is a time of transition in the area and an interesting place to put my art work. I have created three works which are all of local animals. I am now working on the next one which will invite more viewers to this interesting story.
I heard frogs croaking last night. Chapter 1 2016
This series is also recent on-going project. I am focused on finding new and interesting structures of narrative by using comic language. Some parallel worlds are connected to each other via “warp” with visual language.
I have discovered many interesting transitional moments and related symbols. I have been trying to find how much and how far I can jump to an unexpected image. There is a lot of space to help viewers imagine.
I am working on this series with all of my personal memories and experiences. I also rely on the influence of comics, movies, fables and art history.
This is Chapter 2. I am not sure how I will find the connection between chapter 1 and chapter 2. But if I work intuitively, it will connect at some point in an interesting way. I am sure of it because of my experiences with the result of the past work. I work hard on each image in front of me and observe the result. I keep working harder to discover and explore each new possibility.
Thank you for your attention.