Artist Interview: Mia O

Mia O is a Korean mokuhanga artist and painter based in Tokyo. You can read more about her on her bio page.

Is there a book or a film that influenced you?
Two books that have recently impacted me are Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and Sapiens by Yuval Harari. These books have expanded my vision, inspiring my growing interest in history, philosophy, and anthropology.

Do you have a favourite artist? I have many favourite artists, which are constantly changing, according to what I am working on. The artists who are always at the top of my list are Jakuchu, Ufan Lee, Cy Twombly, Andy Goldsworthy and James Turrell. 

Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
When I arrive at my studio, I write a note detailing the very least that I should do on that day. Most of time, when I am finished in the studio, I complete what I have written.

Where is your favorite place to do work? Do you have a dedicated workspace.
I used to work at home, which was sometimes distracting for me. Last year, I found a small space in my neighborhood. Since then, even if I spend only a small amount of time there, I am able to focus my mind entirely on my work.

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
For In The Details, I am exhibiting my acrylic paintings on paper. Although many people know me for my work in Mokuhanga, I have been painting in acrylics for over 20 years, and acrylic painting has been the inspiration for my work in Mokuhanga. 
Currently, I am adding a lot of water to the acrylic paint, so that it acts more like watercolor. I want to capture of drooling of the paint on the smooth paper surface. 

Could you talk about your creative process for responding to the theme of In The Details? Did your idea come to you right away? Did you have to experiment a lot?
When I work, I usually don’t think about a theme. For over 10 years, my practice has been driven by concepts of landscape, so my work naturally fit the theme of this exhibition. As with most artists, I constantly seek new imagery. These paintings represent approximately 8-9 months of physically expressing my conceptual ideas. I never know how long a painting will take me to finish.

Sometimes inspiration strikes and everything comes together just as imagined and other times inspiration is just a starting place. How close is your finished piece to what you first imagined?
For me, making art is like an experience where you don’t know what will come out at the end. If you know the results ahead of time, the experience is not as exciting. Sometimes, even what may seem like mistakes are driven to nice directions; the painting becomes a journey. I’m very satisfied with my paintings in this exhibition.



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