Artist Interview: Mariko Jesse

Mariko is an illustrator and printmaker. She’s been part of Art Byte Collective for a year. In this interview she talks about color, artists and her studio practice.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette?
I tend to use organic colours in my work, like browns, greens and reds, but I like adding little details of bright pink and yellow.

Do you have a favourite artist?
I love artists whose work is unlike mine, but make me think in a new way, or surprise me and inspire me conceptually, eg. Howard Hodgkin, Cornelia Parker, Richard Wentworth, and James Turrell. I’m also inspired by illustrators, such as Tove Jansson, Quentin Blake and Laura Carlin.

Explain your work in up to 40 words.
I’m an illustrator and printmaker, working in etching and mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock), and my prints are generally small and delicate. Being Eurasian, my work explores ideas about sense of place, belonging and mixed heritage. 

Do you pursue any themes? If so, what?
My work often features ceramics, specifically chinaware concerning tea. Tea, and its visual history, is endlessly fascinating to me. I’m inspired by ordinary things, like the teacups we use every day.

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
I can only start making prints when the studio or place I’m working is completely clean and tidy. It quickly becomes chaotic, but it has to start tidy!

Where is your favorite place to do work? Do you have a dedicated workspace or routine?
Working in the print studio is one of my favourite things. It’s a separate environment from my daily life, and I’m then able to shift my mind into a creative mode. I do my illustration work in a design studio, but love making prints in a space where I can make a mess!

Do you do any research and what kind if you do?
I always do research before starting any project or artwork. Usually it’s visual research, in the form of sketches from museum or library visits. I sketch all the time, and my many sketchbooks become my inspiration and source of information.

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I made my first print at around 4 years old; a monoprint made at kindergarden, but formally learned etching at art college. I studied mokuhanga in 2004 in Japan.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
There’s something special about printmaking, an element of chance, that I absolutely love. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but just as often it can be perfect! I’m concentrating on mokuhanga at the moment, and looking forward to experimenting more.

What would you like people to know about your work.
My works are prints, which means they are part of an edition of a certain number, but as I usually work into my prints individually afterwards, in a variety of ways, they then become unique pieces, and not part of an edition. That’s why they are usually marked 1/1. 

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Artist Interview: Ling Liu

Ling Liu is based in Yokohama and is part of Launch Pad Gallery. She studied printmaking in San Francisco. In this interview, Ling talks about her work and the emotional process and sometimes unpredictable nature of printmaking.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette? 
Teal and Purple.

Do you have a favourite artist?
Robert Rauschenberg 

Explain your work in up to 40 words.
Transferring the images of my primitive emotions that pop up in my mind but no words in any language can describe them for me. 

How do you know if an idea needs is working, needs revision or needs to be abandoned?
I go by my gut feeling.

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I’ve been a fine art printmaker since 1997. Working mainly in Monotype since 2006.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
I enjoy printmaking’s unpredictable nature. You don’t know the result till you print the image on to a paper no matter how hard you work on the plates. The moment of pulling is suspenseful but when the image turns out good, it makes me super happy.

Artist Interview: Patty Hudak

Patty Hudak in her Tokyo studio

Patty Hudak is an American painter currently studying mokuhanga. She has recently returned to the United States after living in Asia for over a decade. She describes her work as “concerned with expressing the space between my human anxiety and the wisdom I am trying to uncover from the natural forms around me.” Find more about Patty Hudak and her response to the theme “in the details” on her bio page.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette? 
Pure, dark black—the way shadow shapes create structural skeletons across a surface.

Do you have a favourite artist?
Some of my favorite artists are in this exhibition. I love the simple, yet powerful drips in Mia O’s work. I’m inspired by Arthur Huang‘s persistence as recorded in the conviction of his line. Yuko Kamei’s expansion of her dance practice into visual symbols reminds me that connection into the visual world can come through other forms of perception.

Explain your work in up to 40 words.
My work is trying to make sense between influences from the East and West; where does calligraphy meet abstract expressionism? How do natural forms and phenomena influence structures in art? Can we create images whose pattern becomes disordered, in a way, create the beauty and power of the natural world, without directly imitating it?

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
My best studio days include 30 minutes of observational drawing, formatting the drawings, clearing my mind, then painting from a place of emptiness. 

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? After spending twelve years in 3 of Asia’s largest cities, I am now living in a small rural community in the northern USA. For the past year, I have been communicating through illogical or non intellectual means as I immerse myself in the forest around me. I try to feel and sense my reaction, without words, what my body is emoting from being in these spaces. Sometimes, I stand and feel the sensations, without trying to capture it in any way. The shapes and colors in my work are directly derived from these somatic experiences.

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?
Imagination works perfectly; with art, it’s not always that way. Materials create limitations. What I create is a collaboration between my intentions and how the materials respond. This is the most exciting part of the process— the dance between my mind and the materials that I am working on. 

Artist Interview: Deanna Gabiga

Studio Mood: Above & Beyond’s We Are All We Need

Deanna Gabiga is an interdisciplinary artist working in metals, fiber, and photography. Most recently from the amazing islands of Hawai’i, she has returned to Japan with a greatly expanded collection of textile artwork.

Explain your work in up to 40 words:
My artwork revolves around textiles; the creation of, the deconstruction of, the transformation of, and recreation of entirely new textiles. From a single line of fibers and/or metals, I create beautiful textiles while telling a story. These stories are of personal experiences or something I have witnessed in my travels. These textiles I stitch together and then examined more closely, often with macro photography which in turn provides material to create more textiles in yet another form.

What do you like about working with textiles and what are its challenges?
A single thread becomes another and another and in its infinity and multiplicity a story comes together. Combining these infinite threads creates more colors and the palette in which I explore becomes larger. Endangered Oceans is a piece in which I explore color. Blues; warm tropical blues to the deeper and darker ocean blues. I have spent my life not likeing the color blue, yet when I moved to Hawai’i, blue became a fascination for me. I felt like I saw the color blue for the first time and much of my work most recently has been around the color blue, its various facets, including what it represents.

What inspired you to create Endangered Oceans?
My life and travels as an adult have been surrounded by ocean and each place I go it is common to see ghost netting washing ashore and entangling with wildlife. It is ubiquitous. Destroying so much more than the fish it was originally meant to capture. Endangered Oceans represents the gorgeous blues I have encountered, the bright pops of corals, and the sparkling flashes of fish. You can see the ghost netting floating in the layers of ocean waters, hiding under it’s gorgeous waves.

Which artist has most inspired you?
Moving from jewelry design into wire crochet sculptural pieces has been the right path for me. Inspired by the crochet installation works of Arline Fisch I saw in a magazine article, I immediately started to learn how to crochet. Funny enough, it turns out a majority of her work is simply using a crochet hook to pull simple loops of the wire through other loops on a previous row. Yes, this is crochet but I had in my mind from the poor picture quality that the complete stitches and patterns were used as if one was making a scarf or hat. In this way I accidentally created my own style of wire crochet work. I did meet Arline a couple of times when I was living in San Diego, CA. and found her to be the consumate teacher. Peppering me with questions about my work and giving me vital advice regarding healthy long-term care of my hands & wrists to just giving me great sources for materials completely unprompted.

What additional activities will you be providing during In The Details?
On, Tuesday, Jan 30, from 1:00 – 3:00PM, I will be providing a small fiber demonstration/workshop on the technique I used to create Endangered Oceans. Please sign up in advance at studio deanna (at) me (dot) com. There are only a total of (4) spots available. The workshop will be ¥3,000/person and will include all materials necessary to create a small work of art.


studiodeanna.com

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.

 

Artist Interview: Kit Pancoast Nagamura

Kit Pancoast Nagamura is a professional photographer and award winning haiku poet. You can find out more about Kit on her bio page. In this interview Kit talks about her photography practice and the challenges of being a photographer in the social media age.

Do you have a favorite color or color palette?
Until recently, I’ve never thought about a photographic palette, because that seemed a contrived World-of-Instagram kind of thought, where it’s common to wash over images with one shade or another so that they all play nicely together like designer furniture. To me, things are the color that they are, and if I’m shooting a subject, the real color is the color I favor.  I find that certain dirty pinks and some sun-faded dance hall greens appeal. Deep moonlit blues, and golds send me, too.  But, really? It’s red that is the ultimate challenge, the siren call, and when I find it, I’m a slave to it.  

Do you have a favorite artist?
There are hundreds of artists that I love, and they have all had an impact on how and what I see in the world. But, if I’m allowed to limit the list to photographers, these are the ones I go back to again and again to study:

Eugène Atget, Man Ray, Henri Cartier Bresson, and Edward Weston are ones no longer with us, and living influences include Sebastião Salgado, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rinko Kawauchi, and Sally Mann.

How do you know if an idea needs is working, needs revision or needs to be abandoned?
There’s a dance around this, usually.  At times I can be absolutely certain, even as the shutter releases, that a shot will need no adjustment.  Other times a really good shot surprises me, leaping out of the dross, from hundreds of “frames of frustration.” My rule of thumb is to not quit until I get what I came for, unless it starts to rain hard or go pitch black. There are times I go home disappointed, in the dark.  Other days the shot is right in front of me, at eye level, and I’m done. When I review work, I’ll usually find a couple of shots (usually) that are solid; a great shot, though, comes along a few times a year. Occasionally I’ll try to fix or jigger a slightly off shot, but 99% of the time, this a risky, because overworking a photograph with filters and adjustments is all too easy to do, and people can see and sense it.  I’ll abandon any photo which I cannot use for reporting, memory assist, experimentation, or which doesn’t make me say “Wow!”  

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
My habit is to shoot every single day.  I read up on techniques, keep up on technical advances in equipment, study gallery shows, and pray at Shinto shrines, but the real lynchpin in my practice is just that: practice. Every day.  

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I’ve been shooting professionally for about 20 years. First ten years were all film, and the more recent ten have been digital.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
Photography in Japan, where nearly everyone over the age of three has a camera, is a genuine challenge.  I love challenges, and I love the world of photographers here. People say photography is easy, and there’s nothing creative about it, but put 50 trained photographers in a room with one subject and they will find 50 different approaches and produce images that are expressive of their style.  That fascinates me. But with so many wielding smart phones, pocket cameras, and massive top-of-the-line DSLRs, to stake out a signature visual hallmark that resonates with viewers requires that one dig deep, and work very hard. I’m game.  

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?
“In the Details” is actually a theme that I and a group of female photographers were tossing around when considering a group show two years ago. So the thematic idea came naturally to me; I’ve spent about a decade focusing on details, which is one of the jobs and joys of a photographer. I was thrilled to know that painters, fabric artists, and sculptors could run with the concept. For most artists, the devil is in the details, but heaven is there too.

What would you like people to know about your work?
In much of my work, my hope is that people will initially suck in a deep breath and think, “Hey, that’s gorgeous, but what is it?” But then, as they look more closely, I hope to lead the gaze into a realm of dialogue.  What is going on there, exactly?  Is there a writing form that plants use to appeal to our senses?  Do tendrils reach out to one another in order to strengthen their position or to offer up something in trade for our gaze? Are the structures we build amazing or mazes from which we cannot escape? In some cases, capturing the natural world in a moment of transcendence is enough for me to want to show work. In others, I feel it’s useful to examine the human element in structures, patterns. and shadows, of our world. We learn from what disturbs or intrigues us.

Artist Interview: Lori Ono

portrait of Lori Ono at Tama River

Lori Ono is a Canadian photographer, illustrator and writer. You can read more about her on her bio page. In this interview she talks about some of her inspirations and how she created her work for In The Details.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette? 
I gravitate to black and white, but when I go for color, I often find I’m working with aqua in some combination. I also love orange with blues. Lately purple, chartreuse and charcoal call to me.

Do you have a favourite artist? 
For photography I like Edward Burtynsky and Gregory Crewdson. Burtynsky for his scale and Crewdson for his cinematic staging. I adore classic photographers such as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Eugène Atget  and Ihei Kimura.

I also like Tim Burton and Quentin Blake. I like their humour and that messy style– cute with a hint of something… dark. It looks easy to do, but it’s not. Their drawings have a freedom and looseness I like. I struggle with not being obsessed with precision. I’d like to see that humor and looseness in my photography.

Do you pursue any themes? If so what?
I feel like a little leaf blown around by the wind of creativity. I‘m interested in almost everything. Lately I’m fascinated by mushrooms. When I look at my work, I see an examination of hidden things, hidden moments, or the ignored. I’m always looking for the underside, the hidden world, or the hidden pattern. My work also has what a friend generously called a “lyrical melancholy.”   

How do you know if an idea needs is working, needs revision or needs to be abandoned?
I struggle with that. I’m looking forward to reading my colleagues’ answers. All I can say is that if it bores me, I can’t expect it to intrigue someone else. 

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
Habits and rituals are goals for 2019! 😉 

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I’ve been doing photography for about15 years.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
I love the immediacy of photography and the way you manipulate and create moods. A darkroom space is challenging in terms of space and price.  Digital photography allows artists more flexibility. I think it’s easier to make handmade photo books or try out different analogue processes by adding digital elements.

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?
Burtynsky’s landscapes really inspired me. From the high arial perspective, you notice some really unique patterns and colors. So the idea of changing perspective to examine something intrigued me. I don’t have a drone so I decided on macro-photography. A lot of my recent work has been about mushrooms so that meshed well. The gills reminded me of ocean waves but also the sandstone formation the Wave in  Coyote Buttes which is on the Arizona-Utah border.

Sourcing mushrooms to photograph was challenging. Mushroom gills have interesting patterns, but mushrooms with large gills were hard to find. I expected I’d have to make a specialty order. Finding the large porcini mushrooms at my local yao-ya was a pleasant, and eventually tasty, surprise.