What influences translate into your art practice?
To me, art is to express social, philosophical or political questions. What I am urged to explore is not about artistic matters but the whole entity of a human being and on-going events around the world. Art does not help people physically or change the world systematically. But I believe that art has a power to make people think, realize or react.
What initially captured your imagination about glass?
I visited an International exhibition of glass in Kanazawa in the early 80S. There were more than 300 glassworks from all over the world. I felt something “new” compared to other subjects such as textiles, ceramics or metalwork. The contemporary glass had just begun to be popular in Japan at that time. It gave me a strong impression of “Global art/craft society”. I imagined that I may be able to be a part of it if I took a glass.
What’s the significance of the handmade to you?
Simply, ”Hand making” is far more intuitive to me than speaking or writing. This is a matter of nature which comes before educations or some sort of training. Using hands can stimulate my mind. And it encourages me to study.
I appreciate a handmade object as well as its story behind. The handmade object is the integration of personal information, knowledge, technologies, materials, skills, local traditions and sociologies. I never refuse mass production or progress of technologies. These days, new technologies can preserve old skills or recover disappeared technical information from the past.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
I am from a Japanese ceramist family. It was natural for me to select a creative profession. What I leant from my family was not only about ceramics but also a kind of attitudes toward dealing with “creativeness” in life.
I have never made a clear decision to be an artist actually. I just continued what I was interested in.
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
I use glass blowing, sandcasting and cold work such as griding, polishing and laminating. These days, I am more often using ceramics and am involved with video making. Beside the glasswork, I am always interested in photography, sculptures and environmental art.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?
My work is becoming more visual orientated (video & photography) rather than creating a still object. Some years ago, I began to have ideas which cannot be accomplished with glass. I get older and get more life experience….. and the world is changing all the time. It is natural for me to see my art work changing. I accept it as evolution.
Art project “My Archaeology” is a ritual art process. Glass objects bring special meanings and values to the project, but they are not a motive to create the project. If the project was described as a film, glass would be one of the important castings. Those objects are made with simple shapes and are rather clumsy. There are no special techniques, aesthetic values and skills involved. Yet, they offer a lot of interesting inputs to the project that only glass can offer because of its archaeological and historical aspect.
My projects may introduce a different perspective to see glass as an art material. And myself, as an artist, I prefer to use a material or a technology which enables me to realize my concept. Also, I always hope to discover something new while I am working with the material or learning the technology.
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I like researching/checking many things. Politics, economy, history, culture, art, design, Manga, films, and any materials and technologies…… And they are the main resource for creating my art concept. Realizing “not knowing” is a great chance to start learning something new. Curiosity is the first motivation to push myself to create art. There is a period that I focus on learning such as reading, writing, experimenting… And I call it a “study period”.
When I was a student, I was advised that good work comes from a good environment and good team work. I work in my room/studio where there is enough space and drawings and test pieces can be scattered. There are some cooperating companies in Europe and Asia where I can work with necessary mediums. It is great to see that my expertise and their know-how are synchronized, and it starts to create new ideas.
Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?
Francis Bacon, Atoni Tapies, Itō Jakuchū, Ryūsei Kishida, Libensky, Richard Deacon, Anthony Caro, Bill Viola.
What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
I was inspired by the speech of the President of Uruguay, José Alberto Mujica Cordano at United Nations Conference in Brazil in 2012. I found this speech by accident in 2015 and it intrigued me to start some art projects such as Pink Copycat Project in 2018.
And I was re-inspired by the speech since the Coronavirus Crisis started. The speech made me reconsider what we need fundamentally for our life, and what I need in my art.
These days, I like old ceramics from the Silk Road period and Buddhism sculpture from the 7th century. And I also like Do Ho Suh’s art project “Almost Home”. The project has roots in his rental room and a lot of important elements come from his experience of being there. Installation in this project is made in thin textile. It is a large construction, actually, but it looks so sensitive, gentle and so delicate. It looks as if it is constructed with one’s memory or unconsciousness…..