All posts by Yuko Nagai

Sky Is Ours.

A bird wing and photographic prints of ocean horizons.

Photo: Your Horizons, a diptych (2016)

Truest Tears are those of Gratitude.
– My Dad

What is a “father’s day” anyways? All them special dates emerging from somewhere like a circus clown sprinkling magic dust upon us.
And what good would that do to mend our wings if the sky is, in facto may have been, confiscated from us.
We are all alike, and we are all unique. Submit to the latter and you’ll know we are also all alone.

Sky is ours. Future is not set in stone.
When you stand in your own truth withstanding the “uni” of the unique.
And look over there, see another one, and plenty more of us with our wings strong in the sun,
just and only then we will
bring heaven down to earth where it belonged all along.

Monochrome Diary, May 2020.

Black and white macro photograph of sea shells.
Black and white photograph of an abstract line drawing.
Black and white photograph of a wave.
Black and white photograph of an artist at work.

Cocoon.

She was a compact two wheel drive in the modest shade of silver.
Previous owner from western Japan left a cigarette burn on the driver’s seat.
Sales man at the lot remarked on my face, said I look rusted like the car’s old engine.
Purchase was made in autumn 2011, the year everything felt like one big defeat.

Thought nothing good would come from this, turned out couldn’t be further from the truth.
Soon there were nights parked on a sand dune, curled up to hear the endless loop of waves.
We’d ride up the hills, into the storm and rest under the trees, wrapped in their unquestionable resiliency.
Most importantly though, she was a shelter with changing sceneries, encased my shedding, the morphing, the reaching for Creativity.

My humble, sturdy sidekick fell silent in the late February 2020.
“Cocoon spat me out” I said, I felt like a cicada freshly out of his, with soft pale green wings that harden overnight.
100 months in my modest silver cocoon, had brought me to where I always dreamt I’d visit.
We took one long ride together, thousands sunsets enclosed us along the way.

Grainy monochrome photograph of a wave.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a journal, hand and rain patterns.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a windshield, sky and a driver.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a windshield, rain and a tree.
Grainy monochrome photograph of an abstract drawing, shadow, light.
Grainy monochrome photograph of Ocean in moonlight.
Grainy monochrome photograph of gardenia flowers.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a drawing and a sewing mannequin.
Grainy monochrome photograph of rain on a windshield.
Grainy monochrome photograph of swans and water surface.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a gardenia bouquet in studio.
Grainy monochrome self portrait on the road.
Grainy monochrome photograph of art work in progress.
Grainy monochrome self portrait on the road.
Grainy monochrome photograph of artist studio.
Grainy monochrome photograph of a parked car at dusk.

This post is dedicated, an ode to my sidekick, we had parted our ways in early April.
Photos are mostly taken with iPhone, all edited using vsco B5 filter.
All artworks are from the series “Spider Lily Red” (2012 – ).
The second selfie: “one eye” is a happenstance, I am so very much a ‘commoner’.
The sales man did not receive my vendetta; figured him being him would be the punishment enough ;)

True Visions

Winter Ocean Waves with a Leaf overlay.

A little belated; Happy New Decade!!!

Above is the first photo I post online in the new decade. Of a leaf I found one day in mid January, on the ground I was walking, lit up with a special Nudge I’ve learned not to ignore.

A moment before that I was dragging my feet lamenting on my photography fatigue, gazed down which turned out to be a good thing because, the Leaf, as the Grade A Plus abstract art, catapulted me out of the enthusiasm desert.

Photographed is the Leaf’s reverse side. The shiny side has the chicest colors but I’m not posting it because, I am pretty certain you can find a leaf at where you are, a Leaf just as potent, even if you live in a most desolate inner city.

And also, much like that: you always have You, under any circumstances. Yes you do, a Leaf and You, and are way more than enough to ignite the unfolding of Your Visions. Your Truth.

P.S.
Special thanks to The Oceana, photographed on my 56th birthday in late January. I now hear you, your Waves, always, even when I am away.

Trinity.

2010’s: A Decade in Review.

The First Sunrise of 2010's, an ocean view.

Summer 2010, Sea at Sundown.
Coffee on the beach; autumn waves; nature as an inspiration; cre
Wing Dress, detail, in process.
Wing Dress, a feather detail, in process.
Wing Dress, acid dye on silk, an assembly process.
Experimental Ocean, a light calligraphy with the moon.
Wing Dress, process, at summer dawn, on sand dune.
Winter Flip Flops, in snowfall.
Abstract Swim, an underwater geometry.
Spider Lily Red, an abstract petal, process.
Spider Lily Red, acid dye on silk, installation.
Walk on the beach at sundown.

The Last Sunset of 2010’s, ocean waves in gold.

Moments lived once, from top. year/month/day/time:

2010/01/01 07:13
– The first sunrise of the decade.

2010/09/06 17:58
– That summer I swam a lot in the sea, daily at sundown.
Until I became transparent and merged with the changing colors of the ocean lit by the setting sun.
Like one of them sea creatures in the deep, see-through with neon dots.

2010/11/26 11:03
– Ocean Cafe, a practice I started in late 2000’s.
Did my “don’t laugh I’m trying to surf” thing around this time as well, the last time before Fukushima blew up.
It was on a moon-lit night, just after it was full. The practice – Night Surf – I started also in late 00’s, fascination and desire to rely solely on my intuition outweighed my fear. I thought it’d make me a better artist.
Not sure if it worked but I haven’t forgotten how I felt: very, very alive.

2011/01/28 15:19
2011/01/22 14:18
2011/02/09 14:27
– “Wing Dress – Velocity” in near completion.

2011/02/18 17:56
– Light Calligraphy, another naturally emerged “practice” in late 2000’s.
I literally close my eyes and move my camera like a calligraphy brush to “draw” with the light source.
By relying solely on my intuition I thought it’d make me a ….

2011/08/28 06:10
– Tottori Sand Dune. I got there before sunrise, carrying a sewing body while still dark.
The mini dune sounded intensely quiet, like it does in a desert, especially in those hours.

2011/02/11 16:15
– Classic Japanese nondescript flip-flops.
A pair carried me to the sea everyday, so worn, I remember even today feeling the bumpy, warm asphalt beneath my soles.

2019/09/10 15:58
– From the last outdoor swim of the year. I swam so much throughout the summer, sharing the rectangles in the sun with a small group of enthusiasts.

2017/05/24 17:11
– “Spider Lily Red – Flare 1”, in process.

2017/12/30 time unknown
– “Spider Lily Red – Flare 1”, in association with the ocean.

2019/08/31 18:01
– On the last day of August I barefooted into the sea, ankle deep in the part of Pacific I’ve known for so long.
The first time since August 2012, a year after the thing blew up.
I was alive again in no time though, like as if I never left.
Like dried wakame reviving itself in water.

2019/12/31 16:15
– The Last Sunset.
The spectacle at the beach was a gift from The Artist who knows, obviously, how to end the decade with a bang.

Additional Note on “Night Surf” (2020/03/09) :

Possibly redundant but I think worth mentioning is that, accessing the intuition seems easier if I collected enough data, such as, in this case, my strength against the power of the water, the rocks, the depth, the hazards such as sharks. Before hurling myself into the pitch-black water I consulted a fisherman and a surfer knowledgeable about the particular beach, and there on my own made enough mistakes under the sun. The angle of the moon was worth paying attention to as well.

Like a navigation map the human in me wanted to know where I am at, in order to best utilize fear as a fuel so that I could, to my utmost, surrender to the Intuitive.

Moreover.
Panic grows instantly when in the sea. Especially since I was neither skilled nor enlightened, I made sure I was ‘trusting’ enough before each try. Nervous, not frightened, anxious, but excited, eager, than reckless – it is in this longing / resisting I find the spark that enlivens the Creative.