May 05, 2019, the day the last petals fell from the cherry tree outside my window, I opened a new bottle of red acid dye and dissolved a small portion in a tiny plastic container. It’s the beginning of a long painting process, starting with tracing of the previously-done drawing on the wrong side of silk stretch satin.
In the early part of the process, as seen in the photo below of a newly traced pattern, the piece would look quite unpromising. Being the only person who sees the potential in the work-in-progress, it is up to what faith I got left in me to bring the vision of what it can be onto the surface which, at least for an initial while, appears to be nothing but a far cry.
I’ve been driven to bring into existence the two-piece series I named “Spider Lily Red – Flare”. Will I still be going through this even if no one else in this world would dig it? (ouch!!) The answer is ever-emphatic yes.
I’d do it for the Beauty, the kind that is all-enveloping, synonymous with words like ‘Timeless’ and ‘Truth’, because It touched me again and again and again, in a way I do not know how else to say “Thank You” to.
Quote / hashtag by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Haven’t read the book though – I found it on instagram.
Photo 1,5,7 – Spanish Bluebell, captured macro in various stages of progression.
3 – Violet, bold and vibrant.
4 – Hyacinth, dried petals and the part that held the seed.
2 and 6 – ‘Spider Lily Red – Flare”, in the aforementioned initial stages, with inspirative Spanish Bluebells.
The wound of the unloved, is that of the human existence. – Peter Schellenbaum
After contemplating and experimenting on various available options (since May 2015), I made the first Zine, in digital format, earlier this month (November 2018).
It is available for purchase here at the Store section of this site.
Below you find additional info, in a form of postscript / artist statement. I will keep it short, sweet and straight forward.
PDF – viewable on any and all devices.
Aspect ratio – 2:3 (as 35mm films – I felt it is the optimal balance for this issue’s gentle monochromatic look).
Put out independently – ie. outside the ISBN system – like a flower in the field, I’d say (smiles).
In the future I may make available in other formats / ratios, or even with ISBN. But for now, above is the middle ground I decided to place the book on.
That being said…my ears are open to your suggestions and requests, and I appreciate heads ups.
Grey and Grey
All photos were (re)edited in October – November, 2018.
Pure whites / solid blacks were mostly eliminated from the black and white images – they seemed too immutable to me. While editing, I was thinking of soft, understated sheen from graphite pencils, as the suitable range of tones for telling this particular tale.
Both in dimensions (1600 x 2400 pixels) and in file size (nearly 20mb for 20 pages). Images are web-optimized but left in high quality, in hopes they’d carry all the nuances I had woven in in those grains.
The subject matter – the psychological process of individuating – comes with much subtleties. I made a clumsy attempt at including, as much as possible, what cannot be adequately expressed otherwise.
This book is meant as a gesture, of my sharing hopes and encouragements, for the blossoming of us, the mankind, and the beauty of our individual uniquenesses, when fully owned, would truly unite us.
Are you Individuated?
Years ago I embarked upon an escape route from the state of deep discontent and ended up falling for the process itself.
In other words, I no longer care where I’m at on an individuation scale of 1-10. Try to figure that one out, I discovered thru trials and fails, I’d end up tripping on a type of self consciousness, which acts as an enemy to my creativity.
I only know, and talk about what I experienced. I intend to stick with the stance to the best of my ability.
I dedicate this book to a special friend who left the human plane last July, no doubt to be joined, on the other side, by her “partner in crime” – if courage motivated by love is a crime in this realm, by quoting from a book I found in her storage back in 1994, in Sun Land, California, where I spent a pivotal few, fortunate years immersed in desert sunsets and coyote howls, sensing there is, within myself a seed, I alone could water.
How can I believe there’s a butterfly inside me when all I see is a fuzzy worm? – Trina Paulus “Hope for the Flowers”
Photos, all from the Zine, from top:
Career Cormorant, a portrait with Gardenia (2018)
Career Cormorant (Anklet) (2018)
P.P.S. I am not a master marketer – in fact I suck at sales pitch. If you happened upon this page and think you know a soul or two who may like this book, please help me out by letting them know it exists.
Your support as such is muchas appreciated.
All recent images, photographed as winter turned spring, from top:
Photo 1 – Weeping Peach (Shidare Momo), a bud, blooming in still chilly early April.(… hence the fur cap?)
3 – Camellia, they drop the whole flower, as if letting petals go one by one like most everyone else is too cumbersome.
5 – Gingko leaf, curly dried. I think of details like this one, astronomical many of them, that I don’t get to have a look at, as every leaf dries with different curls, lit by ever-changing light.
6 and 9 – Praying Mantis, also dried, caught my eye while parking my car lightly resting on asphalt as a fine sculpture, because, it simply is.
7 – Cherry Blossom (Somei Yoshino), a sepal. At a park I discovered this year with three impressive cherry trees that attracts so many birds (they all chirp non stop) during 2 weeks of blooming, yet very small number of humans. Many days I solo-nicked*, spent time brings me smile recalling.
11 – Violet, also abundant at the same park as picture 7.
2, 4, 8, 10, 12 – Close details of Spider Lily Red – Flare 1. Drawn with nearly a hair of a brush, filling in bumpy edges to form smooth flowing lines. That’s how I attempt to bring the painting closer to the True Artistry evident in above images, knowing full well I will never surpass, which, defeat as such I mean, somehow makes my heart warm in all the right ways.
*Solo-nic is a made-up word I just came up with, so as to mess with other people’s language. But really, it’s the act of spontaneous lone picnicking I recommend to anyone with ears open, just so long as the land you’re about to occupy is safe and legally permissive.
Morro Bay, 1995, further north of where the soon-to-be-fully-contained fire is at the moment. Bottom photo was taken by a friend of mine who also did the driving throughout our care-free road trip along the coast line. As you can see, she caught me in the perfect Kodak moment tilting the famous Morro rock.
Images were photographed with a single-use, most probably water resistant camera I used a lot in those days, and casually handed over for processing at local Target. Back then I didn’t think much of my creative inclinations, in fact I thought of them as the source of all my troubles and in most part I treated them accordingly.
Many years later in 2012, I decided to pamper my creativity with a high-end film scanner (rented), and discovered the negatives in progressed decay. Lines, scratches and uneven colors, they hinted at everything that happens only once.
Now, in December 2017, as California finds itself in flames again, I dug up the photos and gave them the suitable “vintage postcard” edit, then messed them up a bit, to near the creative disaster. Why, it’s a play, to be slightly off balance so your foot no choice lands forward. Well I was thinking of California I know, the foreign land always felt like a well worn pair, appreciating every minute I spent, submerged in the air of adventurousness and experimentation the land so eagerly, and effortlessly permits.
September 1996, Los Angeles, north east San Fernando Valley, mildly Mexican* neighborhood. The flat expanse with wide, uncrowded streets evenly lit by dry desert sun.
The place I rented, a garage of a little house, a loft-like mini shelter for me and my canine friend Sophia, stood next to a rectangle swimming pool the landlady tirelessly cleaned. Separated by sort-of lawn was a main house, with two rooms for rent, both occupied.
The other end of mi mini casa was a neighbor’s yard, where serious mariachi parties took place thankfully not too often, complete with a set of super woofer speakers you’d find in night clubs. How I knew? I snuck a peek tiptoed over a sloppy stack of cinder blocks stood between me and the fiesta.
So, the place I rented. In one of the rooms in the main house, the one adjacent to the Mariachi’s, lived a petite lady, a tipsy intellectual. Told me she was a wine taster trained in France, in the kitchen we shared, in a stained XL tee, a stemmed glass in her hand, held as if she was standing under a chandelier.
Then suddenly one day she had a boyfriend. I recognized him from the 711 corner across the street, hanging with alert eyes, in business transactions, the back alley type of deal. From there things progressed rapidly and it was not long before I found him in our kitchen, a new resident in the honeymoon phase. Soon after I took refuge in a living room at my friend’s nearby.
My friend, he lived on the Avenue Quiet only a few blocks from the Villa Mariachi, with his ailing wife and a lady who was there to help her out. Their generosity to welcome me in along with a rather large, wise but energetic dog into a full house is worth a mention, but it didn’t end there. He, a sculptor in hiatus, offered me the full use of his studio.
“You are an artist”, I wasn’t that convinced but he proclaimed anyways. “Artist makes art.”
That was the only string attached to the offer.
All his sculptures were made from wood, abstract with true substance. Used to exhibit, said he, did well for a long time. Something held me back from asking what changed all that.
The studio was originally, again, a garage. No light entered from the California sun but I could feel the heat. Tables, tools, wood scraps. Works half done, paused. All sat still gathering dust.
I was not certain of my ability to carve or to sustain my interest. Where is my fiesta? Besides, it was sunny outside. As I began to gather dust myself, a book, its title, caught my eye.
“Abstraction in Nature”
The three words made all the sense in the world. I knew exactly what they meant but had no idea until then it was something to write a book about. It was enough to get me started though.
Carve, sand, buffer. Shapes began to appear. As if there were ideas floating about waiting to be caught by the next available human.
I spent about a month and a half at the Sculptor’s, before moving over the hill to Hollywood, the place I so missed all the while I lived in the Valley. The milder sun and some fiestas, but most notably, walks on Sunset with ever proud Sophia strutting past girls in 7 inch heels working the Boulevard. Strangely though, now in 2017, I get just as excited google-earthing the Valley, if not more.
The things I absorbed in the Sculptor’s studio seemed to have gone dormant for a long while after that but looking back, I think, maybe that wasn’t so. You see, those things never really quit on you.
In fact, I have reasons to believe they had gone ahead and nurtured themselves while waiting, years of waiting, of dropping hints, nudging with intrigues, for this human and her next available moment.
I finished total of 8 pieces during my stay at the Sculptor’s, and got 3 more on pause. For this post I photographed four of them arranged with masterpieces made by someone else.
Lastly, I wrote this as a tribute, to my sculptor friend who’s passing I learned only several days ago, and to ‘Abstraction in Nature’ who definitely never quits, crystallizes into elements large and minuscule everything there is to life: the feast, the knife, and the whole enchilada.
*In considering the current – as of March 2017 – trend of Mex bashing in U.S., I’d like to add:
“Colors” of the characters are intentionally unmentioned (hint: there are 4 in the post). I went to Angeles with no prior knowledge of Mexican culture, or how Chicanos (or Japanese for that matter) are positioned in the society. Mariachi blast landed on a blank canvas. Growing up in Japan I did not face discrimination based on color, nor do I have a strong inclination toward seeking my identity through the culture I was raised in, and that is where I am coming from, just an observer of the – our – human condition.