Kanna Arts Matsuri 2018

This view  greets me overtime I return to Onishi. The weather may change but the green and the water are always welcoming.

Onishi, Gunma has a great art residency program with Shiro Oni Studio. The studio and the town are really doing great things to support art. 2018 marks the fourth Kanna Art Matsuri. This festival also showcases the work by the artists in residence during that session.  It’s  a great time to relax, meet people and enjoy looking at and talking about art.

I really enjoyed the residents’ artist talks. In fact, I was so into what they were saying, I forgot to take photos!

As a past artist in residence and being a local-ish artist, I was invited to participate. This year I showed three pieces I took in Onishi during different visits. I printed on washi paper and mounted them on gessoed wood panel.

The chair scene and the glass of plum wine are from a summer I was writing haiku on the second floor of the Shiro Oni Studio’s repurposed old kimono shop called Kinuya.

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My work just before taking it down.
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The Kura of the old sake brewery that hosts Kana Arts Matsuri

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I had a chance to continue my mushroom photo project after I helped with the deinstall. I appreciate the way Shiro Oni Studio gives different ways to work on one’s art practice and also experience nature.

Thanks Shiro Oni Studios and artists for the great art festival!

 

note: edited Nov 3rd, 2018 to put in the correct video–the Sanba River instead of the hedgehog video. Though hedgehog was pretty cute.

Snowfences: My First Solo Show

The Snowfences series was exhibited at The NeiCrescent Moon- Snowfencesghbourhood and Coffee Starbucks Okusawa near Jiyugaoka Station in Tokyo for the month of July. This series had 13 photos ranging from A2 to A5 in size. They were printed on inkjet washi paper. Everything A3 and smaller was printed on Awagami Paper Factory’s Inbe inkjet print paper.

It was a thrill to see my work on the wall. Many thanks to the manager, Nakano-san and the staff who made the experience so wonderful. It’s a beautiful place to hang art.

The photo, Crescent Moon is probably my favourite in the series though I almost didn’t include it.

Most of the photos were taken during a trip through the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana during stormy, almost white-out conditions so the majority of the work in the show is stormy white.

Later during the trip, the sky cleared to reveal this clear moon. This print will continue to be available on my shop.

Below are some photos from the exhibition and the last day. Thanks again Starbucks and Nakano-san for the wonderful experience!

Monogatari: Tokyo Collective’s Second Sequential Art Anthology

Illustrators Julia Nascimento and Erica Ward created ToCo (Tokyo Collective) which produces sequential art anthologies. Julia Nascimento explains, “Erica and I created ToCo to promote collaborative opportunities for local artists and showcase their artwork in storytelling.” The first issue of ToCo, Hajime, came out early Spring 2018. Hajime presents eight different artists’ first impression of Tokyo. I loved the perspective of the artists and their work. I loved Hajime so I was excited to take part in the second issue, Monogatari.

Monogatari is the tale of things. Thirteen artists tell stories of inanimate objects in Tokyo. The variety of art and points of view are impressive.

Release Party: Thanks to Tokyo Chapter and the ToCo team and everyone who came out to support the release of Monogatari. It was great to see so many people looking at and enjoying the work.

Artist Talk: On the last day, artists talked about their work. It was interesting to hear about the what inspired and influenced the artists when creating their stories. The Sequential Art Meetup Group in Tokyo had a meeting after–another chance to meet more artists!

 

 

INTERVIEWS:

I interviewed some of the artists about their creative process and thoughts about sequential art. They will be coming out over the next couple days. I will update the links below when each interview is posted.

Tania Vicedo
Jessica Whitfield

Participating Artists Information
Julia Nascimento http://nsjulia.carbonmade.com
Erica Ward https://ericawardart.com
Tania Vicedo https://taniavicedo.net
Craig Atkinson https://craigatkinson.tokyo/
Carin Ogawa https://www.ogawacarin.com/
Odding Wang http://odding.rocks/
Jess Whitfield  https://www.instagram.com/genki_jess/
Mariko Jesse https://marikojesse.com/
Lori Ono http://loriono.com/
Felipe Kolb Bernardes https://conanfelipe.artstation.com/
Louis-Étienne Vallée https://louisillustration.com/
Chizuko Tanaka http://tanakachizuko.com/
Shingo Nagasaki http://nagasakishingo.com/
Kaori Noda https://nodakaori.tumblr.com/

Upcoming Exhibitions Including my FIRST Solo Show

It’s been a productive time behind the scenes and now the fun stuff! I have three exhibitions coming up in the next couple weeks. Two are group exhibitions and the other is my first SOLO show!

I’ll be posting more about each show in the future, but for now, this is the schedule.

2017 Tokyo Art Book Fair Interview Series of Art Byte Critique Artists: Arthur Huang

Arthur Huang took time out to do a Q &A session for the interview series with Art Byte Critique members participating in the Tokyo Art Book Fair. TABF  runs from October 5 to October 8th.

Name:  Arthur Huang
From:  United States
Time in Japan:  Eight years
Occupation: Artist / Researcher

How many TABF have you participated in?
2017 will be the fourth time that I have participated in the Tokyo Art Book Fair.

How long have you been making books?
I have been making artist’s books and zines off and on for the last four years

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I like to make books which have something unique or unusual in their structure and form.

Do you have favorite materials to use?
I have a fondness for transparent and translucent materials although those materials can be a challenge to translate into book form.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
Finding a balance between content and form like any other creative genre continues to be the biggest challenge for me.  I often struggle with finding a unique form that does not overpower or silence the content of the book.

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I am going to publish the second issue in my Dialogue zine series where I take my practice of Daily Drawings and translate that to book form.  For the second issue, I am going to shrink the size of the zine and focus on the development on one drawing rather than two opposing drawings.  The second issue will be more of an internal dialogue.

I am also going to publish the first 2016 Memory Walks artist book.  I have worked with my Memory Walks project regularly in book form over the last four years.  The sequential and archival nature of that project seems to lend itself well to the book form.  For the 2016 Memory Walks Artist’s Book Project, I will create a series of 12 books, one for each month, which will consist of images from my 2016 Memory Walks eggshell drawings.  The books will hopefully be released each month with the inaugural release being October 2016.  The size and form of the books will resemble and eggshell, that is smaller and round.  That is all I will say about the book itself so as to encourage you to come out to TABF 2017 in October!

What did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?
Every year at the TABF is different.  You never know where your booth is going to be, you cannot control the weather, and you cannot control who buys your books.  I think like any other creative endeavour, I have decided that I will focus on making books and zines that interest me process-wise.

Do you have any art book heroes?
Brian Dettmer and Maya Lin

Do you have any advice for people who want to start making books?
Just start with some blank pieces of paper and learn how to create the book structures you are interested in.  Worst case, you have a spare memo pad in book form, best case, you have an awesome new notebook for yourself.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
It is also helpful to know that other people are working towards the same goal as you.  Ever since the first time ABC participated in the TABF in 2014, there have always been a group of artists that want to work towards the next year’s TABF.  There are also artists who have never made artist’s books or zines that find their way into that world.  And the regular meetings, of course, as it always helps to have deadlines.

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
If you have the time, I suggest going through the entire book fair rather quickly to scout out booths that catch your eye.  On the second pass, take your time visiting booths that pique your interest.  Talk with the artists.  Divide your budget for buying books and zines over the number of days you are planning to visit, so you can buy that last minute discovery.

Learn more about Arthur and his work or follow him on social media:
www.arthurjhuang.com (Website)
arthurjhuang.wordpress.com (Blog)
Instagram: @lifeasaconsumer
Twitter: @lifeasaconsumer

Tokyo Art Book Fair is at Warehouse TERRADA
2-6-10 Higashishinagawa Shinagawa-ku Tokyo

Preview/Reception and Hours and Admission
October 5th (Thu) 15:00-21:00(Tentative)
Admission: 1,000 yen

Free Admission and Hours:
October 6th (Fri) 12:00-20:00
October 7th (Sat) 12:00-20:00
October 8th (Sun) 11:00-19:00

This interview also appears on the Art Byte Critique website.

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Random Photos from TABF 2015

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015 and Kanna Art Festival 2015

It’s been a busy and great art time for me. I’m showing work at two locations. The Tokyo Art Book Fair and the Kanna Art Festival in Onishi Gunma.

The TABF 2015 has been a lot of fun. I’m at a table with the Art Byte Critique Group. I’m exhibiting some work from last year (Estello) and some new books that I made for this fair.

   
 

New work for this year are the 8-Fold books of poetry and illustration.

   
 I also made stab binding  books of holgaroid (a Holga with a Polaroid adapter) photos I did of Minato-Mirai area.

  

At the Kanna Festival I’m showing some pinhole camera photographs I took while snowshoeing in Zao, Yamagata.

   
 

The Kanna Autumn Art Festival runs until Sunday night, September 27 in Onishi, Gunma. Details on the Shiro Oni website.

Short Review of “Japanese Manga, Anime and Games Exhibition” at The National Center of Art Tokyo

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The show is running now until August 31 and tickets are 1000 yen, photography is not allowed on the exhibition.

I have mixed feelings about this show. I’m a manga, anime and game fan and I was really excited to see this show. I saw some favorites like Ghost in the Shell and Detective Conan, and Work by Osamu Tezuka, Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter. I saw some artists I wasn’t familiar with and a bit about 3-D rendering for Grand Tourismo.

I most particularly enjoyed the character development examples and the story boarding for animation.

But this show is also really text heavy and most of the text was in Japanese only. If your reading level is good you will definitely get more out if it. Maybe it was the language barrier, but I felt it had a kind of sterility that the few interactive games didn’t make up for.

If you’re a die-hard fan or otaku, you probably will not find anything new (but who knows). If you’re looking to be educated and expand your knowledge of the field, you need language skills.

Do I regret going? No. I enjoyed the art and the storyboards. I just wasn’t as amazed as I expected. I feel like the show tried to be too broad and maybe lacked depth. Maybe it’s best to say it’s like a primer to the topic.

I’m keen to hear other perspectives of the show. Please let me know what you thought of the exhibition.

The Days After the Art Book (af)Fair. Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014 Review

The 2014 Tokyo Art Book Fair (TABF) has come and gone. It took a lot of work to get ready for it, and it was an intense three days but I enjoyed all of it. Now I just have to sort through the leftovers in n my studio from my book making frenzy.

20140925-000242-162096.jpgA big thank you to every one who visited the Art Byte Critique Group table (H-05), we enjoyed talking to everyone who stopped by. Special thanks to those who purchased some of our work. We ‘re thrilled because we know that there were so many wonderful choices available to you.

To the other TABF contributers and Zinesmate staff, thanks for the community feeling and your hard work. I thought everything ran really smoothly and every contributer ‘s work looked amazing. It was fun to be counted amongst you.

Finally, Art Byte Critique Group, thanks for making the process so efficient and fun. I’m lucky to be a part of this group. It’s inspiring to see what members are up to and the feedback you give on my own work is invaluable.

20140925-000243-163101.jpgWhat Would I Do Differently?
Put prices on things immediately and have cuter price tags. I didn’t want to be pushy by having prices, but I soon realized when I was browsing myself that a price was one of the first things I looked for.

Put a muslin sheet over our work after the day is done. One fellow artist had several books go missing.  And while that could have happened while we were at the booth and the cloth doesn’t lock anything down, I think covering the table gives that sales-are-done-for-the-day feeling and one layer against temptation. I think people at the Book Fair are generally pretty honest.

Have a display rack for photos. It would be great if I could find a small v-shaped poster holder. The photos on the back wall were hard to access and I didn’t have a lot of stock. I’d like people to be able to look more closely at them.

Longer lead time on production. I had my proto-types for the application, but didn’t start producing in earnest until I learned we got accepted and got a table. But not knowing for sure if you get a spot and spending money on production just in case seems like a bad idea.

What Would I Do the Same?
The whole experience! It was great.

Work with Art Byte Critique. I think it is great to share a table with people. I could easily see being overwhelmed and a bit lonely if I were to do this alone.

More Estello! I got a lot  of great feedback on this project. I was a bit hesitant about how Estello would be received  so I made some very simple zines and some A4 posters. While the zines looked good and suited the casual style of Estello, I think I could get something a little better quality with a lower price point if I have a longer production time and spend a bit more.

Talk to people! I got a chance to interview some people at the book fair and to make some contacts. I also got to watch how people perceived my work. So this makes it a bit more useful as a testing ground for new ideas.

Trends
Fellow blogger, Universo Tokyo, asked me if I noticed any trends in the types of  work available this year. This is a tough question. I only attended for a short hour at the end last year, so many things may have already sold.  Like last year, there was a huge variety in the offerings, from high-level professionally done photography coffee table books, to stapled editions of zines. I feel like there were more zines and more hand-made books.

I think another trend was looking instead of buying. I have no idea how this compares to last year. I saw lots of people buying supplies, but proportionally less people buying books and maybe looking around for ideas. Goodness knows there was so much creativity in the building that the urge to start making something really built up.

If you attended, what was your impression of the Art Book Fair? Did you notice any trends?

I did buy a few books…

In Pursuit of “Wabi Sabi”: Chiaki Horikoshi’s Exhibition

2021 NOTE: this article was posted in 2014 and reviews an event at that time

A multimedia artist and cantaor (flamenco singer), a flamenco dancer, and a tea ceremony practitioner all display their skills on the opening night of an art exhibition. Sounds incongruous, doesn’t it? How does fiery flamenco relate to the placid tea ceremony?

horikoshi-poster_webMultimedia artist Chiaki Horikoshi’s makes this connenction in his exhibition “Wabi Sabi Asobi” held in the lobby of the Park Hotel in Shiodome until May 18th. He paints, does installations, creates ceramics and sings flamenco. He divides his time between Japan and Spain. Horikoshi’s pursuit of the concept of wabi sabi isn’t some kind of cultural jumble sale but ties this eclectic mix together and in the process illuminates the concept of wabi sabi and its emotional range. Wabi sabi is one of the more difficult concepts of Japanese art. In a modern design context it roughly equates to Asian shabby chic. But it has deeper roots. It started as a religious concept in Zen. From that point of view it is about learning to live life as it happens, to engage life rather than passively observe it and avoid unnecessary stressors and distractions. To engage this as a practice, one embraces the imperfection of an object as beauty as opposed to fault, to appreciate the changes age brings. To that end, natural objects or materials have more value as they weather and exhibit change. So let’s examine the elements of this opening night and how they illuminate the concept of wabi sabi.

Sadou, The Tea Ceremony

Horikoshi took the wood door of this chashitsu off his own house.
Horikoshi took the wood door of this chashitsu off his own house.

Here we find the installation portion of the exhibition. Horikoshi constructed a cha-shitsu (a tea room) out of mountain trash—sasa branches, logs, rope and grasses. The idea of the installation was to create a respite from the urban world made from natural materials. Both the installation and the materials are impermanent, satisfying the essence of wabi sabi. Inside the cha-shitsu are the standard tatami mats, tea implements and a kakejiku (hanging scroll) painted by Horikoshi. He created the chawan (tea bowls) as well. The lighting at night was dim and relaxing but during the day, light could stream through the gaps in the leaves.

Fuyuko Kobori and Megumi Harada of the Kobori-Enshu school conducted the ceremony. Harada-san conducted the conversation element of the ceremony. During a tea ceremony one should avoid talking about daily hardships or stress. It’s not a place to talk about work. One talks about the seasons, the weather, art or good memories. Though I was unfamiliar with the few required responses and was unable to follow the topics as closely as I liked, I enjoyed the rhythm and flow of the conversation. Watching Kobori-san immerse herself in the motions of making tea was fascinating. The precision, grace and economy of movement while preparing the tea highlighted the experience of drinking bittersweet macha from exquisite bowls. The elegance of the ceremony complimented the oasis of the cha-shitsu.

Fuyuko Kobori performing sadou.
Fuyuko Kobori performing sadou.

The tea ceremony meets the ideals of wabi sabi through the natural materials, the creation of a room and an experience that allows one to focus on completely on the task at hand. Kobori-san and Harada-san will do many more tea ceremonies, but that moment, at that place will never happen again—wabi sabi. The Flamenco I admit, I was dubious about the flamenco, likely because I have a hard time relating to dance. I also thought flamenco was more about pageantry. I was so wrong.

As cantaor, Horikoshi sang two songs. The first was accompanied by guitar. The music was raw, emotional and seemed complete yet spontaneous. I could see how Horikoshi was immersed in his song and the moment. As the cante ricocheted throughout the central atrium of the hotel lobby, I felt keenly grateful that I was present for this moment, gifted with this song. http://instagram.com/p/m327wWuzJD/ The second cante was accompanied by a percussionist instead of a guitarist. This time, flamenco dancer, Yuri Matusmaru, performed. Her dance–no dress, no fan, just a pair of jeans and a long shirt–was flamenco pared down. This was no practiced routine. A friend of the artists told me the performance was improvised. With the song and the dance I was witnessing the artists’ immersion into their work, creating a singular moment never to be captured again. And so flamenco meets the wabi sabi ideals of transience and investment in the moment. We can see this in the final portion of Yuri Matsumaru’s dance in the video below. http://instagram.com/p/lY1376uzCo/

I’m fortunate to know a flamenco dancer, so I asked her if I was making the right connections. Did I see wabi sabi in flamenco? She explained to me that flamenco is at it’s best when an experienced dancer improvises, passionately engages in a moment never to be captured again. She led me to a concept in flamenco called duende. This is the moment where the “spirit of the dance takes over the dancer.” In Spanish folklore duende is a spirit (like Japanese kami I wonder?) that exists as an artist’s muse. Duende is an interesting concept that I’m just beginning to explore. Like wabi sabi, I may never understand “the” definition. But here is the part I find most interesting: with duende, one doesn’t simply surrender to the muse but battles it. I like this idea because that the artist remains in the equation. One surrenders but still retains control. Like the tea ceremony, you find a balance between owning the rules and following the rules. Duende seems to be on the same wavelength as wabi sabi, but on the other end of the spectrum. The concept of wabi sabi and duende exist on a continuum of artistic expression and immersion into the moment. Sadou exemplifies an immersion into the rhythm or rules and ritual to create a transitory moment of experience and flamenco has an immersion into emotion and self-expression through dance and song to create a different kind of transitory, a one-of-a-kind moment.

Note: Kobori Enshu will hold another tea ceremony on May 11th. There will be several sessions. Chiaki Horikoshi will participate in the evening ceremony and give an artist’s talk. The evening session costs a bit more but also includes sake! You can reserve a spot at http://fuyukokobori.com/category/upcoming-events/.

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