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.

onishi-shiro-oni-studio-kanna-autumn-art-festival-lori-ono
My work just before taking it down.
onishi-shiro-oni-studio-kura-lori-ono
The Kura of the old sake brewery that hosts Kana Arts Matsuri

onishi-shiro-oni-studio-mushrooms-lori-ono

 

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.

Onishi summer matsuri

Over the last couple years since I did a short artist residency in Onishi in Gunma Prefecture, I’ve been lucky enough to attend the summer matsuri. This is a super short post since I’ve written about it before, but I found these pictures from 2015 the other day and it brought back great memories of hot summers, community solidarity and friendliness. I hope I can take more pictures this summer.

 

Thanks ONISHI!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Interview with Catriona Robertson

Portrait of Catriona Robertson in front of a white tile wall.Location: currently living in London
Job: Instructor at Central St. Martin’s

 

 

Tell me about your medium and your work.
Mostly, recently, 3-D sculpture. I work a lot with lights. My paintings relate to current 3D sculpture. Right now I’m really into the bamboo. I go into the forest to collect bamboo. I had a mini-explosion when I got here gathering material then seeing what forms it would take.

What is your current project?
I saw people using bamboo everywhere for all sorts of things. I’m interested in using bamboo as a structure.

**We talked about Catriona’s current bamboo and cement sculptures and that she’s pushing the limits of how tall she can make it and different processes for creating finishes and colors. She is also doing a series of mixed media collages in green using cut bamboo for printmaking. I forgot to photograph it. 😦 **

Tell me about the metal and light sculpture:

The metal is from a local metal scrap yard dealer. It was really interesting to see what happens to the metal, seeing it all piled up. I’m really attracted to circles and shiny things.

Why did you choose Shiro Oni?
I was looking for a place far from London, a quiet place where I could focus. I wanted a challenge with language and a rural area.

So what do you think of it here?
I liked the festival.* People are really welcoming. I particularly liked the lights [on the yatai or floats for the festival]. The train is easy because the stops are announced in English but the bus is hard. It can be difficult to get materials.

Check out more of Catriona’s work at www.catrionarobertston.co.uk.

catriona-robertson-6-webCatriona’s End of Residency Show is on July 7/25-26 at Shiro Oni Studio
370-1401 Gunma Fujioka Onishi 529 Japan
http://www.shirooni.com/about/directions/

How to Get to Shiro Oni From Tokyo (train and bus)

  • Tokyo -> Honjo Station 本庄駅 on JR Takasaki Line (I like to take Shonan Shinjuku Liner because it goes straight to Honjo)
    • fare about 1660 depending on originating station
  • Use South Exit.
  • Take the bus which stops in front of the 7-11., bus leaves about once an hour
  • Get off at Onishi Yubinkyoku Mae (鬼石郵便局前)**. Bus fare is 660 yen.
  • Walk about five minutes to Shiro Oni Residency main building, Kinuya.

*The Shiro Oni artists in residence practiced and prepared with their Onishi neighbors pulling the yatai (festival float) and playing taiko for the Onishi Summer Matsuri

**If you use a train navigation app you can enter the kanji and it will give you the departure times for the bus from Honjo.

Artist Interview with Daniela Arias

Daniela Arias at work in her studio in Kotoriya

From: Patagonia, Argentina, currently Buenos Aires

Currently: Illustrator for graphic design and editorial.

 

Tell me about your work and your medium?
I started in graphic design and moved into illustration. Mostly I use water color and pencil on paper. I like lines. I paint as if I’m using drawing material.

I love illustrating. When I imagine something it’s like a comic. I imagine things in panels. I think I don’t communicate very well. What I do is like a bridge. If I have a pencil I can draw and I feel like people can understand who I am or what I am thinking. But I think whoever is making art is doing that.

daniela-arias-5-webInteresting Point that Daniela Made During Our Discussion
We make what we make to understand who we were before this moment. What makes us the way we are now.

Why did you choose to come to Japan.?
I’m a big Japan fan. I wanted to come to Japan for ten years. I really like that in Japan people talk about anime and manga and it’s not just for children. Even adults have a favorite Studio Ghibli movie.

Why did you choose Shiro Oni?

I decided that when I come to Japan I wanted to have a real taste of what it is like to live in Japan. I like what Shiro Oni is trying to accomplish. It was great to participate in the culture here. I’m in the matsuri (festival) not just taking pictures of it.*

daniela-arias-1-webWhat are you working on now?
I planned to do an illustrated travelogue. After meeting local people. I changed my idea. I want to make short stories, fantasy-style recollections of my travels. I also want to do some portraits–not a real life style. I like drawing people the way I remember them.

Find out more about Daniela’s work on her website:
www.behance.net/dani-arias

Daniela’s End of Residency Show is on July 7/25-26 at Shiro Oni Studio
370-1401 Gunma Fujioka Onishi 529 Japan
http://www.shirooni.com/about/directions/

daniela-arias-4-webHow to Get to Shiro Oni From Tokyo (train and bus)

  • Tokyo -> Honjo Station 本庄駅 on JR Takasaki Line (I like to take Shonan Shinjuku Liner because it goes straight to Honjo)
    • fare about 1660 depending on originating station
  • Use South Exit.
  • Take the bus which stops in front of the 7-11., bus leaves about once an hour
  • Get off at Onishi Yubinkyoku Mae (鬼石郵便局前)**. Bus fare is 660 yen.
  • Walk about five minutes to Shiro Oni Residency main building, Kinuya.

*The Shiro Oni artists in residence practiced and prepared with their Onishi neighbors pulling the yatai and playing taiko for the Onishi Summer Matsuri

**If you use a train navigation app you can enter the kanji and it will give you the departure times for the bus from Honjo.

Artist Interview with Teresa Currera

Theresa Currea at her desk.

 

Based In:  Columbia
Job: Full time artist with a tiny studio in Bogata.

 

Tell me about your work and your medium.
The majority of my work is with cut paper and different aspects of drawing, working with space and layers incorporating 3-D elements. I also do large size drawing and makes 3-D fabric versions of my illustrations.

Theresa Currea illustration cut out work in progress.

Why did you come to Japan?
In 1989 or 1990, a full package of Japanese shows from Japan came to Columbia about travel, food and entertainment. This has influenced my generation but older generation sees this but doesn’t understand the influence and don’t like it. Japanese artists have had a big influence on artists in Columbia. I always wanted to come here to see why. Isamu Noguchi, Takeshi Murakami, Hayao Miyazaki. I’m interested in Japanese paperwork and Japanese paper.

Why did you choose Shiro Oni Residency?
I won a prize to get money to attend a residency. I had one opportunity at the moment and wanted to go as far away as possible.

Interesting Point Theresa Made During Our Discussion

The artist has one question and tries to answer it with different methods and materials. This is the most important part for an artist when travelling to find different ways to answer that question.

What is your project here?

I started in January 2014. It’s inspired by the structures that living creatures use to protect themselves–camouflage, shells, hair, exoskeletons.

illustrated paper cut-outs on a string.Explore more of Theresa’s work on her website:
www.teresacurrea.com

Theresa’s End of Residency Show is on July 7/25-26 at Shiro Oni Studio
• 370-1401 Gunma Fujioka Onishi 529 Japan
http://www.shirooni.com/about/directions/

Going To Shiro Oni From Tokyo (train and bus)
• Tokyo ->Honjo Station 本庄駅 on JR Takasaki Line (I like to take Shonan Shinjuku Liner because it goes straight to Honjo) (fare about 1660 depending on original station)
• Use South Exit.
• Take the bus which stops in front of the 7-11., bus leaves about once an hour
• Get off at Onishi Yubinkyoku Mae (鬼石郵便局前). Bus fare is 660 yen.
• Walk about five minutes to Shiro Oni Residency main building, Kinuya.

Artist Interview with Rukhe Neelofer Zaidi

rukhe-Neelofer-Zaidi-2-webFrom: Lahore, Pakistan
Currently: University Lecturer, Art Curriculum Director for large school system.

Tell me about your work and your medium.
I started in gouache/tempura. I changed because it was difficult to preserve the work. I changed to acrylic. I want a 2-D flat effect. I use a gouache approach to acrylic.

I first started by doing figures from above angle but recently interested in flora and fauna. I was inspired to change from figures to plants, when I started my own balcony garden. I most use my houseplants to create jungle scenes.

rukhe-Neelofer-Zaidi-1_webWhat’s your project here?
I’m working on a four-panel painting of a landscape (composite) inspired by the screens (fusuma). I’m really inspired by these leaves. I’ve never seen them before.

Why did you choose Shiro Oni?
I came because I’m interested in Japan and on the map, this looked close to Tokyo.

Local Inspiration/Observations
Japanese people are politest people on Earth, but reserved.
Communal living aspect is tough for me. I’m not sued to it.

rukhe-Neelofer-Zaidi-5bw-web
After talking about creating art curriculum and teaching we talked about challenges for art in schools in Pakistan. Rukhe said the biggest lack for developing artists in Pakistan is the lack of art curriculum, museums and galleries. Art in school is sometimes considered a “free period.”

 

Find out more about Rukhe’s work on her her Facebook page.
___________

rukhe-4-webRukhe’s End of Residency Show is on July 7/25-26 at Shiro Oni Studio
• 370-1401 Gunma Fujioka Onishi 529 Japan
http://www.shirooni.com/about/directions/

How to Get to Shiro Oni From Tokyo (train and bus)
• Tokyo -> Honjo Station (本庄駅) on JR Takasaki Line
• fare about 1660 depending on original station
(I like to take Shonan Shinjuku Liner because it goes straight to Honjo)
• Use South Exit of Honjo
• Take the bus which stops in front of the 7-11., bus leaves about once an hour
• Get off at Onishi Yubinkyoku Mae (鬼石郵便局前). Bus fare is 660 yen.
• Walk about five minutes to Shiro Oni Residency main building, Kinuya.

 

 

**photos by Lori Ono at Shiro Oni Art Residency

蛍: More Fireflies From Last Week

Last weekend I was in Onishi, Gunma and took some firefly photos at a river near town. These photos were taken further up river on the Kami Kawa on Sakurayama. Kjell Hahn, of Shiro Oni Studios, was a great host and drove me and fellow artist Delphine, up in the evening. He also provided some head lanterns and katori senko (mosquito coils). I didn’t realize how much they would be needed. To the naked eye, the river area was pitch dark. It wasn’t far from the car to the river but with the long, wet grass and head lanterns lighting the way, footing was a bit of an adventure. I’m sure my innate clumsiness factored somewhat. We found a slow, shallow part in the river and I set up Kjell’s tripod (See? I really wasn’t planning to night shoot when I packed for the weekend) and started shooting.


I’m fairly happy with the photos given the camera. I hadn’t known about fireflies in this area so I only had a Canon Eos M. The bulb function seems to require pressing down on the shutter button until time to release it which rather defeats the purpose of a tripod and long exposure. I used a 2 second timer and 30 second exposure at a high ISO to capture images. The result is extremely noisy but I’d rather have a photo than no photo. Still, it was a lot of fun and an interesting challenge to get my camera to meet the challenges of this condition.

I brought a flash to add some detail to the landscape but even at low power it was too harsh. I did better with light painting parts of the foreground with a flashlight. So that was a good experiment. I was kind of surprised at the sky color. Last week’s photos had odd lighting from  the bridge  and highway lights. These photos didn’t have the same issue, but I’m wondering if light pollution from the nearby town was a factor, given the overcast weather that night.

Hotaru 蛍 Fireflies

I’m back in Onishi, Gunma for a few days visiting Shiro Oni Studios where I did a photography residency in April. Fireflies are on my mind. The photos look like a collection of darkness until you click them to enlarge. Fireflies, hotaru, are increasingly rare in Japan. The places they can be seen are decreasing and their numbers are smaller as years go by. These ones didn’t come out until it was full dark, around 7:45.

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