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.
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.
“It is in the struggle between good and evil that life has its meaning.”
Collaborative works with The Artist, who did the photographed pieces, all ocean-worn, collected in recent weeks.
Magnificent time working with You, always.
“….and in the hope that goodness can succeed.”
Scott Peck, People of the Lie (p.266-7).
Life is like a waterslide, you jump in with a bang, tossed around with gusto and then spat out, into the splashes catching the summer sun, bursting into laughter like blue sky saying,
“it was really fun, let’s do that again!!”
This post is dedicated to my two special friends, one entered, the other exited in July,
to their unforgettable bang/gusto/laughter now imprinted in my heart where I create, I try to, from.
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.
Photo 1,3,9,11 – Japanese Apricot, also known as Ume, in various stages of development.
5,6,7 – Bunchflower Daffodil, Narcissus Tazetta in Latin. Dries pretty (6 and 7).
Both flowers are in full bloom as of now, impeccably designed by The Artist I follow very closely.
2,4,6,8,10 – Are my stuff I’m working on called “Spider Lily Red – Flare 2”. Well where’s the red? That’s coming up next.
References: Spider Lily Red – Flare 1 (completed), the drawing traced in the photos above (also completed) and the progress of the project (has been documented since 2012).
Hope this post finds you well – thank you for stopping by.
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.
Thank you for your visit!
The Ocean’s been doing its fiery thing since yesterday, attracting a small group of devotees either with photography gears or surf boards. The capture is from today, January 2nd, just after sundown.
Somehow words are failing to express my wishes for the year ahead. The Ocean and my camera kindly bypassed the tongue-tied this evening and spelled them all out on the image above.
Above: post steam set (the high-heat, steam-not-water procedure is outsourced to craftsmen in Tokyo who mostly work with kimono clients), red dye now bright and alive. Approx.120 things I secretly feared would go wrong, one of which being overdoing the dye, meaning way too many dye particles sitting upon fabric grain, from which a major trouble certainly results, a mistake I once made in 2003, did not happen. Dyed surface now stable, time for me to relax.
Below: a macro shot of a spider lily petal, the muse for the above piece I’ve been working on, photographed as I discovered its magic back in Fall 2014.
Firstly, thank you!! to those of you who signed up for my newsletter, also for your kind notes and generous words. Please know you have my appreciation.
Above: Dream Lily (Nine), one of the very first photos I took of spider lily petals – a visual memo I made back in late 2012, of ideas for the dress series to emerge.
Below: fast forward several years. Spider Lily Red – Flare 1 (the series and its first piece), acid dye on silk, process, detail, photographed on 15th of July, a day after I stopped painting on the piece – there was nothing more to add.
Looking back to where it began before stepping into the remaining 2 percent, crossing my fingers.
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.