Tag Archives: art is psychology

Here Is Your Scarab – Happy Coincidences in Creativity.

Note:
Scarab reference is from a tale about Carl Jung’s synchronicity bits, about his “psychologically inaccessible” patient (“” by me) not buying any of it until a scarab beetle turned up just as she was telling the doc about a dream she had of the very insect and proven his point to her.

“Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know.

The grand thing is to plunge ahead and see what your passion can reveal.”

One night, season unknown, circa 1998.
I placed a worn vinyl on a turntable, as I’ve done so many times since I found the album over a decade ago at a record store cleverly named Pied Piper. It was getting late, getting ready for another day at work, weary, spent, mildly agitated.

Those days I recall feeling like I was running in a dream, my intent racing while my feet stuck in mud. It was around the time I got hit with a spark of inspiration to paint a dragon with fabric dye on a dress without knowing where to start, seemed like a massive undertaking, unsure if I got what it takes, if it’s worth the trouble.

If I pour all I have into it how far will I go? As an artist, as a person. It was the kind of question that triggered my existential dread, that put me in an instant on a remote island afloat in Galaxy somewhere, lightless, alone. No one had the answer, and that included myself.

Up to that point I spent a good portion of my life being kinda sorta artsy. Limitless Freedom, Creativity in the purest sense entails, frightened me into an uncomfortable standstill, agitated, stuck in mud, as I was that evening.

When it came to the last song of the Side A everything stopped. A moment’s pause between the songs turned eternal, a very loud silence. As if the world froze except me and the song to come, commanding my fullest attention.

“Open wide the hymns you hide
You find renown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you’ll say.

About the farmers and the fun
Things behind the sun
People around your head
who say everything’s been said
Movements in your brain
sends you out into the rain.”

And I heard the words as if for the first time, written and sung, as the story goes, by a young man died young before he found his audience, addressing my anguish I could not articulate, as if someone, something used the song – because my heart was open to it, so I can reach within, afraid but aided, and find my own answers.

“Who’ll hear what I say” – the young man sung to me for the thousandth time, but that evening I heard it, humbled by the profoundness of the Creativity itself, perfectly timed, the wisdom, the patience, handing me the assurance I did not know I was ready to receive, shone through the impossibility, the cruelty of life in the society we live in.

“Fill this sieve with sand and you’ll get a dime!!”

Fast forward to year 2021. After many more incidents like the one I just told you about, I picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read ‘one day’ for the past few decades. It was perfect really, it was the end of late summer, finally gave myself what I’ve been promising, a gift of luxurious “Book Time on the Beach”, and I picked up the dystopian novel with hopeful ending. Unexpected though, was to find bunch of “scarabs” in it, right from the get go.

It was also right after I posted a journal entry titled “Stir”, in it I mentioned about my 9yr old art project, how I “no longer know what I am doing” but that “is actually a very good sign that you/r art is getting somewhere.” Not knowing of this variety no longer troubles me as it did in 1998, but I be lying if I said it totally doesn’t. The quote at the top, from the book’s introduction, to me was a sign I’m vibing fine with the Creativity, my Invisible Bestie so better rest assured and enjoy the sunlight. But it didnt end there.

Half way into the book, I found a following line, spoken by the main character, on public transport agitated in anguish.

“Consider the lilies of the field.”

Lilies of the Field, the very wording I’ve used since while back, to call upon the muse of my aforementioned art project, painting in progress, with the method I practiced since 1998, poured as much of myself into it and here I am, in the middle of the year 2 of global confusion trying to paint as fast as humanly possible, while the world methodically closing in on us.

Consider the Lilies of the Field. The line found me, while on the beach with the “tsunami wall” a towering ton of concrete breathing down my back while the Ocean itself reduced, as if, to everyone’s favorite garbage bin with Godzilla lurking somewhere in the deep while waiting, from somewhere down in Mariana trench the answers would emerge, for the questions one can ask only while pushing through the same old mud pit.

Lastly.
By bringing up words and works from the prominent folks in the society, my intention is not to publicly validate my points with them but rather, to use them as a proof that in Creativity, as the Grandest Container in which our society resides, the Spark of Inspiration will permeate through even the faintest hairline cracks, and send its Most Benevolent Beam right into the core of you, piercing the facade of impossibility, rest assured, at your very earliest convenience.

Endnote:

Titles of the book/music are intentionally unmentioned in the main text.

Quotes, except “the lilies” are edited sensibly by myself.

“Open wide…” – Nick Drake (a.k.a. the young man) “ Things Behind the Sun” (1972).

“Don’t tell me…” (p.2), “ Sieve” (p.101) and “Consider…” (p.102) – Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451” (1953)

Re. Tsunami Wall I mentioned – web search “tsunami wall japan” and you’ll find lots of articles and news stories.

My take? I never saw humanity as the land owner of this Planet. According to my book, we are just renting our space in the Very Intelligent Ecosystem. Other lives sharing the place with us. We benefit from them, in fact, can’t keep on without them.

And, I’m saying this with objectivity of a life long cultural outsider with minimum dose of nationalism, Japan is the birth place of the term “Umami” – the delicately vague taste was given a name in this culture. Most often used to describe the flavor of soup stocks from dried fishes / kelps/ mushrooms, Japan has its history deeply rooted in a humble dance with Nature itself. Not to conquer but to dance with. Nature’s lead. Nowadays it’s hard to find food items without “amino acid (MSG that is)” – the lifeless equivalent of Umami.

Once upon a time our ancestors built their homes on 1000+ islands on fault lines with many active volcanos, the sources of hot springs and tsunamis. Modern day first world comforts, like treats we didn’t earn, have seemingly made too many of us, me included, entitled and somehow, paradoxically, disempowered, disconnected from True Generosity, the Ultimate Free Lunch with no strings attached.

History

Conception:
13Oct21 @20:32 JST
Written:
13Dec21 @19:02JST -19Dec21
Published:
19Dec21 @13:36JST
Editions:
25Dec21 – added “(MSG…)” bit.

Individuation is a bitch!! – a postscript.

A Fishing Cormorant with Gardenia.

The wound of the unloved, is that of the human existence. – Peter Schellenbaum

A Fishing Cormorant with an Anklet.

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.
Below you find additional info, in a form of postscript / artist statement. I will keep it short, sweet and straight forward.

Format

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.

Large Sized

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.

Why this subject?

I made a journal post back in July 2016, with a line “#ownyourshadow, it’s a political act.” Felt strongly about it then, and still do to this day – as I continue to notice a seeming increase in reactivity among us humans, the kind that leaves us (figuratively) beating on each other, making us as a whole, weak.

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.

Lastly.

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”

A Fishing Cormorant with Sun Flower.

Photos, all from the Zine, from top:
Career Cormorant, a portrait with Gardenia (2018)
Career Cormorant (Anklet) (2018)
Flower. (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.
Thanks!!

Digital Zine 1: Own Your Shadow

This item is made available thru a trusty service Gumroad. In case the below embedded checkout doesn’t work smoothly (it happens sometimes, depending on your monitor/browser/device) please head directly to my profile on Gumroad:
yukonagai.gumroad.com

– You will receive a download link in your mail box. ( This may take up to several minutes due to the aforementioned purchase stamp on the cover applied as you check out – thank you for your patience! )
– If there be revision(s) in the future, you will be notified with a download link for the revised file.
– PDF is viewable on any device.
The book is created to “make sense” viewed either on vertical or side scroll.
( Viewing examples – Firefox / on your computer: simply drag the file onto your browser, which opens a new tab with the images from the book. Click “>>”on upper right corner and choose your viewing mode. On iPhone: load it on “Book” application for side scroll and index mode. )
– *Photos are optimized for digital viewing at highest possible quality – kept within the reasonably downloadable file size.

To read more on this book, visit: POSTSCRIPT

For information on how your payment is processed, privacy, refunds and other policies and permissions, please head to Store Policy page.

Monochromw Oceanic Horizon

History

Made available again after a short hiatus, on 24Jan23 at 19:00 – with price increased by 50 JPY.
This is to accommodate the hike-up in operational costs of this website/store and simultaneous Japanese yen nose dive. If there be any further change(s), I will be sure to be reasonable about it. Thanks for your understanding.

Where Angels Dare to Tread

Reflection of a woman in camera in a mirror.

“The path of love is a dynamic balance of opposites, a painful creative tension of uncertainties.”

Table surrounded by artworks.
Night sky of Los Angeles with blurry lights.

All photos are of the apartment I lived in in Los Angeles, California, 1997. Initially posted on my website, possibly on MySpace and Flickr as well, around late 2006.

The jacket in the top pic is a meticulously patchworked circuit-board inspired abstract design, precursor to my “Dyed Threads” series. The piece is called “Mao Jacket”, as it was designed after the socialist Chinese uniform, there, my own variety of un-obvious socio-cultual commentary and conceptual twist in their budding stage. The person in mirror is my then-self, to whom I will give a warmest, sweetest bear hug after I’m done writing this.

The fancy text below the photo 1 is a line from “People of the Lie” (M Scott Peck, 1983, p.267, Chapter 7. The Danger and The Hope / A Methodology of Love).

The second from top is a snap shot of my dining table, in small kitchenette by the window where I did lots of stitching. My bestie Sofi who was a canine creature at the time of photographing used to take refuge beneath it. Facing right, half showing is one of my 2D abstract (acrylic on cardboard, 1995-ish), using lines in multiple colors attempting to depict Energy/Movements I see in my mind’s eye.

The last one is the view from the rooftop, taken on one of those warm southern California evening. I moved there in late 1980’s when West Hollywood Oki Dog was still in its original location. When there were not much tall buildings so the sky above greeted everyone open and wide, when the city of Angels itself was the wild side in its own right, offering the likes of me about a ton of spaces to jump in, be silly to the max, and push it to the edge. I am a firm believer that, if aspired to create beauty one cannot just look at pretty things in Light*. I wanted to feel the otherwise, come alive in it, not so that I will rot in a swamp but to survive it somehow and bring the experiences to the creative table where I’d stitch, draw, paint, freely envision while my toes resting on the soft thick coat of the beautiful creation I had the honor to share residence with; a potent reminder of what is True overseeing lovingly, the painfully petit existence of mine.

*Please be noted: what I share here is my experience. Each of us, as you may be well aware, is in charge of keeping oneself safe.
Simply because no-one else can know your strength: psychological, spiritual, physical, emotional and more. Knowing that oneself is hard enough. From my experience tho, my soul/heart would know, and to be guided from within I need only to ask. In order to sense/hear It’s subtle directions however, to the best of my ability, I’ve got to not lie to myself about the realities of my existence. That, between me and Me, I must enough-grasp, at very least not look away from, my own truth. Then I have the best chance at keeping myself “safe” – as Life is not always safe, and clutching onto safety too tightly it seems to negatively affect one’s creative freedom and quite paradoxically, punch security holes in the person’s existential firewall.

History

Published:
13Oct22 @20:32 JST
Edits:
16Oct22 Added the quote in fancy text.