Happy New / Bunny Year!!
Wishing you a truly awesome-to-you 2023,
Yuko the webmaster/artist.
I woke in the middle of the night and seen, in my mind’s eye a flock of swans, would be perfect for the New Year’s greeting card I was designing in my head for a few days. It was like 3am on winter solstice, 2022. When I woke again it was 8 in the morning, opened the window and saw, a flock of swans flying away heading south, just as I imagined.
09Feb23 – additional text about a flock of swans.
“He put his hand in the air and waved at Preston across the dark expanse. It was a crazy kind of wave – done with the whole arm, his hand swinging at the end of it, full of childish exuberance. And as he watched, Preston raised his own arm and waved back.”
Last December. We had 19 more days left in the year. Short walk to the beach I watched a leaf circling in breeze drawing an endless geometric pattern.
“Leaves generate Energy that way.” Suddenly I was not alone. And everything, surrounded, came alive with wings of its own.
The leaf, the movement, the way I felt that day. Stayed with me the whole year. On my mind. In my heart.
Images above best represent my 2022, photographed mostly this year, a few in recent years, except for one, forth from top back in 2005.
The hand-written letters in the pic are typed out just beneath, from Kem Nunn “Tapping The Source” (1984, p.77, No Exit Press).
Just how, a snapshot of my then apartment from 17yrs ago, and an unforgettable paragraph from a book a friend shoved in my hand saying, “you read this.” in as early as 1984, like pieces of the puzzle finding their places in the picture of my life, years later.
Sixth and eighth, of a piece Spider Lily Red – Flare 2, in process, as of September 2022. Flare 1 is completed.
I took a grande break from posting Journals for a year to focus on other things. (Except for these ones: link to UPDATES page)
What is a “father’s day” anyways? All them special dates emerging from somewhere like a circus clown sprinkling magic dust upon us.
And what good would that do to mend our wings if the sky is, in facto may have been, confiscated from us.
We are all alike, and we are all unique. Submit to the latter and you’ll know we are also all alone.
Sky is ours. Future is not set in stone.
When you stand in your own truth withstanding the “uni” of the unique.
And look over there, see another one, and plenty more of us with our wings strong in the sun,
just and only then we will
bring heaven down to earth where it belonged all along.
She was a compact two wheel drive in the modest shade of silver.
Previous owner from western Japan left a cigarette burn on the driver’s seat.
Sales man at the lot remarked on my face, said I look rusted like the car’s old engine.
Purchase was made in autumn 2011, the year everything felt like one big defeat.
Thought nothing good would come from this, turned out couldn’t be further from the truth.
Soon there were nights parked on a sand dune, curled up to hear the endless loop of waves.
We’d ride up the hills, into the storm and rest under the trees, wrapped in their unquestionable resiliency.
Most importantly though, she was a shelter with changing sceneries, encased my shedding, the morphing, the reaching for Creativity.
My humble, sturdy sidekick fell silent in the late February 2020.
“Cocoon spat me out” I said, I felt like a cicada freshly out of his, with soft pale green wings that harden overnight.
100 months in my modest silver cocoon, had brought me to where I always dreamt I’d visit.
We took one long ride together, thousands sunsets enclosed us along the way.
This post is dedicated, an ode to my sidekick, we had parted our ways in early April.
Photos are mostly taken with iPhone, all edited using vsco B5 filter.
All artworks are from the series “Spider Lily Red” (2012 – ).
The second selfie: “one eye” is a happenstance, I am so very much a ‘commoner’.
The sales man did not receive my vendetta; figured him being him would be the punishment enough ;)
Moments lived once, from top. year/month/day/time:
– The first sunrise of the decade.
– That summer I swam a lot in the sea, daily at sundown.
Until I became transparent and merged with the changing colors of the ocean lit by the setting sun.
Like one of them sea creatures in the deep, see-through with neon dots.
– Ocean Cafe, a practice I started in late 2000’s.
Did my “don’t laugh I’m trying to surf” thing around this time as well, the last time before Fukushima blew up.
It was on a moon-lit night, just after it was full. The practice – Night Surf – I started also in late 00’s, fascination and desire to rely solely on my intuition outweighed my fear. I thought it’d make me a better artist.
Not sure if it worked but I haven’t forgotten how I felt: very, very alive.
– “Wing Dress – Velocity” in near completion.
– Light Calligraphy, another naturally emerged “practice” in late 2000’s.
I literally close my eyes and move my camera like a calligraphy brush to “draw” with the light source.
By relying solely on my intuition I thought it’d make me a ….
– Tottori Sand Dune. I got there before sunrise, carrying a sewing body while still dark.
The mini dune sounded intensely quiet, like it does in a desert, especially in those hours.
– Classic Japanese nondescript flip-flops.
A pair carried me to the sea everyday, so worn, I remember even today feeling the bumpy, warm asphalt beneath my soles.
– From the last outdoor swim of the year. I swam so much throughout the summer, sharing the rectangles in the sun with a small group of enthusiasts.
– “Spider Lily Red – Flare 1”, in process.
2017/12/30 time unknown
– “Spider Lily Red – Flare 1”, in association with the ocean.
– On the last day of August I barefooted into the sea, ankle deep in the part of Pacific I’ve known for so long.
The first time since August 2012, a year after the thing blew up.
I was alive again in no time though, like as if I never left.
Like dried wakame reviving itself in water.
– The Last Sunset.
The spectacle at the beach was a gift from The Artist who knows, obviously, how to end the decade with a bang.
Additional Note on “Night Surf” (2020/03/09) :
Possibly redundant but I think worth mentioning is that, accessing the intuition seems easier if I collected enough data, such as, in this case, my strength against the power of the water, the rocks, the depth, the hazards such as sharks. Before hurling myself into the pitch-black water I consulted a fisherman and a surfer knowledgeable about the particular beach, and there on my own made enough mistakes under the sun. The angle of the moon was worth paying attention to as well.
Like a navigation map the human in me wanted to know where I am at, in order to best utilize fear as a fuel so that I could, to my utmost, surrender to the Intuitive.
Panic grows instantly when in the sea. Especially since I was neither skilled nor enlightened, I made sure I was ‘trusting’ enough before each try. Nervous, not frightened, anxious, but excited, eager, than reckless – it is in this longing / resisting I find the spark that enlivens the Creative.
On a walk back from an institutional concrete structure known as a big hospital, I noticed a path through withering weeds, barely beaten, consisting of short uneven steps and pebbly unpaved soil. I turned with my whole torso due to recent neck injury, feeling newly discouraged but still curious, to examine the difficulty level of passing through it.
Being the type to always try a new route, I’d made no exception and carefully taken steps. Immediately I noticed, on dried spikes of stickers a dragonfly, ornamented like a fine art installation waiting to be photographed.
Find!! I thought, with a surge of excitement that I wasn’t as forsaken by luck after all. Carefully I lowered my trunk solely with leg muscles and looked down only with my eye balls, and snapped off the stem in length enough for one of my glass bottles. Just as I started to plan on camera angles however, a surprise slight movement tickled my hand.
The insect, with three out of her four wings got spikes the size of her torso ripping through them, was moving her legs, as if to oppose to my photographic agenda taking place in my head.
No idea how long she had been that way, how had she kept her hope, is she a master of law of attraction, what are the odds of having someone like me, always on a look out for a ‘find’ like her, on foot moving slow, taking a notice of a barely noticeable path, and her predicament?
Out of sheer respect for this chance encounter I, at once, dropped my agenda and gotten to work tackling to break her free with minimum damage to her delicate wings.
As I removed the spikes one by one, she shook her wings off of them, the movement so full of life it was hard to believe she preserved her zeal for however long it took to manifest me.
Turned out one of her wings was more than half gone, another one badly ripped, and my heart sunk, recalling my own, one too many encounters with impossibilities of life. It was a warm day with not even a breeze, and the midday sun encompassed the two of us in a freeze-framed moment, as she rested on my knuckles, freed, facing me. Then with a sudden stamp of her tiny feet and the startling hum of her wings she flew away, leaving the power of her takeoff imprinted on back of my hand, into the field full of silver grasses and their sparkles, as if nothing’s lost, as if to state the most absolutely apparent:
“Broken wings? What broken wings!!”
Neck is nearly healed at the time of this writing (late Dec ’18). I hurt my neck editing photos – stationary for too long in bad “chin forward” posture, pinch nerve, very painful. Forced me on foot for over a month, which, as you can tell, turned out to be quite fruitful.
All photos are from 2018. Bottom two taken during the first sunrise of the year. They are at the bottom because, like waves the dawn always returns, anew, each day.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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