Tag Archives: self-portrait


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.

A wave on a cloudy beach.
Windshield rain shadows on a journal.
Cloudy sky through a driver seat.
A tree in rain through a windshield.
An abstract drawing in afternoon light.
Night Ocean.
Gardenia blossoms obstructed by leaves.
Artworks in a studio.
A windshield pattern on rainy drive.
Swans against water ripples.
A gardenia bouquet in an artist studio.
A self portrait on a curved mirror.
Textile art work in studio.
A rear view mirror self portrait.
Works in progress in artist studio.
A car parked on a rural road at dusk.

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 ;)

Work in Progress.

Japanese Apricot blossoms detail.
Artist in studio.

Time flies, but you are the pilot.
– KLM Airlines paper napkin.

Japanese Apricot calyx detail.

The pilot, during a break after a long flight through fine and foul, low fuels, engine troubles, and turbulences with oxygen masks dangling – there also had been a few instances of emergency landings (details withheld) – is photographed on her recent 55th birthday, striking a “mountain peak pose” standing amidst papers for a project named “Spider Lily Red“, with a bouquet of Bunchflower Daffodils, sandwiched by pictures of Japanese Apricot, the first two to start off the seasons of scented blossoms.
She is captured donning a dyed jacket, one of her earlier creations, and a smile that turned up impromptu, as she pondered upon the monumental tasks, the project and the flight, both work in progress, much like the pilot.

Thank you for your visit, and here’s to your monumental flight!!

FAQ: What took you so long?

The year in review.

Port view from a car window.
Hydrangea from a car window.
Ocean front sunset.
A curved mirror self portrait.

August 10, 2017. A day before Mountains Day, a national holiday only a few years old, I hopped on my little scarred Honda and headed out roughly towards west. Compelled by the briefness of summer, I wanted to absorb the scorching of the season as much as humanly possible.

A Spider Lily Blossom at dawn.
A Spider Lily Petal detail.

Soon after somehow I took the turn I did not plan. General direction is right I said, my motto for a game I call “intentionally getting lost”. Just so long as I won’t miss out on the precious August sun for too long.
Well the path rode into the forest and quickly narrowed, to a single lane just wide enough for my compact. Winding as a large serpent would, on and on through the thick of woods that blocked even the brightest of the light. “Always a screw up, destined to miss.” An inner dialogue took the passenger’s seat like an inseparable old friend and worse yet at each hairpin, I grew deeper in agreement with her.

A lily bouquet by a car window.
A coffee cup by the ocean.

Then quite suddenly the serpent spat me out, into the bursting of the summer where I found a community probably the smallest I’ve ever seen. Tacked away in a valley between mountains are just a handful of housing structures, only some inhabited, lives held together with artful display of faded woods and rusted tins. Face to face with the unfolding quiet gem, with midday asphalt beneath my feet, I found myself alone in a place where leaves can be heard, streams carry life, the sun warms your shoulders and butterflies are free.

Art work in progress.
A coffee cup at a port.

Zine One (Revisited)

A small sculpted wood.
Head lights in a wing mirror.
An artist's hand.

All photographed in 2015.
The photo 1 and 5, respectively:
A Wing (1996) – wood, silver.
An Ally (2014) – self portrait (as a child), pencil on paper, detail.
(Please allow me to lightheartedly add: ‘one eye’ is a happenstance.)

A small bird.
A pencil drawing of a child and a bird.

Back in May 2015, I did a post titled “Zine One”. At that time I was psyched to put together images of what I made up until then like a casual portfolio and bind them into something between a magazine and a photo book, something creative while keeping it easy and informal. I tested a few printing options and got kind of disappointed with all. So I dropped the whole thing and deleted the post :(

Fast forward to December 2016, while I was not looking the idea revived itself. to create a series of small booklets with a personal touch and pack them with the excitement of creativity bit. Photos are the ones loosely in consideration for the issue one, put together as an experiment with a new spin. (What I picked in May’15 turned into a photo series. )

Thank you for your visit. Keep warm if applicable, stay cool, and enjoy the festivities!!

Additional note: Entry edited – shortened – on June 10, 2018, while the idea still alive in back burner. Time flies; savor the fruits. :)

Artist at Work, July 2016.

Artist in Studio.

Sat, sipped, pondered: will this look okay in red? July 11, 2016, a moment before diving in.
The project in question: Spider Lily Red, at a delicate transition from pencil-on-paper to acid-dye-on-silk.

Artist at work, 2005, Kawasaki.

Artist at work.

“Is it ‘flowing’?”
Yours truly, trying on one of her prototypes, which, a year later, became a piece called “Aqua Dragon Dress 2”. What she’s standing in is called “pre-relocation mess”.
Autumn 2005, Kawasaki, Japan.

An Ally, a process.

“An Ally”, self portrait as a child – 2014, pencil on paper.

Face of a child drawn by pencil in progress.
May 10, 2014

Face of a child drawn by pencil in progress, with a quote.
May 11, 2014

“Souls who are closely related in one lifetime tend to meet in another lifetime. If the relationship was one of love, then the love persists. If one of enmity, enmity must be overcome. If one of obligation, the obligation must be met.”

Face of a child drawn by pencil.
May 16, 2014 (completed)

Top photo is made public for the first time, the two others uploaded to Flickr around the same time as were taken.
The words in the middle photo is supposedly (ie. I wasn’t present when he did) uttered by Edgar Cayce, jotted down years ago as they appeared in a 70’s film.

This is drawn from a photo of me circa 1974.

As seen in the first photo, initially me the girl was looking directly at you. Then I was inspired to add a bird, a fragment of it, and as I added the “winged messenger”, somehow the girl’s eyes progressed into the gaze-into-space look.
It was not intentional; I was in the flow so to speak, that’s what took me there.

I harbored a rather uncanny intention since quite early on, that stated itself firmly, “this time around I am going to choose all my educational materials. I will feed myself only what I feel drawn to and see what kind of person I am gonna turn into. It’s an experiment!!”

This time around. That’s right, you heard me right.

No, I dunno what that means. Several decades since, haven’t figured out the secret of the Universe just yet.

However, there have been handful plus instances / recollections of the similar sentiment, that tells me not only of the possible multiple lifetimes bit but also of me having memories of the future. Which made me ask a very uncomfortable question: how does the ‘time’ work then?*

I was a thinking kid, gazing into the space looking for answers.

Several decades since, as a solution to my such predicament I’ve developed skill set of letting the question marks hang in the air so I can gaze upon them like they are flashy Christmas ornaments.

I’ll know what’s what when I’m done with the “this time around”.

Until then, I be busy with the physicality of me; the ways they make me feel, the colors, the flavors, of despair, of delight, the sand beneath my feet, a chocolate I wasngonna eat. Fatigued by gossipy rural Japan towns people**, comforted by a small number of you who support me/my work***…

My heart that sunk, may soar again any minute. I came back, just perhaps, to arrive at the most important question of my life: how does it feel to come alive, to savor it all, to birth again and again into the purity of the moment as if nothing could deter me, nothing could taint me.

Grammatically incorrect, the last sentence does not end with a question mark; they’d all gone out of stock, every single one of them.

*”There is only one time. There is no timeline you cannot rise above and see the entire timeline and every part of it is alive.” – John Van Auken, Edgar Cayce Foundation, on Ed’s take on the subject of time, from a YouTube video about Atlantis that I cannot find. Interesting input I thought, who wouldn’t want to hang more question marks.
**Just thought I’d throw that in there, as the issue seems to trouble too many people. Lemme propose this important idea: your assumptions about me reveal more about you. And wrong is wrong, even if everyone around you is doing it.
***Just so that you know; you are profusely thanked by me without your knowledge.

Written: November 08 – 30, 2022.
Published on: November 30, 2022 at 18:19 JST.

December 08, 2022 at 14:11-20:11 JST.
Edited out the film name from the paragraph 1. For the following reason but also, to simplify. Objectivity oft. arrives with a lag.

Prior to publishing this post I somehow didn’t think to double-check the movie plot as I usually would, to make sure that the mentioning of it won’t sound like I am passive-aggressively ill-wishing someone. Although not an angel, I don’t go there with myself, I take care so that I don’t have to. I was thinking about how ‘karma’, for lack of a better term, too often gets repeated as if nothing could be resolved. “Collective learned helplessness” may as well be the term. And from that place we then end up striking at each other…

Furthermore, the internet seems to have descended into a hotbed of trolls, haters, and otherwise very nosy people. Understandably as a result, many of us may have grown jumpy-tender-triggered weary. But here’s the thing:
It wasn’t like we were living in utopia until internet. Rather, the net brought our woundedness to the fore, more so than ever. In my line of thinking, that then means an opportunity. For there, in every wound is a seed, no matter how deep / old the cut, of our potentiality to become more, than ever before because of it.

In any case there are so much more to the story, anyone’s life story, than meets the eye, and those who take sickly interest in someone else’s life might really wanna have a look, instead at your self. You may eventually find your best friend lookin’ right back at you. Yes, you may be that lucky after all.

Self Reflection 1986

Self portrait on a convex mirror.

First posted on Myspace (it was fun there, learned a lot, thanks!!) in July 2008, the photo was taken around 1986 in my apartment in central Tokyo. In case you wonder, that is me in the reflection.

My 20’s was in 1980’s, and I spent large portion of the decade pretending I was in the 1960’s, thinking there was a genuine “creative””cultural””explosion”happening in the era I thought I “missed out” on.

The convex round mirror has a person’s name on it, the scribble was acquired at a meet and greet of a band I thought was very cool to “get”, looking back, I was falling in a trap of validating my coolness by liking a socially well recognized (but not too well, cuz you see, obscurity is also cool) figure in one of the “creative field”.

Trouble with the stance is that, the moment you out source your existential dilemma you end up compromising your creative freedom. But no worries, if you deeply desire such freedom Life will conspire and arrange circumstances that will catapult you out of such dependency. May hurt a bit but totally worth it.
My story, anyways. Took a bit while like everything else that is worthwhile to attain. Lemme quote myself…

“No more heroes; everybody off the pedestal.”
– me, a status on Myspace, 2006.

Published on February 16, last edited March 14, 2021.

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.


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