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Moving to Japan

July 3, 2015

It has been a while since I have updated my news here, sorry about that! In March I made the move to Tokyo to do life and art over here. It has been a bit of a whirl wind but I absolutely love it here and have some upcoming events I will post about imminently! But first a little explanation...

Since I was very young I was given studio Ghibli films to watch rather than Disney and had my first mochi at six years old, it was like eating a little sugary cloud, wrapped in a pillow that looked like a character from one of my Nintendo games. I was hooked on Japanese culture. Over the years the history, art, culture, philosophy and aesthetics of Japan have been enormously influential on my work and my world view more generally. I have visited Japan before and it never felt like enough time, I could have spent weeks for example just looking around the Sanjūsangen-dō, the Buddhist temple in Kyoto, which has 1,000 life size statues of the deity the Thousand armed Kannon.

I have known for a long time that the divide between craft and the fine arts is not so defined here, in Japan there is great respect for the process and skill in creating work. As a result I have found that in Japan they see and appreciate so much more of the human aspect of the work. There is a desire to see how someone created something and a joy in understanding the time taken to learn the craft and produce the object. I thought being around people who see and feel this way would have an inetersting influence on my work, but I have also been hoping to learn new skills in the crafts that are practised here, as much as is possible in the time I have here anyway.

The connection and relationship with nature for people here is also an enormous part of everyday life and one of the reasons I came. Japanese festivals are centred around natural events and seasons. I was very lucky to have moved and settled in just as the cherry blossom came out in Tokyo and the whole city was celebrating, eating, drinking and enjoying the blossoming and dying of these bursts of colour that fill the city then disperse like pink snow flakes with every gust of wind. This cherry blossom viewing is called Hanami, another word I love in Japanese is hanabi, which is 'fireworks' but is literally 'flowery fire', wherever you look the language is so evocative of this love of nature.

I wanted to be in a place where people love making things and live, even in the city, with nature as part of their lives. I hope to travel around and see much more of the countryside proper but for now I have exhibition prep! That will be my next post!

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