In anticipation of Wild Wild East
Opening Saturday, November 14th 2009, 7-11pm at The Shooting Gallery
When Yumiko Kayukawa’s paintings arrived in a large wooden box this week, we frantically held them to the light. The level of detail and precision in this body of work is phenomenal, no matter the size of the painting. In Yumiko’s Jungle Book fantasy, Mogley is played by a long legged and pouty-lipped young woman who softens the wild spirits of tigers and sharks. She invents harmonious scenes that carry undertones of sexuality, mischief, and perhaps even escapism. But enough from us, we’ll let the artist tell you about her work. Read on to find out why Yumiko left Japan, how much time she spends painting, and why she identifies so strongly with lions, tigers and bears.
Shooting Gallery: When and where are you most likely to spark an idea for a painting?
Yumiko Kayukawa: Ideas come from my feeling at any moment in my life.
Something I hope or enjoy, something that impressed me; feeling sad, mad or wondering.
They are also from scenes of a movie or lyrics from songs.
Also as you know I’m a big animal/nature fan, many ideas comes up when I see them in the nature or a wildlife TV show.
These recent years, since I moved from Japan to the US, I have a different feeling than I had before.
Every day is discovering, challenging and adventure. This new life definitely gives me the ideas, too.
What material do you work with?
I use acrylic and ink on canvas or wood board.
Do you sketch out each painting before you put the brush down?
Yes I do. I sketch on a paper first, then trace it on a canvas or wood board.
Are long hours painting in the studio an obligation, or a reward?
Both. Painting is always is a lot of effort. I can’t make any piece without effort and it’s physically hard, too.
But the sense of fulfillment to finishing a piece and just looking at the painting – nothing compares.
Will you ever incorporate English words into your paintings?
Maybe. “MANGA Art” makes sense?
Are many other Japanese artists doing the same style of work as you are?
I haven’t researched it seriously, and I’m afraid to say it’s the “same style” as mine, but I see Japanese and American artists painting ‘a girl and animals’ more and more these days.
Which contemporary painters do you relate to most?
I have some artists I like, but I have no good answer for “relate.”
How much time do you spend on each painting?
Big pieces take about 200 hours, and small pieces are about 40 hours.
Why did you move to Seattle? Will you stay?
Since I visited Seattle for the first time, I really like this city.
I grew up in a small town in the countryside and I can’t find my peace in a big city.
Seattle is just the perfect size for me and a good balance of city and nature.
Has living in the States affected your perception of American culture? Has it affected the subject matter or style of your paintings?
Yes, as I answered for the first question,
I have big “?” for many times in my life because of the living in 2 cultures.
I was inspired by American/Western culture a lot when I grew up, but still I can tell that what I saw before and now is different. I can see my home country more clearly from the out side, and there are big differences between these two countries.
I guess this feeling is going to be an important theme for my art in the future.
What do you like about predatory animals?
I love wolves and tigers specially. They are beautiful, and seriously KAWAII for me. But I also have sympathy for them, for being misunderstood. They are pushed to a sad place in history.
If you could be an animal for a day, which would you choose?
A bird, the fruit eating kind (hunting is too much work). I want to try to fly.
Where will you take your next vacation?
It’s gonna be Japan. I haven’t have a chance to going home this year, so I hope to go next year.
What do you do when you aren’t painting?
I love to watch movies, listen to music and read.
How do you want people to feel when they walk away from your paintings?
I hope people feel like something they can’t make into words, as I am when I see a nice art.
Also I hope people laugh at my jokes, not just smile but laugh.
It always makes me happy to see people pointing their finger to my paintings and laughing with friends 🙂
Come by this Saturday, November 14th from 7-11pm to meet Yumiko Kayukawa and to see her new body of works in person.