Click here for the photo album
Living, as I do, in Japan, I often find myself explaining to friends and art lovers why I won't be able to attend the opening of my international shows. I've joked that my artwork travels more than I do. Which it does. And to make matters worse, it rarely sends a postcard or calls home after I let it loose into the world. So, with each exhibition on the other side of the world, I fret and worry until the work arrives safely, then sigh forlornly, wishing I could interact with all the people who come out to see the cut-paper work.
Happily, Kirie of the World in Japan 2011 is merely on the opposite side of the country, rather than the globe. So, on July 8th, I over-packed my bag (will I need a suit or a pair of speedos for the opening? Who can tell?) and hopped on the shinkansen zipping north towards Yamanashi prefecture and the Fujikawa Kirie Art Museum. The Fujikawa Craft Park is located in the mountains near Fuji-san, in some of the most beautiful country you're likely to see. A family of herons were nesting in the trees outside my window at the Shimobe hotel - which, incidentally, has a superb onsen (hot spring) to relax in and boil away your stress.
The opening day and ceremony were on July 9th, and featured the wonderful harp playing of Miss Madoka Araki. It was a treat finally seeing, in person, the works of some of the cut-paper artists that I've admired from afar for years. In a shocking break from standard procedure, I brought my camera with me. And I used it.
The next day, the four artists in attendance (Tim Budden, Hina Aoyama, Masaaki Tatsumi, and myself) gave two demonstration workshops, showing our individual techniques and approaches. I should say that we gave three demos; two for the public right after a much more technical one for each other. Hina is a demon with a pair of scissors, zipping and slicing through designs and patterns so detailed I could barely see them. Tim's sense of flow and composition is second only to the thought that goes into the metaphor and meaning of each piece. Masaaki has an enviable sense of color; watching his work come together is downright magical. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Hina Aoyama and our hosts at Kirie no Mori for organizing such a fantastic experience. The demos were really well attended. I had no idea that paper art had so many fans. Its inspiring and humbling to see people responding to the art and the artists in such a powerful way.
The exhibition is open until September 25th. Feel free to use it as an excuse to travel to Japan (or, if you're already here, to get over to Mt. Fuji!). Seeing the work in person is an entirely different experience from these flat internet pictures.
The snippers, slicers, and visionaries responsible for the work (aside from myself) are:
I'll have a ton of other news to share with you in the weeks ahead (I hinted at it a bit in my meandering prose above), and I've been hard at work on new art. Enjoy a tiny sample!