Kazuki Takizawa artist talk at the Craft in America Center



so my name is Kazuki Takizawa and I'm a Japanese glass artist based in Los Angeles California and I'm really happy to see every one of you here thank you for coming and thank you Crafton America Center for having me here and giving me this really amazing opportunity I've been pointing out this exhibition for over a year now with Emily and Carol and I'm super excited to to show you all the pieces that we have here and so today I'm going to talk about my past pieces that I've done my past work and what I've been using how I've been using art to speak about mental health and and related topics so welcome so first I'd like to so well most of the work that I'm going to talk about today is kind of in the chronological order so you're going to start to start with seeing some of the stuff that I've done in Hawaii when I was a student at University of Hawaii so I'm Japanese full Japanese but I was born and raised in Hong Kong and I was raised in a Japanese community so I grew up speaking Japanese my entire life in Hong Kong and I wasn't able to speak Cantonese so I was there in Hong Kong till I was 16 and I went to high school in Bangkok and went to college in Hawaii so most of my childhood I grew up in a place where I couldn't speak their local language so I was for me it was natural to to not be able to be involved in the conversation that the local people were speaking and also my English is also a second language for me as well so I started learning English when I was in Middle School and so there's there was a little bit of a blank wish barrier that I faced growing up and so art became a really really great tool for me to express myself and then express my emotion so these are some of the pieces that I first started making when I was in school and at University of Hawaii and this is a sand casting glass piece and so through art I was able to you know like be more expressive of of the some of the things that I was going through and it was it was great because I art and then I I'll have to speak about the art because it was like art school our major so I you know I have to speak about what I made in critique and so it also gave me a chance to learn more about myself and I went through a lot of self-discovery through just you know being expressive through art some of the feelings that are really really powerful we're not positive you know like some and in fact a lot of the positive feelings that I was feeling were negative feelings not negative but feelings like you know being on the edge of life or being depressed pain struggle those kind of dark feelings I don't necessarily want to say that they're negative sorry they were powerful to me so these are all the works that I've been doing at the at the University of Hawaii I also have like you know cultural ideas that I work with that kind of play into my art so some of the you know like expression from Japan Japanese language we say we grow roots on the ground and that kind of is like you know like you're you're rooted to the ground but so I sometimes use Japanese language and cultural ideas to to shape my art you know I love using different material to kind of express different feelings this one was about six and none of Norfolk's maybe 4 feet wide like yeah sorry not this one I'm looking at this picture but it was a bronze casting piece on the right here and there's a glass core that's that's encased within this rock that I made out of bronze so some of these people a lot of the pieces that I make sculptor II kind of kind of tailed like stories and that's kind of why I really love doing this as a as a living so at one point in my life when I was a student at University of Hawaii I I was learning more about myself I was going through some tough time and my girlfriend at the time said I think you need to go to therapy and I got I got really really mad my first reaction was me I'm not depressed I'm like what's depression so I came from an Asian background I was raised in a Japanese family and we don't really talk about our emotions that much especially when it's negative like depression and I think it's purely because mostly because we don't understand it we didn't understand it and so through therapy I started going to therapy when I was cool and I started learning more myself and and I started learning more about you know how depression therapy mental illness all those things have stigma built around it and there's a certain amount of like don't talk about it like if you have if you're depressed just say you're you have a headache then you don't go to work you know like what people can't say I'm depressed I'm not going to work people are going to think like whew you're depressed like you know so I learned about that stigma and I also learned more about myself I was at this point I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and through art I've been telling people that I have bipolar disorder and you know like my experience with having that illness so this piece here there's a ridiculous smile that's carved on the outside there's a smile that I that was inspired by on the jack-in-the-box toy something that pops out and like smiles attitude and scares view and also there's a second if you look at the contour of the form here there's a second face this is the nose this is the mouth and then it's being submerged into the this black water and so those I was playing around with the idea of surface were surface appearance versus inner self this piece also sways sideways kind of showing the confusion and stuff that I was going through so I kind of want to talk about a little bit about bipolar disorder it's a it's a mental illness characterized by having episodes of mania where you're like dancing and talking fast and also episodes of depression when you're feeling down and then low on energy lose interest things and also you feel like when you're in mania stage of man you feel like you're like a Superman you know you feel like you have a idea that you can do anything and so it seems like a good thing but you have to control it very odd you know Wow otherwise to control you so cultural background cultural ideas this is a paper crane if you're Japanese you probably know what it is but we in our culture we fall because sometimes we fold 1,000 paper cranes and make it into a bundle and give it to somebody who's ill or when you're trying to make something like a really big wish come true so I really really wanted to become a glass blower and so this piece is called the dreamer and I made a nest out of 1,000 hands folded paper cranes that was water colored and I made a an egg blast egg I like using elements from nature in my work specifically I'm I was really drawn to seashells for it's like kind of like its meaning for its protective barrier for like a single life and I felt kind of like a resemblance between like myself encasing myself in this little barrier from protecting from the outside world and I love that the although all the shells have different colors you know they can be synced species and they're like so bright in color and they're salt so different and so that made me kind of reminded me of like how each of us are you know like we have our own cell and we protect ourselves for survival but we have you know lots of beautiful things colors within us and so this sparkling you to make this installation art this is called auric shelter and so this is when you start seeing some colors in my work and you're going see some like positive changes through in my within myself as well and so I was reading about color therapy aromatherapy it's a therapy using colored light cast on your body so I was leading reading about that and I found out that you know in chromotherapy you cast green light on your body first to open up the absorption for the next color to be shed on to you and then and then purple and bluish tint colors are known for stress it's a stress relieving quality so I made this structure out of steel and 300 colored custom color plexiglass and yeah this was my honors pieces and at the University of Hawaii and I put it up during the finals week when I thought what everybody was little stressed and I stayed up for about five days to make this and I would never do it again I would I can yeah very strongly say that I would never do it again and but you know like I put it up for people to go in and you know I'm hoping that people can kind of experience this shell protective auric structure or solarium you know I'm so stressed up by the time I got done making out the first one to go in it sometimes I think I think it's like my childhood memory that shapes my art pieces so I think this one is the last piece from the school so some of the shaping for my hope for art happens consciously and unconsciously I think and then I reflect back and I'm like oh that's when I that's what I was trying to do it is what I'm going that's what I was doing and so this piece I actually it was a glass egg that I dropped from a bridge and the cloth is this to fall from the bridge and so it does talk about you know my suicidal ideation at the time and I love what I love about this piece is of course the glass egg shattered into millions of pieces and I took individual pieces and I glued it back together so it's like not the same you never think it's like you got shattered then and then and then oh okay breathe and then so like what I love about this one is ah yeah it's a figure never in the same person pretty much but but supposedly what I was surprised to hear about what a suicide is 10th leading cause of that America thank you thank you sorry thank you I got it I got a water out of it but it's the 10th leading cause of death in America and believe it a lot in the past decade or so the the rate for suicide has been increasing and it's it's the rate for suicide is much more than right for homicide so you see in the news like people killing each other there's a lot more people killing themselves or harming themselves that's not going on beneath another detail shot was reposing me this was kind of in the same process but i melted the glass together all the charts together to create a shell so I think about why glass well it's like it's hot and it's living and you know it's exciting and so of course why not but culturally it's a I think it's one of those the idioms to work and be expressive because here it's such a craft oriented art form and it's easy for you to be immense tin a technique refining your technique and there's a lot of techniques you can learn and you can take a lifetime and just perfect your craft so I'm looking at glass I was looking at a glass from the past and you know they they start with the glass pieces that they started with it was a little tiny perfume bottles that that the Egyptians made in like two thousand three thousand years ago sorry I'm not a good I'm not good with history so I don't know the dates exactly people over here probably would tell the better story about that Letta so it wasn't it was a medium for container from what I know you know like these ornate venetian goblets you know the house they contain something very very special to somebody and before you know glass was very precious that you know in europe like the only the royalty can home glass and so you know even stained glass to like I you know if it houses you they protect you and so I'm looking at I was thinking about you know again the shelf the idea of shell being a protective barrier for organism and glass and historical context and being inspired by venetian goblets and its techniques and functions of different parts of the the goblets and I ended up coming up with this series of work which is called my I call it my container series so some of the colorful containers that you have here are my newest containers made since last year for this exhibition and I you know I take elements from nature such as fine we've corals shells they all have different meanings you Natalie and I don't know what my glass will contain but I would like to leave that up to whoever is looking at and another thing that shapes my glass is the my belief for Shintoism this is a really really famous cartoon anime movie from Japan called my neighbors cultural and it's where the characters are bowing in front of this tree that's ornamented it's an ornament for Shinto deity that resides within this tree trunk so you actually see this kind of stuff on the side of hiking track in Japan so in Shintoism they believe that spirits and gods or deities resides it within everyday object and so you know going back to my container series and like oh you know like I really love making these containers or goblets look like recent creatures so I started you know combining elements in nature like wings with handles feathers and fines I had a really awesome opportunity to be a glass resident brass glass resident at star wars class lab in North Carolina and what I do as a resident is I just show up to work every day and make my own stuff and I have a couple assistants who helped me make my vision come true and it was a very awesome experience so I made these pieces there so this was made this year so I think on my way from the glass studio to the my apartment in North Carolina I was walking because I didn't have a car and I would I would see like so many amazing birds flying over my head and I'm like that's the freedom that I want this is called my minimalist series it's black and white intricate black and white patterning is in this simple form and this series was inspired by a video a TED talk video that I watched from the two gentlemen who called themselves the minimalist and what they how they started the speech was very interesting to me I think the guy's name was Ryan he started the talk by you know explaining how complicated the life was and I think he was going through like a mid like reckless like midlife crisis and um he was struggling with his with his life and you know having all these fancy things and then paying for those things and having not not enough time to enjoy enjoy himself or his life or so that this was kind of like my my take on the video and them in their lifestyle of having complex decision-making or inter intertwine web of you know different layers multi layers of different things I don't know what but you know they're trying to contain it in like a simple form I feel like again like I feel like all of these you know patterning are very different and I experimented with a different pattern pattern making so I kind of I kind of like that they're all different as well so I think this I think this was a above year and a half ago or two years ago I took a trip with my parents to Japan to go visit my little brother who is here today he is one of the bravest person I know lie down he's also very suicidal and so this was a form that I kind of visioned and Inlet in Japanese language we refer to people as vessels sometimes and people who are big vessels can take in a lot more stuff and they're okay people who are hired little vessels can only take in so much and then they collapse and so I love the quality of glass being like you know it can be broken it could be fragile and transparent so I'm going to show you a video that I an installation of the video that I did using this form this piece is called breaking the silence you [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] so that was the insulation that I did this was in Starworks as well in North Carolina and it was really what was really great about that installation was people saw different things in within that performance one a very good friend and somebody who I really admire said it reminds me of Hurricane Katrina because he was in Louisiana and he saw the water flooding and then um you know like things were collapsing so this was my take on what suicide it looks like you know like it's just too somewhat to some extent there's a certain amount of luck involved because for this piece I try to make like even amount of rainfall into these vessels but it was almost not possible depending on where the vessels were if they were a few inches more to the left maybe it got filled much faster it also like had like the domino effect which is very true with suicide statistics says that if you have somebody who's close to you can make suus sorry die by suicide it's you're more likely to the difficulty to die by suicide and also it's your younger age like if you're in high school then you know like your classmate or your people who are in your grade or in the same school can really really impact their their life I know I still try to kind of Express the beauty and within thrills throughout this like maybe struggle because I feel like life is beautiful another installation that I did if you guys are interested I'll show you the video later but it was a most recently installation that I did and it's called in between light and shadow and this project was simply about just making glass installation to convey simple idea which is to shed light onto something that it's very difficult to see and for me mental illness is very difficult to understand and so I hung maybe 1,100 really thin charge that there really almost invisible to you in your in your back there I and it was this was a very difficult piece to photograph it's casting a really large shadow and on the wall it just kind of shows you it shows it showed me like by lighting something differently you can link on something become real and so the glass is a representation of what's in between one's darkness and at the light at the end of the tunnel so I've been very fortunate to be have the opportunity to be a counselor at National Suicide Prevention lifeline and I volunteer my time four hours a week listening to those who are suicidal and who are in need it's a really awesome facility in LA it's called DD Hearst mental health services there's also other like resources that I can share with you if you're interested there's a lot of things you can learn about mental health and suicide and stuff like that thank you very much I also like the vises start-up share this project that I'm going to do in collaboration with Crafton American Center so if you go to instagram and hashtag this with anything that you see here or anything that you see in the world out there with art and mental health please post here right now it's really clean nothing's clean but nothing's on there so that's yeah it would be really great to have this and if you can check this hashtag time-to-time that would be awesome so thank you very much and enjoy the opening reception oh and thanks Emily for pointing it out I that piece by the window is a sequel to the video that I showed so it's called breaking the silence too and it was inspired by the sound that I heard from a temple in Thailand it's like you know temples in Thailand have that this one temple had like bells everywhere and so that is an interactive piece where you can touch it and soon the whole Oh like definitely touch it you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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