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Evaluation about my art and photography

Here is the evaluation assignment of the questionnaire of Portfolio class.

Artist Presentations - Self Evaluation Questions


1. What are the most important elements of your work and why?

As a theme, I tend to include nature or animal, or if I do cityscape, I want to show some cultural aspect in my works. I am not good at doing portrait (neither painting or photography), but I like to take photos of Western architecture and their design elements in close-up. I took Bay Area architecture class, and it was good to know about the history of American housing design as well as Bay Area design. When I go back to the U.S., I would like to capture more of the building in the Bay Area, or learn more about the Architecture. I grew up by the mountain area. Even though I would prefer living in a city like San Francisco, but I still care about nature, and I hope to get involved with protect environment in both social way and artistic/photography way.

2. How are these elements articulated through the work?

Both my painting or photograph or other kinds of artistic media, I would of art, I would like to include some kind of concept or a sense of humor. I am from Osaka Japan, and people call it's a land of comedy. And Tokyo people see when Osaka people are talking on a train, they think everybody on a train talks like comedians, talkative, good sense of humor, and good tempo talking in between two people. So I consider myself that I have some funniness in my blood, and I want to include a sense of humor in my works.

While I have learned other people's art, some artists contain anger, sadness or some other negative emotions, which are also kinds of artist expressions, but for me I would rather make audience laugh than showing my negative emotion.

3. Why did you make this particular body of work, is there a background story?

About reflection photographs:
I used to take refection pictures in downtown Osaka, but windows of San Francisco make a good reflection and weird distortions. Because San Francisco buildings have a nice distortion, so it gives a nice abstract distortion. I can say now after I took abstract painting class last semester, but I feel more comfortable capturing abstract images.

4. Where does this work fit into the contemporary art world?

Contemporary art:
I am interested in doing mixed media with my own photography. I do book art, Polaroid transfer, photo collage, chigirie (paper painting), and photo coloring. For painting, so far I figured that I like close-up image of still life or animal painting.
I would like to explore more printmaking as woodblock relief, and lithography and found out what I can do as contemporary art.

In installation, I have some future project idea that I will print my own photographs on large handmade paper or on a piece of clothes and hung on tree brunches, so that people can walk around forest and feel nature and enjoy exhibition.

6. Where do you get your ideas and inspiration for your work? Do you draw inspiration from other artists or historical movements?

My inspiration is environmental like Christo and Jean-Claude or Andy Goldsworthy. I like artist making art in outside of studio (non-gallery space) and show/make their works in nature. Even I never did environmental works, their works inspire me to draw or take photos of nature.

5. If you could see a retrospective of work and have a private conversation with any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Whom I want to see a retrospective of work and have a private conversation?

It is a hard question. I have many well-known artists that I want to make conversation with. They could be some environmental artists that I mentioned above or photographers, I like Edward Weston and Man Ray, because I like their abstract and surrealistic style. For painters, I wish I could talk with Dali and Taro Okamoto whom both are surrealistic painters in the past. I like people who has very original ideas, or have different thinking and live their own their ways.

7. How does your work reflect the socio/political or cultural world in which you live?

I really like San Francisco architectural style, and Golden Gate Bridge. I also like to take photos of trains. I like to travel on a train in different counties, and I travel on a train often in both in Japan and overseas, and collect photos the places and trains. Talking about architecture and sculpture, and I take photos of temples and shrines, and castles, and Buddhist and zizo statues. I was not too favor of Japanese culture actually, but my partner is more favor of Japanese culture and I needed to take him to temples and shrines, when he visited Japan, so I have got his habit of taking pictures of my own culture also.

Other cultural aspect I am interested in about is native cultures in any countries around the world. I visited New Mexico, Santa Fe to visit Native American ruin and meet current native people. I also visited native people in Thailand and more interestingly, (at least for me) my partner is Aztec from Mexico. I am interested in other ethnic people's life and its dwellings.

8. What has been the evolution (style-wise, media-wise, and concept-wise) leading to this work?

Before studying art in the U.S. I was learning myself photography in Japan. All the way back 10 – 20 years before, I wanted to be a scriptwriter, and took class both in Japan the U.S., southern California. The reflection photographs were taken when I took photography class for the first time at the Academy of Art. I did not have an intension to study about art before, but I stopped studying in the U.S. in 1993 when Japanese bubble corrupted, so I have been waiting for the chance to be back there. At that time, I used to travel once a year to Asia and the U.S. and took photographs and sent to contests. (There are some photography contests for new comers in Japan, but there were rare around the end of 1990th.) But, I realized that there are many amateur photographers in Japan, and I felt like I wanted to more than armature landscape. (Mainly they are senior people who take photos as a hobby.)

And then, when I was divorced, I was kind of mentally depressed and could not do much. And a year later, I started to go out and take photograph around my area. Photography for me was more as a therapy. By looking at a camera lens, I feel better and do not care about other people. And by the time, I felt much better, I went traveling to South East Asia for 14 days. It was a tour, but unlucky, my camera and other valuables. My intention for the travel to send photographs from the trip and sent to a contest, so I was so disappointed that I could not do it. And then when I came back from the trip, I found the letter from AAU about summer scholarship, so instead, I sent them my old photographs, and received awarded for the summer scholarship. I took 2 summer classes, and after a year later, I came back to attend the school there. That was how I started studying art/photography in San Francisco. And, I learned in the photo concept class to see things different ways, so I tried to look around in a city and tried to find some interesting shape and design in San Francisco architecture.

What I mean about reflection is not only about “reflection” of the building shape on the window, but also shows what people in the city think or feel in inner thoughts. In stereotyped idea, Japanese tourists just travel for a few days a see a few things/places and do not interact too much with local people, of study deeply about history of the city, etc. But when I travel, I want to interact more local people or, visit places that local people go. So, “reflection” to me is showing my curiosity of getting to know other people or culture, but not the way to take portrait, but more indirect way. Because my life sometime, with economical or health situation, I am away from people, so human interaction is very important.

9. How do you define your aesthetic. What does it mean to you?

My name Tomoe means knowledge of art. Tomoe means knowledge or to know. And “e” means art or painting. I was ashamed that I could not paint, despite my name means. But, having learned different media, such as literature, film, photography, drawing and painting, sculpture, I feel ok if I have original idea than people who have never done art. I like to be said that you works is different or original or; you have eyes to see things different. So looking at other art, I like something different, original, somewhat crazy with color and design such as Antonio Gaudi architecture in Spain, or painting of Dali.

10. What are your ideas and ideologies? How do they fit into your artwork?

I like positive thinking and I like to see everybody happy like peace and no war in the world. I believe that environmental problems and political/economical downsizing cause conflict between people. So, I would like to spread the thought of peace and to protect environment. That is why I like to include nature in my works, or if I do cityscape, I want to make ironical about the city life to give a message.

11. What are your artistic strengths? weaknesses?

My weakness is I don’t have much patience doing one things in general. And also I am a slow to do things. Some of my school works, I could have spend longer time to make it more realistic or to have a “finished” look. Another concern is when I do craft works such as book art or making a mat for prints, I cannot do math right and make works look crappy.

12. How do you accept new ideas and criticism?

I am open to new ideas, and criticism that helping to improve my weakness, but sometime, I have a concrete idea already or some idea is coming from my own culture, then I need to explain what I meant for the concept or the idea. It has been hard for me to explain in online class circumstance, which I could have explained better in a classroom or in a gallery setting to point out my work or the reference, because some Western people do not know much about Japanese art which I referred into my work sometime, but not often.

13. What is your level of concentration while you are working on your art?

When I do art, I have to clean room and clear in mind. I often play music or turn on TV. I need to have energy to be able to concentrate, so that I can keep working when I am supposed to be finished or can stop in the middle. In many cases, it is hard to stop working in the middle, because paints get dry, or I just cannot stop in the middle of the process. I thought that photography takes more energy to do, because it get involved with outside shooting, but fine art is also takes energy, so I need to relax totally before start working.

14. What are your goals? How do you intend to accomplish them?

I am not sure about this question. I am writing about my own goals of making art or about photography images that I posted?

Art in general, as I said, my current goal is to create stationeries like a notebook, planner, art journals, travel essay, drawing cards, photo cards, pin budge, bookmark, stickers, etc, to sell at a design store, or stationary store, or paper store, etc. I still want to be a travel photographer/writer, but I can use my knowledge that I have gained at art school to make my book and stationeries more pop and artistic. I may also want to make own design T-shirts and skateboards and thing like that for young adults.

My other goal is to live in overseas (I can move around in many countries as needed.) and work in artistic communities. Ultimately I want to have some message in my works and to be able to spread the message for the peace and environment.


What is the most important visual aspect of your work?

Finding the story (concept) within the distorted shapes and what the camera is captured.

How do you categorize your work (political, social statement, etc.)?

I see them as cultural and conceptual. Or sometime, I see only design than the concept involved, but the design has to have some emotion.

How specific is the message in your work? Do you work realistically, abstractly? and why?

When I do abstract the theme is in more general such as you can see in Mother & Baby photo is from the Height street, San Francisco. I took the window of the sunglass store and the captured the baby shape on the other building on the other side which is a used clothing store. It was for the compare & contrast assignment, and I want to make contrast of the woman in a poster and the embryo design and titled as Mother & Baby. I did not mean specific mother and baby, but I meant to show the affection in between mother and baby in general. When I do realistic painting or photograph, I have more specific theme or concept. My first dream was to be a fiction writer, but being through interesting life than novel, I was getting more interested in capturing non-fiction theme or photo journalistic.

GENRE (i.e. painting, photo, printmaking, sculpture, etc.)

Why have you chosen to work in this medium?

I was told from my photography director and also consider myself as a street shooter. I like to walk about all the little roads in downtown in any cities around the world.

How does your choice of genre promote your ideas?

I do not have a favor of genre, but I think I can capture better image in both journalistic and fine art abstract or surrealistic in photography. Probably if I do mixed media, I do Polaroid transfer, photo coloring, or photo collage.

FORM (i.e. epic v.s. intimate - refers to space, scale, shape, structure)

What format and scale do you use and why?

I have not done too many large works, but I want to do very large works to hung in outdoor environment, or small work to make stationary or book art.

What meanings are implied by your use of form and composition?

Often times, design is more important to me than concept, I just like the shape of what I capture also that would match with colors that I use.

PROCESS (technique, method, construction, procedure)

How do you make your work? What techniques are involved?

These reflection photographs are taken with black white film with film SRL camera.

What tools do you use?

To do reflection photographs with a film camera, I need to have a Kodak Black and White 3200 ISO or Fuji 1600 ISO for the slow shutter and grayish print.

How does your composition strengthen the structure of your work?
(Is it formal or informal? dynamic or static? Does it relate to your content?)

I consider my reflection photographs are casual, because it is part of my street shooting. I take building window, so the building part is static, but objects, people in a mirror or the window is dynamic. I think that would make a good composition.

How do you use color, value, contrast?

The reflection photographs should be high contrast to capture the details of the reflection. Four o’clock in the afternoon is a good time to capture the image. It is hard to print in the darkroom, because I use slow shutter with high contrast, so it is hard to get the light value on the print.

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