I discovered a box of my grandfather’s old weathered Japanese calligraphy paper and it became a starting point for these personal commentaries. Sometimes I begin with a specific concept but most times I just start picking up bits of textile and paper scraps, then I add small sketches, drips of paint, ink or stitching and see what emerges. Certain images come up as I mine my memories, cultural motifs, or life lessons distilled into these narratives. To me, each scrap is like a metaphor for identity and personal history that is at the core of my art. My final touch is an original title for each piece, sometimes ironic, hopefully evocative.
The materials I use are handmade paper, vintage textiles, ink, natural dyes, graphite, oil pastels, heat transfers, sashiko (Japanese handstitching) on a cradled canvas panel. (8” or 12” square).
I have admired traditional handcut paper of Mexico (papel picado) and Japan (katagami) for a long time and wanted to create stories or words in a similar way. I believe this technique can make the viewer pay closer attention: is there a different emotional effect telling a tragic story in the form of a beautiful rendering in handcut paper?
My family members were among the over 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were incarcerated by the US government during World War II. These mixed media assemblage pieces address this tragedy and other stories that need to be told as they continue to haunt us to this day.
As more and more innocent people of color are murdered on the streets of America and around the world, I feel the need to honor their lives, their stories and their spirits.