artist statement

I am a multimedia artist, visual storyteller, and activist. My working media varies broadly, from socially engaged art, performance, and film, to installation, sculpture, and drawing.

What inspires me the most is to work with ephemeral materials to create artworks, and to seek what is eternal, if anything, through visual storytelling. Moment and memory, evaporation and absorption, light and shadow are some of the triggers in my creative process. I incorporate fire, water, or sound into my work. The aesthetics that tie all my work together have described as “visuals that evoke a haunting mix of fear and poetry”.

One day while blowing glass, I accidentally dripped hot glass on a concrete floor, which made surprisingly beautiful burn marks. Immediately I recognized glass as a medium to draw and started using molten glass as my paint brush to create fire drawings on heavy paper. This has become my ongoing series, Glass Pyrograph, which leaves the immediate charred tracery of my movement with the heat, and it captures a fleeting moment and eternalizes it.

In response to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown that occurred in 2011 in my home country of Japan, my work has become more socially engaged. Echo at Satsop, my first short film of the trilogy, was entirely documented within the abandoned nuclear cooling tower in southern Washington. While the property of the space acted as an incredible acoustic chamber, the sound created by simply clapping my hands became an emotional experience. I imagined releasing my prayer into the sky with the long lasting reverberation.

In my recent body of work, titled Vitrified, I use uranium glass as a key element in my sculpture, installation, and film. This particular choice of material was a consequence of my research visit to the Hanford nuclear site, where I learned about vitrification technology, which transforms radioactive waste into glass for ultimate disposal. Through this work, many important things in my life have come together - my love of glass, my Japanese heritage and nuclear legacy, my perspective looking through the lens of America, and my fear, hope, and responsibility for the future as an artist.

I was born and raised in Tokyo and have lived in Seattle for over two decades. Both places are home to me, and while my life is rooted in America, my spiritual-seeking and aesthetic sensibilities strongly call to Japan. My work is a reflection of myself in these two distinctively different cultures.