Artist Interview | Aya Kakeda

AG Gallery is pleased to announce an extension of our current Solo Exhibition “Miotsukushi” by Aya Kakeda. Thank you for all those who attended for the opening reception and already visited the show, Please make sure to visit us if you haven’t already.

Meanwhile below is an exclusive interview with Aya Kakeda, with some images of her original works still available at AG Gallery. Please enjoy!

Exhibition will be on view through November 12, 2016.

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~Interview with artist Aya Kakeda~

Q1-Please tell us a little bit about your background…

I was born and grew up in Tokyo, Japan. I moved to the United States when I was in my late teens; I lived in Florida, Georgia, and now live and work in Brooklyn, NY. 
My art education is in illustration, but while I was in school I started to be more interested in Fine Art.  Now I split my time being a illustrator, Fine artist, and educator. 

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Q2-What was the first work of art that you saw or experienced that you still remember today?

My grandmother was a Japanese Tea ceremony teacher. And I grew up surrounded by tea ceremony tools, ceramics, seasonal flowers, and seasonal Japanese paintings that decorate around the tea ceremony rooms.
Since they are for tea ceremony, the art or ceramic themselves are not necessary decorative or colorful; actually they were more in earthy tones had WabiSabi feelings to it, but they always had some twist or hidden playfulness to them which interested me.
Also, in every season Kimono maker would come to our house and show my grandmother rolls of fabrics.  I still remember the scene when the rolls of fabrics would fly through the air, filling the room, and for me it looked like a sea of patterns.  I think that image still sticks to my mind and till this day I love looking at patterns. My work also has a lot of patterns in it. 

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Q3-Who were your earliest influencers of famous artists or creators?

As a child I was very much into monsters, ghosts, animals, and Folk stories.
Kuniyoshi (Ukiyoe Master) has a huge influence on me. I discovered his playful Ukiyoe that depicts animals as human. It’s quite humorous. And his monsters are not always very scary; they are very silly and I loved that about his monster work. 
Also growing up in Japan I was more into non-traditional art like Manga and Animation.
I always liked  Shigeo Mizuki, Osamu Tezuka, and Fujiko Fujio A.
Their world is twisted, dark, and full of monsters, but also humorous.
I think that’s my favorite mixer; dark creature world but humorous. 


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Q4-Please tell us about your work…

I like telling stories and creating my own whimsical world.  When I started out, I started by remembering my imaginary world that I had when I was little.  And now that world has been expanding over the years.  My world is mysterious and dark, sometimes with strange creatures but never serious; there is some sort of humor in it. I like the contrast of reality and imaginary, dark and light, cute and ugly, and that reflects in my art I think. 

Q5-What do you make?

Materials have been changing over the years also depending on the project. It varies from Printmaking, embroidery, painting, installation, now I’m very into making a ceramic sculptures. For this show it’s mostly paintings and ceramic sculptures. 

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Q6-What generally inspires or influences you to create your work?

I get very excited to see craft and fabrics from different parts of the world. For that reason, traveling and getting to know the different culture has been a huge influence on me. Every time I go somewhere I get inspired and can’t wait to go back to studio and create.  Also I get influenced by reading, watching cinema, seeing performance, and so on. 
And having coffee talking to friends also inspires me, I am luckily surrounded by many creative minds!

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Q7-What is the main challenge for you when creating your work?

I try to challenge myself by using new materials and I love the process of making things, but I often end up with “ugly s***” and not one, but many many “ugly s***” and that’s frustrating sometimes to not get the result I want.  But it’s also the part of art making I like as well, experimenting and exploring new things. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q8-What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a Ceramic series that I started this Summer. Part of them are exhibited at AG gallery right now!
I have been trying to combine the beautiful deep colors and textures of the ceramic glaze  and very artificial flat colors. My work usually has believable botanical backgrounds and mythical imaginary creatures, and I would like to push that in the material as well by mixing earth (clay and glaze that are made with minerals from earth) and artificial medium (plastic, resin, and house paint).

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Q9-Is there anything that people might not know about your work (or your medium) that you would like to share?
 
Continuing from the precious question. My new work has a combination of ceramic/glaze and resin/house paint. 
 
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Q10-What is your dream or goal as an artist in 3 years? 5 years?

Ceramic is still a new medium for me and I’m still learning about the medium and also how to show in the space. I would like to figure out how to mix my 2D works and sculpture also to create the whole complete world. So my future plan is to figure that out in the next year or so and make more art!  As a goal I would love to have a bigger body of work for exhibition. 

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Lastly, Do  you have any message to visitors for this exhibition? What we should check out / should not miss in this exhibition?

The past few years have been a transition for me moving from 2D to 3D and also finding a way to incorporate both mediums. So maybe visitors would be able to feel the transition and the new direction and hopefully that’s interesting for them to see. 

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Miotsukushi | AYA KAKEDA

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Miotsukushi

Exhibition On View: October 8 – November 4, 2016
Opening Reception: October 8  6-8PM

 Coming soon to AG Gallery,  we are pleased to announce “Miotsukushi”, a solo exhibition by Aya Kakeda.
MIOTSUKUSHI
Pronounced as “Mi-O-Tsu-Ku-Shi” in Japanese, it means signs indicating the route for ferries and ships.
When a harbor is opened in an area, such as the mouth of a river, there are shallow areas because of the deposition of sediment. This presents a high risk of becoming stranded and for many sailing in those locations is not possible.  Mio-tsukushi are signs which  navigate boats to routes (areas called “Mio”) where water depth is deeper for the boats to sail safely. “Mio-tsukushi” signs are installed side-by-side at the boundary between the place “Mio” and the shallow areas. In this way, they show the route.
“Miotsukushi are ancient Japanese signs which are built in the river or sea near the land. They are built in dangerous areas and direct ships to sail safely and avoid grounding.
For this exhibition I created creatures that lives in between the safe and dangerous world that lays beneath the Miotsukushi. This is the first exhibition in NY for which I focused mostly on sculptures.” – Aya Kakeda
ABOUT ARTIST
Aya Kakeda was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan.  Now she draws and creates imaginative worlds in Brooklyn, NY. She has produced art for books, products, magazines, posters, and store installations from clients all over the world.
Her work was presented by NIKE, Delta, Disney Hyperion Books, KidRobot, The New York Times, The New Yorker Magazine, Runners World, Nickelodeon, Noggin TV, Plan Sponsors Magazine, Men’s Journal, Roger la Borde, Macy’s, and HongKong Mega Mall.
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Artist Interview | Cat Rabbit

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After the exciting interview with Philippa Rice from our current exhibition “The Strange Hearts Club”, we are even more excited to introduce another interview with Cat Rabbit.

If you missed  our interview with Philippa, you can click HERE and visit the interview. Makes “The Strange Hearts Club” is on view through October 4th, 2016.

~Interview with Cat Rabbit.~

Q1- Please tell us a little bit about your background…

I first started making little plush toys for friends when I was studying at university. My interest in textiles grew from there and I began experimenting with embroidery and 3D felt techniques. I am now a full-time practicing textile artist, based in Melbourne, Australia. I make plush sculptural works of my imagined characters and the worlds they might live in. I also make books for Children and other fantastical artworks with my collaborator and good pal Isobel Knowles under the name Soft Stories.

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Q2 -What was the first work of art that you saw or experienced that you still remember today? 

I grew up in Tasmania, in a very small country town. Every week, my Mum used to take us to the Launceston Museum and I remember just staring for ages at the detailed dioramas of prehistoric animal habitats and dinosaur bones.

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Q3 -Who were your earliest influencers of famous artists or creators? 

Richard Scarry and Beatrix Potter have definitely been my longest serving inspirations! I have many old, battered copies of their books from my childhood that I refer back to over and over again. Their ability to create not only beautiful characters, but worlds for their characters to exist in, is something I strive for myself.

 

 

 

Q4 – Please tell us about your work… What do you make?

I make soft sculptures of my imagined characters using needle felt and 3D felting techniques.

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Q5 -What generally inspires or influences you to create your work?

I like to devise new characters all the time! I get an idea in my head or sketch something out and am not satisfied until I work it up into a 3D character.

Q6 -What is the main challenge for you when creating your work? 

I like my work to engage a wide audience, so there are elements that appeal to young children and also an older generation. My main objective when creating new work for exhibition is to incite feelings of comfort, joy and nostalgia – when I make a piece that encapsulates all of these elements, I am satisfied with the work!

 

Q7 -What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a series of food related characters: a Croissant pâtissière, a Dango delivery person and a Egg headed egg farmer – I am increasingly fascinated by absurd characters made up of inanimate objects, like food, and I’m enjoying experimenting with new and weird themes.

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Q8 -What is your dream or goal as an artist in 3 years? 5 years? 

I am addicted to sewing new things, so if I’m still able to do that, then I’ll be happy ^_^

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Lastly, Do you have any message to visitors for this exhibition? 

Please enjoy these new characters that Philippa and I have made as part of the Strange Hearts Club! Online dating is a new world of crazy possibility that really fascinates me, and I wanted to explore what my characters would look like if they were plunged in to this world!

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-Please tell up what we should check out / should not miss in this exhibition. 

The Koala! I have wanted to make a koala for some time, and it’s one of my favorite new creations (particularly the Rilakkuma phone case).

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Artist Interview | Philippa Rice

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This week we are pleased to showcase the multimedia, multi-talented Philippa Rice. Coming to us all the way from the Bristol, United Kingdom, Philippa is presenting her illustrations, clay sculptures, crocheted soft sculptures, and a collaborative illustrated zine  “The Strange Hearts Club” (which is specially made for this exhibition!) with artist Cat Rabbit. In addition to the works shown, Philippa is also an animator and author of the published comic Soppy.

Philippa often uses simple and familiar materials for her art like Sculpey for the clay sculptures or by crocheting sculptures out of yarn. She creates all of her work from her home studio, which we can only imagine is extremely adorable. Please come by AG Gallery to see Philippa Rice’s work, on display through October 4th, 2016.

~Below is our interview with Phillipa Rice, next interview will be with Cat Rabbit.~

Q 1 – Please tell us a little bit about your background…

I studied animation at university, and after that I started making comics in my spare time. I eventually managed to make comics into my full-time job, after self publishing some books of my online comics. Since then I have also worked with publishers and also take on freelance work at times.

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Q 2 -What was the first work of art that you saw or experienced that you still remember today?

When I was little I loved all the animations on TV made with models. I used to love watching repeats of the Bagpuss and The Clangers.

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Q3 -Who were your earliest influencers of famous artists or creators?

Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin who made Bagpuss!

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Q4 -Please tell us about your work… -What do you make?

I started making a webcomic called My Cardboard Life in 2008. I used collage materials like paper and cardboard to make the panels and characters. I also draw a lot of comics, including my autobio comic Soppy. I really enjoy all kinds of crafts especially crochet and model making. I have made a lot of characters and use them to make animations for my youtube channel Soft Spot.

 

Q5 -What generally inspires or influences you to create your work?

I’m inspired by lots of different things, but particularly by real life events and moments that I write down in my diary and then later illustrate it or turn it into something else.

I also love anything cute or silly and if I can include things like that in my stories or characters then I’m happy.

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Q6 -What is the main challenge for you when creating your work?

I often try to work on too many things at once and it’s difficult to say focused and get anything finished, especially when real life gets in the way too.

 

Q7 -What are you currently working on? 

I’ve almost finished a new book which is a sort of sequel to Soppy, but instead of being about me, it’s a guided journal so that people can fill it in with their own stories.

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Q8 -What is your dream or goal as an artist in 3 years? 5 years? 

If I name a specific dream I’m sure it won’t come true! I hope that in 5 years time I’ll still be making as many comics and animations as I am now!

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Lastly, Do you have any message to visitors for this exhibition?

I hope you enjoy our show. Say hi to all the characters from me!

I have made several crochet characters, a few different types of animals. There are also sculpey models which I’ve painted and varnished. There are prints and also original collages made from different papers, with paint details. And the animations to watch too! Hopefully all the different things will give you a good idea of the different mediums I like to work in.

 

 

 

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THE STRANGE HEARTS CLUB | Cat Rabbit & Philippa Rice

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THE STRANGE HEARTS CLUB

Cat Rabbit & Philippa Rice

SEPTEMBER 15 – OCTOBER 4, 2016

We are pleased to announce our up coming two persons exhibition “The Strange Hearts Club” by artists, Cat Rabbit and Philippa Rice.  It is a dream come true for those who have been in love with their slightly odd, yet adorable living characters, and their imaginary worlds. It is the first time for them to work together for an exhibition, and in the exhibition, you will be welcomed by their individual works as well as their collaboration works, all made especially for this exhibition.

Please make sure to visit AG Gallery, while it is a merging point of imaginary odd yet charming characters.

 

 

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