ART OF THIS WORLD: Can you explain how you came to paint in the abstract?
MAYAKO NAKAMURA: I thought I could express my vague emotions/feelings. I had a special interest in keeping record of my dreams since I was a high school student. Eventually I came to realize that the marks and scribbles I drew in the dream diary, symbolized something important for me. And now I feel that these records may become something which the viewers could relate themselves to, also.
AOTW: Have you painted in more traditional forms, for example, portraiture?
MN: Yes, for my university assignments...I enjoyed painting/drawing landscapes and still life rather than portraits.
AOTW: What inspires you?
MN: The everyday living. The everyday occurrences in the state of both conscious and unconscious. The shapes of time and space and their boundaries. The vague feelings/atmospheres in our daily living; emotions that cannot be put into words.
AOTW: How often do you paint?
MN: Almost everyday.
AOTW: Having the privilege of seeing your work in person, I am curious about your process of stretching the canvas. Your frames are deep and uniquely shaped. Can you talk about that.
MN: Most of the canvases have a certain thickness with curved edges. I designed my canvas this way so that the edges of the canvas become vague which enables the positive-negative space at the sides of the painting to seem to stand up alternately. In addition, the softness, grayness of the painting would be enhanced; it gives a feeling that the canvas melts into the wall, and hugs the viewer at the same time.
AOTW: How do you work when you paint? Do you use an easel, the wall, the floor?
MN: I use them all. The floor to create grounds, larger planes with watery ink or turpentine oil. I lean the artworks against the wall for most of the painting process. The easel is used when I'm working on fewer, or smaller pieces, or to view the works.
AOTW: What materials do you use in your work?
MN: I paint with oil and ink, draw with charcoal and graphite on calcium carbonate ground. I use pigments, pastels, charcoal, coloured pencils, also. On paper--as in emaki experiment--I use acrylic.
AOTW: Have you always painted or have you worked in other fields?
MN: I've been painting since I graduated Art university in 2009. Prior to that, I worked at a cake shop, a flower shop, a coffee shop. Also worked as an English tutor, and a translator.
AOTW: Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what music do you enjoy?
MN: I have preferences for female vocals, Avant-Jazz, and classic. My favorites are Yoko Ono, Patty Waters, Sheila Jordan, Erica Pommerance, Nico, Lorna Hunt to name a few. I am also a fan of Yurayura teikoku, a Japanese 3-piece band performing psychedelic rock. I love listening to Messiaen's piano and Bach's violin.
AOTW: Where did you study art?
MN: Musashino Art University, Tokyo (Communication Education Curriculum, Faculty of Painting)
AOTW: What and/or who has influenced your work?
MN: The painters: Cy Twombly, Paul Cezanne, Ben Nicholson, Sesshū Tōyō, Chuta Kimura, Aguri uchida, Mitsuko Hara. Architect: Kazunari Sakamoto
AOTW: What are you currently working on?
MN: I've just finished large works for my upcoming solo show. Now I'm working on smaller pieces. Mohitotsu no kakera series and emaki.
AOTW: When you were a child did you know you were an artist?
MN: No, I had dreamed to become an astronaut.
AOTW: What is it like where you live in Japan?
MN: Hachioji, where I live, is at the outskirts of Tokyo. Not so far away to go to galleries / shopping in central Tokyo, and a little ride to the mountains and lakes to breath fresh air, too.
AOTW: Describe a typical day for you.
MN: The weekdays:-
7:00 Wake up / breakfast
8:00 Internet activities
9:00 Housework / shopping / paint
13:30-17:00 Work at a dentist
18:00 Supper / gardening
19:00 Internet activities
20:00 Paint / read books / prepare for teaching etc.
AOTW: What is your process for discovering new materials for your work?
MN: Watch/hear what's on the floor, on the wall, or floating in the air as I walk down the street. View other people's works. Survey in art material shops, DIY shops, gather information from internet.
AOTW: Have you ever collaborated with other artists to create a body of work? If so, please tell us about it.
MN: Yes. The four graduates of Musashino Art University formed " Hachiojikai" about a year ago to experiment / examine the " process " of creativity: We believe there are numerous encounters and inspiration twinkling in the process, rather than in the results. The layers of our behaviour/acts, senses, thinking are accumulated on the canvas. In the co-producing process, the composition is a Monster eating our desire, will, and destination, changing its form from one to another, going beyond our expectations and understandings.
AOTW: Do you have any desire to teach art?
MN: Yes. Right now I teach four children and two adults, planning courses according to their interests. Children: Balance of mind, heart and body. Play exercise-games to gain "skills" and develop "senses" to "feel" and "absorb." Adults: How to "think" and "paint" in abstract. Give advice to analyze their thoughts and ideas, in developing his/her own "style."
AOTW: How often do you attend other artists' exhibits?
MN: I go to exhibits almost once a week, mainly to Ginza, Kunitachi, Ueno, Roppongi, and Aoyama.
AOTW: Do you feel it is important to view other artists' work?
MN: Certainly, yes. There are so many bits and pieces that you may "borrow" from them. Though the style/materials may differ from my own work, they are inspiring in many ways. I believe my painting is made from the mixture of other people's works, in addition to my very own experiences.
AOTW: If you were not able to paint, what other field of work would you pursue and why?
MN: I would have become an art historian, or a translator. I have a special interest in Buddhist art history of Thailand... or may use my Japanese/English/Thai language skills.
AOTW: Please add any other thoughts about yourself or your art that you would like to share with our readers.
MN: I really appreciate comments form the viewers, especially those in Flickr. I would like to thank Rich and Mary Ann (Three Ravens Gallery) for their tremendous support. Thank you very much.
Poppo's Garden (2009)
Oil on canvas, ink, pigment 1850x1080x60mm
" another everyday "
Gallery Art Point / Ginza, Tokyo
Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 335x305x45mm
Yubune ni kumo wo ukabete miru (2010)
Yubune ni kumo wo ukabete miru → Floating clouds in the bathtub
Kamikirimushi (revised) (2010)
Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 1620x1046x60mm
A diptych: Ittari kitari
A diptych: Ittari kitar i→ I go back and forth, they come and go
Right: Kagami no uragawa → The other side of the mirror
Left: Uragawa no uragawa → The reverse of the other side
Right: Kagami no uragawa (2010) Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 1868x1500x60mm
Left: Uragawa no uragawa (2010) Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 1500x750x60mm
Gozen yojino (2010)
Oil on canvas, ink. pigment, charcoal 625x275x45mm
Gozen yojino → Around 4 o'clock a.m.
Tenohira no om'pu (2010)
Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 900x900x45mm
Tenohira no om'pu → An eighth note in my hand
Mahma'rehdo no naru ki (2010)
Oil on canvas, ink, pigment, charcoal 562x400x45mm
Mahma'rehdo no naru ki → A tree bearing marmalade fruit
We believe there are numerous encounters and inspiration twinkling in the process, rather than in the results. The layers of our behaviour/acts, senses, thinking are accumulated on the canvas. In the co-producing process, the composition is a Monster eating our desire, will, and destination, changing its form from one to another, going beyond our expectations and understandings.
In our fourth experiment, we simply drew lines.
Pencil, charcoal, coloured pencil, crayon, pastel, and pen.
Fast and slow. Heavy and light. Short and long. Round and straight. Neat and wobbled. Dynamic and weak. Conscious and unconscious. Looking and without looking.
The lines eventually formed a pictorial space, just like threads woven into a piece of cloth. When we began to feel tired, that was the end of the session.