How to build a home using only paper and scissors…

Diary 2008.9.22

Avatar photo


Today Keiko and I talked about the importance of feeling at home in one’s studio as a pre-requisite to create meaningful new art, and about ways to arrive to that feeling of being at home. This quest for building a home has been central for me in the weeks since I arrived to Kamiyama. For creating a space of safety and comfort and inhabiting it body and soul is the precursor of any meaningful art-making, it is the very beginning of the creative process.
Which begs the question: what turns a dwelling into a home? For me it’s mainly time that transforms a new space into a familiar space, time spent in it and away from it, the rythm of leaving and returning, the experiences that build up with time and become memories, the good times and the bad, and the objects we bring into it for comfort, for beauty, for enjoyment, but that too takes time. Can the process be speeded up? After all we are in Kamiyama for two months only and can’t spend the whole time building a sense of home.
I’ve been experimenting with symbolic things: I collect orchids in New York so I got a couple of them for my bedroom here. I burn incents with similar scents to the ones my husband uses to meditate. Sometimes I cook simple familiar foods and their smells temporarily fill the house with a feeling of home.
This preoccupation with the idea of home found its way into my work too. I’ve been walking around town taking pictures of unbeautiful concrete houses I love because they remind me of the housing developments I grew up in. Sifting through my pictures from Tokyo and Kyoto I found more familiar buildings.
I printed them out and built imaginary streets, three dimensional little sets that look strangely familiar even though they don’t exist in real life. Yet they are familiar because all the buildings used to assemble them remind me of ones I have seen and loved before in other countries and other times. I am now reading Japanese folk tales and ghost stories and if I find familiar sets of anxieties I may build portable models of them next.

Avatar photo


KAIR2008 Artist

Articles by Andrea


  • Very cool. The sets look great, realistic but surreal. Where did you get the figures? They look like the small saints from Mexico City. The sets might look good with the theater screens behind them, obliterating the scale, but adding to the sense of place.

    09/22/2008 6:04 AM | adam

  • Thanks Adam. Those are the ones from Mexico. Good idea with the fusuma-e, I will try that. I also wanted to bring some sets out to the forest see how that changes things. I might have to reproduce them at a slightly bigger size for that and reinforce them against humidity but that's just technical stuff, it shouldn't be a problem.

    09/22/2008 9:36 AM | Andrea

  • Has my eyes opened ! (Shinya)

    09/22/2008 10:46 AM | 大南 信也

  • Your stuff is amazing! I'm coming to Kamiyama tomorrow for Mutsumi's show. Where is your studio? Can I stop by some time?

    09/22/2008 2:46 PM | Chalice

  • Thanks Chalice, I'm happy that you like my work. My studio is at Shimobun Atelier when you come in it's the studio to the right. You're welcome to stop by. When is Mutsumi's opening? I'd like to go to it too. If you want maybe you can come meet me at the studio and we can go together to the opening. Call me or send me an email to andreadezso(at) if you want to set up time or we can play it by ear.

    09/22/2008 2:58 PM | Andrea

  • this is nikolai kawano who can understand only easy sentence sorry by the way welcome to kamiyama Chalice! I met Jhoe yesterday how did you feel fashion model Supreme?

    09/22/2008 10:48 PM | ニコライ

  • People were cominig to the office today and tried to figure out which buildings are from Kamiyama! They're excited to see your story(photos)! Now, It's also in Japanese so they can read! I had fun at mountain today! How's your arms and legs?

    09/22/2008 11:47 PM | Keiko

  • Andrea! Those miniature buildings are incredible. Your work is so inspiring! Let me know which ghost stories you're reading. I've been reading/researching gothic tales and ghost stories (mostly british/american) for my thesis, but I'd like to incorporate some of the Japanese too! Melissa Potter says hi!

    09/22/2008 3:30 PM | Ken

  • Hey Ken, thanks! Say hi to Mel from me, hope she is having a great time in Chicago. As far as Japanese ghost stories go: the classic stuff in English is by Lafcadio Hearn. He wrote many books about Japanese culture, translating it to the West with much empathy. My favorite book of his is titled Kwaidan –there is also a classic movie named Kwaidan from the sixties, don't go for the newer re-make– that you can get from Amazon or Netflix; the video rental place here doesn't carry it unfortunately so I haven't watched it yet). I am also reading Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the author of Roshamon, he also has a volume of stories which are quite good although the English translation I'm reading is a bit dry. Next on my reading list is Izumi Kyoka's Japanese Gothic Tales. You would LOVE Japan Ken, it's a very inspiring place.

    09/22/2008 11:14 PM | Andrea

  • Ken, another good movie is Ugetsu Monogatari.

    09/22/2008 11:15 PM | Andrea

  • Konnichiwa Andrea, I borrowed Kaidan from my friend a few weeks ago. It's a beautiful film: really a collection of shorter pieces. I agree, Japan would be very inspiring. And I could practice the three phrases I still remember from Japanese classes ten years ago.

    09/22/2008 10:19 AM | Ken

  • And you'd be wildly successful with those phrases here especially delivered in the proper "male" style which you do so well. None of us artist in residence know such long phrases just words and short sentences yet people have been very gracious and patient with us nevertheless. The more I stay here the more I like it.

    09/22/2008 10:23 AM | Andrea

  • Elképesztően gyönyörű. Nem találok szavakat, de tényleg. Szép a gondolatiság és a megvalósítás egyaránt. Nem tudom szavakba foglalni, mennyire megfogott ez a hangulat. Zseniális.

    09/22/2008 7:58 AM | SzegediKata

  • As always Andrea - no matter where you are - you are creating work that can one's breadth away....I miss you back in rainy NYC.... I finally finished that life size bed which is now up at the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College (out in PA) but you can see the pictures on my website in the BED section.

    09/22/2008 5:04 AM | Tammy

  • Andi, Te mindig képes vagy meglepni az embert valami teljesen eredeti gondolattal és egy hozzá társuló alkotással.... Iszonyú jóóóóóó :) Andi (that's how family and some friends call Andorea, kind of like Andorea-chan) you are always able to surprize us with some completely original thought and corresponding creative work.... really good:)

    09/22/2008 11:58 PM | Nausch Ildikó

To comment



このサイトはスパムを低減するために Akismet を使っています。コメントデータの処理方法の詳細はこちらをご覧ください