Artist Interviews 2017 – Nozomi Watanabe
Hey Nozomi, can you pretend to be Strijdom?
The following interview was translated by Itoi, recorded and transcribed by me. The words are more like spoken English, rather than written English.
Many thanks to the artists for sparing their time and thoughts for this little project. Much appreciated!
What made you apply for the Kamiyama Artist in Residence program?
I had heard about KAIR and knew about it for a long time but this was my first application for it. I heard the support for the artists from the KAIR team was very good and I knew KAIR applies for grants, so they were clearly well organised. It seemed like an excellent residency to apply for.
Describe your work in one word.
It's a difficult question. I need time to think!
Do you have a special method for generating your ideas?
I'm sorry! I need to prepare (my answer)!
What is the most frightening experience you have ever had?
On my first day in Kamiyama, a large poisonous centipede fell onto my shoulder!
What is your favourite Japanese food?
Er.. Everything. I like all Japanese food.
What do you enjoy most about creating art?
Erm.. I guess, when I make art or make something I try to make it 100% perfect, but it is impossible, so I keep trying again and again with new projects. It's hard but I still enjoy it a lot.
What does Kamiyama lack? What does it need?
Transportation, because I'm not used to driving and it would be nice if there was more public transportation in Kamiyama.
How did you discover your passion for art?
It's difficult. I guess, whenever I find something special or inspiring in my every day life that leads to making art, that is when I feel passionate. Yes.
Do you think you have a particular technique/style?
Material wise, yes, I use different things depending on the concept of my art work. The art could be a book, or an installation or a photograph, but the important thing is what I discover in my every day life. I want to take this thing I find and make it deeper, more mysterious and greater. That's important. That's my style, I think.
Do you find art difficult?
Yes, but that is also the reason why I can keep going and keep working and making art.
If you were a giant for one month, what would you do?
I never.. I don't want to be a giant!
How do you feel in Kamiyama?
Comfortable. I guess I feel relaxed because there are a lot of immigrants, people who have moved in from outside. But, the local people are very welcoming and this helps me to feel comfortable and to blend in, I guess.
How would you like your art to relate to Kamiyama and its residents?
This project is there only because of local people. This art work could not be made without the help of the local people.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever made?
I've had many troubles in the past.. About this project (in Kamiyama), when I was setting up (the installation in Yoriiza) there were many problems and I wasn't sure if I could finish in time. I had the feeling that this was the worst thing I'd done in my life! I was thinking 'Did I make a bad choice?'. But after all, I managed it.
What do you think about this ham:
Eh! I don't fancy eating this. How is it made? I wonder if it was made with colourings? If so, I definitely don't want to eat this!!
What do you dislike about your work?
I never dislike my work because I always try to make something a good as it can be. I always want to make it better and better. I don't dislike my work, but I am often dissatisfied with it (because it's not perfect).
What is the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
A while ago, I was told by someone 'Once you fail, that's it.' But I don't think this is right. That's wrong because there's always someone who wants to see your art. Continuing making art is the most important thing. Maybe that advice might work for someone, but for me, it was bad advice.
What is the best smell?
The smell of the Osmanthus tree (aka fragrant olive tree), because when it blooms is around my birthday and there is an Osmanthus tree in my garden that my mother planted. That's why I like it.
Who inspires you?
Lots of people, things, scenery and the nature I was surrounded by when I was young.
Can you describe Kamiyama in one word?
As it is named: God's Mountain.
If you lived in Kamiyama forever what would you do?
I'd be an artist and I'd keep working on my art in Kamiyama. Yes.
How do you feel when you show your work to the public?
I'm honored. It makes me happy to see the audience react to my work and it's great when they find their own personal connection to the work.
Do you have a weakness?
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Strijdom van der Merwe
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