Aritst interview 2010.11.3



I will be getting to know the artists a little better by asking them the same 26 questions in the form of an interview. The transcriptions have been edited but just fractionally; I have exchanged single words or removed words or added words (if I felt it would clarify a particular point) but only where absolutely necessary since I wanted to try to keep the original dialogue as pure as possible for the sake of humanity.

Finally, we have MIDORI HIROTA from JAPAN (NAGOYA):

What made you apply for the Kamiyama Artist in Residence program?
Well, this is my first Artist in Residence in Japan. Do you want me to tell you the truth or should I say something funny for readers of In-Kamiyama?  I lived in Indonesia and I wanted to move back to Japan. This was my second application. But, when I applied for the second time, I was already back in Japan. I thought it'd be better to stay in the countryside before moving to the city. Moving from Bali to Nagoya seemed too much as these places are so different. Therefore, I decided to stay in the countryside before moving to Nagoya.

Describe your work in one word
Searching for peace

Do you have a special method for generating your ideas?
My theme is to tell the younger generation and next generation and make them think about history, including war.

What is the most frightening experience you have ever had?
Probably it would be the earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2005, which was the biggest earthquake I've ever experienced.

What is your favourite Japanese food?
Since I don't enjoy most traditional Japanese food like sashimi, sushi, natto and pickled plum, I don't know what. Chestnuts and Japanese pears are my favourite food. It's not really Japanese though.

What do you enjoy most about creating art?
I used to think you could be selfish when you make art but now I believe artists also have to think about or do something for the people; art must have some sort of meaning for society or people.

What is the process behind creating your art?
It depends on the process, work and the project. For the last five years, I've used the theme of WWII and so that involves a lot of researching.

How did you discover your passion for art?
Sometimes it happens after watching movies, TV, talking to my friends; it's really difficult to explain.

Do you think you have a particular technique/style?
Recently I have a special way to create my work by talking to old people.

Do you find art difficult?
Before I answer that question, for me I still have one question: what is art? With my project now, maybe some people can say that it's not ART because I don't create anything. However, for me that's also art. I always think we can make something that people might call ART but artists also have to be connected to society. (This means) not just making paintings or sculptures, since we as artists can do more than just paintings and showing. So, I'm still searching.


What do you think about face-shaped processed ham?
It's like Kintarao Ame (long stick candy which you can cut it anywhere and you see the same pattern, like Morecambe or Blackpool Rock (for the British people reading this!)). But why? What do you mean? Things like this? It's cute. It's a bit stupid but it's kind of cute. It'd be better if it was ice cream.

How do you feel in Kamiyama?
I'm enjoying every day. There are many monkeys and they are my favourite animal.

Do you think you have a role as a KAIR?
I'm not sure, but past (KAIR) artists work still has a strong influence on the people here. I hope my project also leaves an impression.

What would chairs look like if our knees were upside-down?
Maybe I would just sleep (if my knees were upside-down)

What other types of work have you done and how does it relate to your art?
I used to teach high school students who want to enter Art Universities and Japanese language courses. I also make magazines about art and culture.

What do you dislike about your work?
When I graduated from the Art University in Nagoya, I used make big artworks made with fibreglass, but now I think more about nature and ecology. I feel like I made rubbish, something that is harmful to the earth. It's more like I'm regretting it.

What is the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
Hurry up and get married.

In your opinion, how important is art to society?
In my opinion, if possible artists should ask more questions to wake people to a new problem, any problem. For me, that's peace. I use the theme of war because I want young people to know about the war. Many people know about war but they don't really know how terrible war is. If they don't know, that they cannot say that war is bad.

What is your favourite outfit?
Just something comfortable.

Who is your least favourite famous artist/creator and why?
Selfish artists. Artists who think they are unique. Artists who think they are the greatest.

Can you describe Kamiyama in one word?

What would you like for your birthday? (Please do not expect anything….)
Because I was in Indonesia for so long, I never received any birthday presents. In Indonesia, I had to give presents to other people on my birthday, so I always hoped they didn't know when it was!

How do you feel when you present your work to the public?
Well at first, I feel relieved and then it depends on the reactions of the visitors.

If you are a vegetable, what kind would you be?
I guess it has to be chestnuts because they are a monkey's favourite food and so lots of monkeys would come to me.

Do you have a weakness?
Maybe nothing or maybe grumpy old men!


Thank you to all the artists for their time.  Hopefully you don't feel these interviews have tarnished your reputation in any way.  Also, apologies for the delay – I realise the residency is almost over now…gomen ne.




Itoi-san - Kanuma soil. Likes salmon sashimi, dislikes entrails of sea cucumber. Ru-san - Lancashire hotpot. Creative type. Likes being outdoors. Dislikes status. Together we are ITOI ARTS a project in divergent creativity in the mountains of Shikoku, Japan. 四国の山奥、多様な創作、アートとは。 //イベント時のみオープン// \\ふだんはただの家//

Articles by itoi+ru-san


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