Wk 5 – Artist Conversation – Kiyomi Fukui

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The art gallery that I chose to observe this week is the artwork of Kiyomi Fukui. Kiyomi is an artist originally from Japan, but she currently lives in Long Beach and attends school at Cal State Long Beach. She is finishing up her last year at school and also teaches a class for lower division.

IMG_0524I especially took an interest in Kiyomi’s artwork because as soon as I stepped in through the doors I was intrigued as of how she created her pieces of art. At first glance, I thought she was trying to recreate some sort of display of the universe with colorful planets. However, I was very wrong. As I continued to listen to Kiyomi speak about her artwork I learned that these were actually place mats that she had used to hold tea parties. The pieces up on the walls were sheets of paper that were created by various spills of tea, or just some markings that the teacups had imprinted. Some pieces were made by spilling juices on it, such as orange juice and beat juice. The orange juice was used to create the orange markings and the beat juice was used to create the pink color. Another really cool touch was that some sugar cubes had fallen on the pieces of paper and hardened to imitate a sort of crystallized look.

Kiyomi even demonstrated how her art pieces were created by having a separate table in the middle of the gallery where she poured tea that she had made herself to share with the viewers of her gallery. She asked viewers to try her tea and when they had finished they placed their teacups back on the table and then you could see right away the marks that the teacups leave on the sheets of paper. I really enjoyed the fact that she made her art gallery somewhat interactive, and actually displayed just how she made her art. So it was sort of a two in one, we were able to view beautiful pieces of art while also watching how those specific pieces were made at the same time.IMG_0521

Kiyomi’s art gallery was so unique because she even stated herself that most of her pieces of art were pretty much made by accident. None of the pieces were created with a plan, they sort of just happened when going about with the tea parties. The pieces ranged of different shapes from circles and rectangles, all different sizes from small to large. She said that her pieces were these shapes solely because of the reason that those were the shapes of the tables she places the sheets of papers on.

Another cool fact that I learned from Kiyomi is that she made all of her sugar cubes herself. She displayed a variety of different shapes and sizes of sugar cubes on the table. She talked about how she made the sugar cubes by using natural molds that she found, such as peanut shells and sunflower seed shells. The tea that she made was hibiscus tea with lemon grass and mint leaves.

IMG_0522Kiyomi’s inspiration for this art gallery was from personal loss and wanting to be able to share her personal experience without having to actually directly talk about it. She stated that the personal experience has always been a difficult subject for her to speak about, so she wanted to be able to express her emotions on the topic without having to literally verbally talk about it to other people. She wanted to emphasize empathy and faint traits of loss in her artwork.

When asked the question, “What swims around you?” she responded with the answer that she wants art and life to be in unison in her life. According to Kiyomi, art tends to be removed from real life but she wants to join it together.

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