February 10, 2016 by Laura Gomez


Artist Interview:

Name: Wakako Kawakami

Age: 46

Birthday: 23rd of Oct, 1969

College: Completed Post-Graduate Course(Fine Arts) of Musashino Art
University, Junior College of Art and Design, Department of Fine Arts

Favorite color: Red, Green, Yellow, and etc

Favorite book: Tadanori Yokoo ‘Yamaino Kamisama (God of illness)’

Favorite movie: ‘The King and I’

Favorite food: Omelette

Favorite quote: none

Why are you an artist, and when did you become one?
-I cannot balance myself unless I keep creating new pieces of my work. I also keep myself sane by being surrounded by them. I have so much things that I want to express. I’ve been working since 1995.

Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project?How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start?

-That was when I went to a park run by Tokyo-to to examine the site before I
accepted an offer to exhibit my art works there, I was surprised to see that there were so many animals in the park.
So I asked the park officer about the animals, then he answered that those animals had been abandoned by their owner but some kind people kept feeding them then the animals survived fine in the park.
At that time I remembered my childhood memory that my friend’s parakeet didn’t come back after he ran away home.
I have a special feeling for parakeet because I kept a parakeet for a long time by myself.
What inspired me was my hope that all the parakeets worldwide who fled or were thrown away had kept living fine with their friends and family somewhere.
The parakeets of my art works were made into the same size as myself.
I made a small pattern of the parakeet art work at first and then tried 20 patterns of them until I was convinced when the parakeet became as big as the size of myself!
I am feeling that to express the reality of life, to make the parakeet art work into the size as big as myself is quite necessary.

What’s the best advice anyone gave you?
-“Create pieces that can convince yourself.”

Do you suffer for your art? – When you create new forms, pains always accompany you.

How would you define yourself as artist? -I have no idea…

What inspires you to work?
-Everyday life.

You seem to use a lot of symbols in your work. Do your works tell stories or are they simply decorative elements of the project?
– They tell stories. Not decorative.

What famous artists have influenced you, and how?

– Pablo Picasso. I appreciate his energy which made him going to create work and the fact that he always tried something new.

What other interests do you have outside of art?
-Watching Japanese ‘Kabuki’.

Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art performances today?

– Mainly at theaters, museums, galleries in Tokyo.

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art?

– Never thought about it.

What are your next projects?
-I haven’t decided the timing but thinking of an installation with dandelion flowers.