Things just have a way of working out organically…I had penciled in on my calendar to attend the Love! Love! Japan event at the Young at Art Museum several weeks ago when I first saw it on the website…but it was really very passive, kind of in the back of my mind.
I remembered this week and went on the site only to see that the main event of the show, a lecture by Sebastian Masuda was sold out.
An email later, and I got a seat for this sold out lecture…thanks to being an art teacher and a contributor for Art Hive!
I went to the museum, first time ever going. I could kick myself for not going sooner…and now I want to go back maybe during the week when it isn’t so busy. But for all intents and purposes I did finally make it there today and it completely blew my mind. Wow. Going as an adult and feeling so in awe of the museum is one thing- I cannot imagine how amazing this must seem through the eyes of a child.
The lecture was very informative. There was a short video that looped prior to the start of the event that really helped to set the stage for the man that was to speak, and the overall essence of Harajuku fashion and culture. You know, I went in not really knowing much about the subject. Here is my background when it comes to Japan;
First and probably the most important- I have been to Japan. In the summer of 2009 I traveled to Japan with a group of educators for a Fulbright Study Abroad. I was fortunate enough to share the experience with my sister-in-law, Maria, who at the time was teaching children with autism. We were in Japan and really kind of lived there for the month, the whole group stayed in individual hotel rooms at the El Inn in Kyoto. That was our home home. We went out every day, visiting local Japanese schools and shrines. It was total immersion into the culture, with Dr. Tucker there to guide us and speak the language. I knew at the time that it was a big deal, that this was going to be a major event in my life. It was the farthest I have ever traveled…the longest period of time that I have ever been away from John…and it was the most different place I have ever been to and I got homesick some...but I would love the chance to go back.
Another connection that I have with Japan…I love Hello Kitty. Like, seriously. I have always loved Sanrio, even as a kid going into the Sanrio store and seeing all the different papers, and envelopes, and stamps…stickers…pencils. I just loved it. Still do.
What did I know of Harajuku? Not much. I have a Harajuku bag that I love because of all the bright colors…but that is all I knew. I did travel to Tokyo, and I remember seeing some of the girls in the brightly colored clothing…but I did not actually make it to the Harajuku area.
And what of Kawaii? I knew just a little bit prior to today. I had done a little bit of research a couple of years ago for writing a grant…and now that I think back on it I never did write it. (Which means I should!) I think instead I had my IMS students create Kawaii-inspired oil pastels and paper-mache sculptures.
So, if I had to describe my knowledge level walking into the lecture today…even though I have been to Japan…I would say that I did not know much about this specific aspect of Japanese culture. Which is kind of odd to me now that I think of it because this is probably the most like my own aesthetic.
Needless to say, I left the museum totally inspired. So much, that I am going to use Harajuku/Kawaii as the inspiration for my March series…. which means I am going to use COLOR and…well…just be totally out there and really express crazy self. I plan on exaggerating the facial features even more so that they fit my idea of what Kawaii is.... going to go even larger with the eyes and make the nose and mouth even smaller. I am thinking that this month calls for colorful, funky hair and makeup and wild prints and patterns…and layers. This will lend itself well to the mixed media that I have become so enamored with. (Sigh) I love combining my drawings with collage. This is going to be a fun month!
Artist and Art Teacher