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in my cosmic garden

“in my cosmic garden” (12 x 20″)

it’s very tempting to just play with elijah all day long and forget about drawing.

elijah, now 2 years and 3 months old, is a curious boy.  all summer, elijah and i were covered with dirt head to toe, digging holes as deep as we could, and watching ladybugs climb up on our fingers.  i’ve rediscovered that spinning around fast and falling down is fun, and that the sky is actually high and deep, and that getting dirty is relaxing.

i’ve heard that this stage of childhood is called the ‘terrible twos’.  i think children this age are just curious — we should call it the ‘curious twos’.  i want elijah to do as many experiments as he can think of even if he ends up feeling frustrated sometimes.  i try to play with him as much as he wants me to.  but at the end of a long day of running around in the playground and climbing up on monkey bars, i end up exhausted.  after all, i’m not a 2 year old. i’m a middle-aged mama.

when elijah was a baby, i used to stay up late at night drawing.  but with a toddler, it gets harder.  he just doesn’t stop, all day long.  by the time i put the laundry in at night, i need to go to bed and get ready for tomorrow.  i’d get ideas for drawings i wanted to do but i was so busy that i never got around to them.  even when i finally found some time, so many of the images in my mind would be gone, or stuck inside my head, not fresh or flowing out of me.  it’s fun to play with elijah but it was still depressing not to have time or energy to draw.

that’s how things have been going for the 6 months since my solo show opened this spring.  i’ve hardly done any drawings except the little sketches i do for elijah.  he draws more than i do and he seems to be having fun doing it.  i was jealous watching him — i almost forgot how much fun it is to draw.

a few weeks ago, i started to draw again.  all the images in my head started to stream out.  i felt better –drawing really is fun.

i was invited to send a new drawing to the mackenzie art gallery’s gala auction this november.  i took a piece i’d started earlier this month and finished it last saturday night.  it sure is a nice feeling to be drawing again after so long.

this is my first drawing after a long vacation.  it’s called “in my cosmic garden”.  i spent a lot of time playing in the garden and taking care of plants this summer.  my mind is still out in the wild and natural world.

Gala Art Auction

Friday, November 6th, 6:30 pm

With an East Indian theme, we will begin the evening at 6:30 with an appetizer reception, including entertainment, raffle offerings, followed by a Live Art Auction of approx.20 works of original art by local & national artists. The evening will end with our raffle results, dessert, coffee & tea.

Tickets: On sale October 1, 2009 at the Gallery Shop ($100 each)

Limit of 250 tickets available call 584-4295 to reserve.

Auction items will be posted on on October 14, 2009.

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when elijah feels pain, i do too.

you can take a look at the process here:

art recipe 1
art recipe 2
art recipe 3
art recipe 4

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mr. elijah, 363 day-old baby, has finally slept through the night. i put him to bed at 6:30 pm and he woke up at 4:54 am! during the night he was awake for awhile and talking to himself, but he went back to sleep. our boy learned to go back to sleep on his own.

only 3 times in his entire life has he slept more than two or three hours in a row. one day in august when he was two and a half months old, he slept for seven hours straight. we kept him up most of the night before, because we had to pack for a trip and catch an early morning flight. then there were two days in march when he was nine and a half months old when he slept five hours and four hours in a row. otherwise, he was up every two or three hours every single night.

last night, i was really tired so i went to bed early at 10 pm. i woke myself up in a panic at 2:44 am. i couldn’t believe the time i thought i must have slept through elijah crying. i went to the living room, where paul was awake working on a project. he told me that elijah was still sleeping quietly, more than 8 hours since he went to bed. we decided to go check on elijah just to make sure he was still alive.

he was sound asleep. it looked like he had rolled over to change his sleeping position, but he kept sleeping. we snuck out of the room happily. my right breast was swollen like the planet earth from not feeding for this long. it started to shoot milk a little; i think it was crying milky tears.

i felt so much better sleeping five hours straight for the first time in a long time and was so excited that he’s sleeping that i couldn’t go back to sleep for awhile. can anyone rock me to sleep?

i heard him talking (not crying) at 4:54 am. he was looking for my breasts so i nursed him. i put him down even though he was awake. i left the room, but i didn’t hear a thing after that.

he woke up at 6:30 am for his breakfast. he was chanting ‘manma! manma! (food)”. he looked very happy that i was happy.

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this drawing is for a group show titled ’100 stories’ at hosfelt gallery in NYC, april 11th to may 31st. you can sneak a peek at the show on the gallery’s website and read about it on todd hosfelt’s blog.

it was also mentioned on the juxtapoz blog last saturday. exciting!

hosfelt gallery
531 w 36th street,
new york

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tonight is the opening of the group show, “girls at play” at compound gallery. i’ll be flying to portland all day today — no direct flight from saskatoon, so we have to change planes in calgary and vancouver. i hope elijah will be happy and sleepy all day.

the curator from the gallery contacted me back in july and invited me to be part of this show. he said the theme would be “twisted eroticism”. i’ve never tried to draw anything erotic, so i wasn’t sure why he asked me. but then i remembered that some of my drawings show up on sexy websites from time to time, especially the ones with naked breasts. it’s a little strange to me that people find my drawings to be erotic, since i don’t think of them that way.

i’m not very good at drawing around a theme, or doing anything on purpose. i tend to get heavy mind-constipation worrying about whether my work will fit with what i’ve been asked to do, or if anyone will understand it. as a good japanese citizen, harmony is very important. so i end up thinking a lot about the other people and the situation, instead of just drawing what i feel like drawing.

i didn’t get much done for this show until the end of september. it was elijah’s super-fussy season around age 2-3 months. then, when i had time to think about drawing, i couldn’t decide what to do for this show.

after all that mind-blowing mind-constipation, i decided i wouldn’t care what i was supposed to do for the show. i just started drawing whatever came to my mind: first there was a girl playing nintendo wii with her breasts, then there were some roosters doing strange things (i didn’t realize what the other word is for “rooster”), then finally there were some giant hearts attached to a stump body of a schoolgirl. maybe some people will still find it sexy but it doesn’t seem that way to me. i was just trying to make myself laugh.

i’m happy the show was given the title “girls at play”. i didn’t know the title until just recently, after doing most of the drawings. it’s good that i drew the girl playing with the wii. but even the other drawings are just me playing around with my pencils, so it still fits with the theme.


i hope people have fun looking at my drawings. if you’re in portland tonight, come to compound gallery. i’m not very chatty and don’t make much sense, but i’d be very happy if you are there.

here is the set of drawings i’m showing. you can click the images to enlarge, and go through them like a slideshow.




my original drawings can be purchased from compound gallery’s online shop (and at the gallery, in portland). i will be making prints of a few of these drawings and adding them to my online shop.

girls at play

four female artists who represent a new movement in japanese art
(show details)

november 1 – 30
reception november 1st @7pm

compound gallery
107 nw 5th avenue
portland, oregon

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finally, my GALLERY is up-to-date!

this is second version of my gallery page. the first one was based on my flickr images, but it didn’t work well so i had to remove it after my site got linked from metafilter.

this new version of my gallery is based on the open source singapore image gallery. paul did the work to set it up and design it to match with my blog and shop. it looks nice and clean, and it’s easy to use.

i put up many different image galleries. there’s a collection of my favorite drawings and collections from different seasons. you can watch my style change over time, because i can never stick with one thing for very long. there are also slideshows where you can view a group of my drawings (start the slideshow of my favorite drawings).

putting my new gallery together, i found lots of drawings in my messy files that i haven’t shown yet on this blog. some of them are quite embarrassing, but now that i’m going to be a mama, i can’t be shy anymore…

older drawings from my gallery

first, really really early and really really embarrassing. this is a drawing i did with markers and color pencils back in kyoto in 1999. the japanese text says “the real me is…”. this was my best effort in shading.

honto no jibun wa

that one was popular with young people but old people looked so concerned about my future.

next, something i did in 2004. i showed this with my “loud silence” photographs and useless toys at the women’s art festival in kingston, ontario — my first-ever show.

born out of me

you can really see the “Action” of the New Me’s. i used this same idea a couple more times to do drawings of heads coming out of me. my mind really is everywhere.

from the same time, this drawing is still one that i like a lot. it’s my secret love-love feeling.

my secret love

that was drawn with markers (and acrylic paint to decorate the edges) in about 10 minutes. can’t believe i’m showing it to so many people…

my first real show in kingston was at the sleepless goat cafe, in december 2004. i decided i should try to draw something bigger for the first time ever. i did most of the drawings and paintings for the show in about 2 and a half weeks. this was done with color pencils and ballpoint pen.


the title is “zukyuun”, which is a japanese sound effect for an explosion/blasting sound. lots of my drawings from this time have rabbits in them, or fish, or both. arts people (with degrees in fine arts) would ask me about the symbolism of the rabbits and fish. there was no symbolism, i just like drawing rabbits and fish.

here’s another one from the same show, with “rabbit-ojisan”, a middle-aged man wearing a rabbit mask. i always think of men like this to be a little sad but kind.

rabbit-ojisan suitcase

after that show, i didn’t do much drawing for awhile. in 2005, i did only 3 larger drawings (calcium keeps me calm, i told you, and since the first moment). most of the drawings i did were little doodles on scraps of paper, like this one.

yes i love you too

i did a few small drawings in the fall of 2005 when i first came to saskatoon. the sushi shop where i was waitressing asked me to put up some artwork, after seeing my drawings at the fringe festival. this one is called “supper is here”.

supper is here

all along, i was doing drawings on construction paper. i like construction paper because it’s colorful. here are two i drew more recently, in 2006:

thank you rabbit

je suis vide

i like to put these construction paper drawings in my online SHOP. the top one, “thank you rabbit”, sold to someone in california. the bottom one, “je suis vide“, is for sale now.

eventually, i got my first show in a gallery, the royal red gallery at phonographique in saskatoon. i had very little to show, so i had to draw like crazy to get ready. a lot of my favorite drawings were done in the month before that show, including my self portrait and chicken fight.

one of my silliest drawings was also from that time, which is based on a painting i did back in 2003 or so. that painting is way, way too embarrassing to show here, so this will be the end of my shameful (“hazukashii~~”) look back at my gallery. time to “hit the beach”.

hit the beach

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(click the image to view close up)

i did this drawing for the new “unbound: gender in asia” issue of the kyoto journal. i originally submitted this along with “all i can see” for possible cover images. i guess they didn’t want so many nipples on the cover: “all i can see” didn’t get used at all, and this drawing is on the table of contents page. it’s strange, because i think “all i can see” is a way better drawing than this one. that’s okay, it showed up in the interview about me in the sheaf.

the actual cover of the kyoto journal issue shows a collection of women’s shoes. it was published back in november, but i couldn’t find it in any bookstores in saskatoon (it’s distributed all over the world). i had to wait to receive my copy from japan.

as a supplement to the issue, some of my drawings are being shown on the kyoto journal online. i chose the two drawings that i did on purpose for this submission, plus some other drawings that ended up having something to do with gender. or at least, they’re nipple-related.

i thought about the theme of gender when i was drawing “forbidden fruits” and “all i can see”. i don’t usually think about anything when i’m drawing, except drawing (and curb your enthusiasm, which i watch a lot while i’m drawing). i don’t really know what this drawing “means”, but that’s what i drew.

the kyoto journal is written in english, so you can read it too. look for it in your local bookstore. if you find it in saskatoon, let me know!

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