Last week, Frank McBride judged the MiIburn Prize and my piece was Highly Commended! It felt like being back at school and getting a certificate of achievement. According to my dictionary highly commended is failing to win a prize but nevertheless considered meritorious.
I made RADIANT (gathering ideas about imperial obsequiousness and radical libertarianism) last year. I spent the year experimenting with ink and various papers I had picked up in a washi shop in Kyoto. So many of my efforts looked like fabric that I even tried ink on fabric.
This piece started during a Friday studio session at the BIA. I was thinking about the origins of the paper so I started writing the name of the towns and cities I had visited in Japan. When I turned the paper sideways the writing could be read as calligraphy. This gave me the idea to paint an iconic Asian image over the writing. The rising sun used in the imperial flag of Japan has rays radiating from the red centre. With the addition of this image it took on a distinctly flag-like appearance, which led to the paper being hung from a bamboo pole.
I love how when you are making a piece the end is never clear, but when you reflect back you can see how one idea leads to another, connecting your thoughts and experiences in life. My wise mentor advised me to name the work so that the judges had a lot of information to help them understand my viewpoint. So I used my experience of Japan to come up with the title. I find Japan fascinating because it is so exotic and so extreme:
- traditional vs modern
- rural vs uber-urban
- safety vs yakuza
- friendliness vs war crimes
- obedience vs individualism
The exhibit is open Monday - Friday until May 15, 2015