There are certain key words or what I call elements such as Thread, Visions and Face Fruits, that are found in my Tree of Life works that helps to characterize them. Here in this page I would like to discuss on thoughts behind them:
One of the most signature element in my Tree of Life work is appearance of cotton cord or simply, the Thread. Physically a thread can be a structural element that helps to tie pieces. More impotantly in my work the thread act as a decorative element that provides a variety of pattern as well as contrast with clay or fiber. Symbolically, I see it as a metaphor for light and gravity- invisible threads of cosmic space that holds the universe together. This analogy will become more apparent in works relating to the theme of "Cosmic Tree of Life" . I also sees it , especially in figure sculptures, as a thread of genes, the DNAs, that provide identity to each individual, thereby uniqueness.
In Japan, I was using a hard cotton cord of varied size for thread, however, in the United States I have not been able to find them except for one size. So instead of hard cotton cord, I have gone to softer ones as a thread element. It turned out that this maybe better suited to cotton/glue modeling material that I have been using lately.
A symbol for nature,Creation, universe,etc., simply put its my version of Christmas Tree.
So far the Tree of Life pieces I have created are like Japanese bonsai in that though leaves and fruits are quite similar to regular tree size, the branches and trunks are miniature in scale.
Face Fruits are the main product of the Tree of Life. The first Face Fruits were made around 2000 and were first exhibited in 2001. Since then over 250 of them of varied size were made. The ones made in Japan were made of non- firing clay that were strengthened by mixing with glue and finished in various colored stain varnishes. The ones in US are being made of fiber/glue mixture finished with layers of liquitex varnish. As though they are fruits, these face fruits also hang from branches of wood. These faces are probably different than faces other people might make in that they have stems and leaves which are made of layers of cotton cloth over wires and fencing material.
Faces are not made too realistic; many of them are like caricature, exaggerated. They are not life size either. l did not want to make it too ealistic as it would look odd seeing realistic heads hanging from branches of wood. Since Face Fruits represents variety of individual, I have tried to depict many different type of faces much as as possible.
Though they do look like tiny leaf than flower, Face Petalsdd are not leaves, but a single, unique, petal flower which in the end will fall and from which face fruits will grow. Each Face Petal consists of ink and acrylic goache illustratration of each, unique individual in the center. This is like dna in that it carries future potential of this individual.
The Harvest or harvest time is when human soul has reached a full maturity. In my way of thinking, each individual, each soul undergoes growth here on Earth, and upon reaching full maturiy when the individuation process is completed, then the soul is ready to move on to next stage.
The final stage of Harvest time is 'fruits of golden rings'. This is when each individual has developed fully:Its is soul then becomes golden ring shape halo, and is ready to move onto next stage of development.
Angels appear in my "Everyday Scenes from the Tree of Life" works as both spokesman for the Tree and as a Healer with tremendous power. Two archangels that have appeared are Archangel Gabriel as 'Messenger Angel' and Archangel Raphael as a 'Healing Angel' who heals the wounded earth. I blieve I have somewhat followed a Judeo-Christian image in depicting these angels. However, instead of healing an illed person, Raphael heals a person with myopia. And even greater miracle, a wounded earth.
I see angels as supernatural extent of the Tree so I will not necessary follow judea- Christian images of them. For example, I have been thinking of introducing archangel Kwan-yin among others in future works. In Buddhism, I believe Kwan-yin is a bodhisattva, a person who rejects nirvana in order to assist suffering mankind. To me that quality is equivalent to archangel so in my myth, Kwan-yin will be a feminine archangel.
Stars of "'Everyday Scenes"
I have created rather comical characters for "Everyday Scene" works that was based on paragraph-long micro stories. They were stories that was based on my commentary on various subjects. I wanted the stories to be rather odd and a bit fantastic, and at the same time, light so comical characters were added. I was hoping this would ease some viewers from getting too upset over my comments. The point was not to upset people, but to share some of my thoughts.
This drawing shows gathering of most of the characters that have appeared in ' Everyday Scenes so far. it includes Micro-dino family, Lady bug Beetlebug and most of the charactes described below.
Star Characters include:
1.Micro-dino family - miniatrue size dinosaur famaily who loves freedom over security
2.Goldwyn the Popeye Goldfish- Though intelligent and well-learned, he suffers from myopia
3.Giant Snail- Lives by eating leaves of the Tree of Life.
4.Giant Snail Hunter and his wife, Frogolida- a wonderfully loving couple who lives off by capturing Giant Snail. Like bufffloes to the native Americans of the great plains in the past, to Hunter and Frogolida snail is a panacea to their living: its meat, a needed nourishment, and its shells, source for furnitures, musical instruments, etc.
5. Worms from Tartarus- One time enemy of mankind and fought with Jason and Argonauts, butlater become allies fighting nasty scorpions
6. Ladybug Beetlebug- Possess a green thumb raising apples in his orchard.
7. Ka the Serpent and her husband- She loves to eat apples, and is a close friend of Eva
8. Eva- Loves to take a morning walk with Beetlebug and have an apple-break with her friend, Ka the Serpent. Her favorite topics include such light ones as, "Meaning of Life" "Nature of Mankind" and " Superiority of woman over man"
9. Jason and the Argonauts- Connived as quests, sent to all kinds of wars offshore by the government while at home, their kids are playing " Lord of the Flies" running amok and killing each other.
10. Moses- Loves to guide people and all kinds of creatures, but is being told by the Tree that commandmants are rather outdated.
These are bright, poster color paint on paper works that I have done in the mid 90's. It's part of Vision series where I try to depict the image of Tree of Life. With these works though, I wanted to depict Tree of Life as a Cosmic Tree with leaves and branches as colors of energy abstract or surrealistically imagined.
I am thinking of doing a somewhat similar type of work again as sculptures that I am currently working on seems to be moving towards this image of Cosmic Ttree.