Fresh Fish Heads

–> Quality Time With Señor Yamamoto

~ INTRO ~

Who knew it would take more then an hour per interview not including travel time. It’s possibly ambitious overestimation scheduling four interviews in distant locations of Los Angeles, or just plain insanity. Regardless, after spending some quality time with my cousin and her son at the Long Beach Aquarium, followed by a leap to Venice Beach to meet with Frank Rozasy, I found the day half over and the schedule totally off. Maybe counting the miles between locations on my map would have helped. A workers demonstration severely backing up traffic around the Civic Center area right outside my destination in the Little Tokyo ‘hood really threw a wrench into my plans. Running hella late, I checked my cell and noticed numerous missed calls. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins driving me to complete the days mission. Yoskay had been patiently waiting and doubting if I was going to make it, especially when he realized I’d been given the wrong address. This initial sputter corrected, we finally connected at the spot Yoskay Yamamoto prefers to relax, sketch and take in the LA scenery. Continue reading

Ground Up In LA

~An Interview With Frank Rozasy~

~ INTRO ~

On a daily basis, you encounter countless creatures doing what it takes to survive. Is survival simply getting enough to eat and protection from the elements, or does it go deeper? According to the commonly accepted breakdown, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it evolves to a certain level. More levels could yet be uncovered. Winding down the classic Highway 1 into Southern California and dodging raging wildfire mayhem, Moments Of Truth has arrived in Los Angeles.

As we’re all too well aware, this rotating hunk called earth is in a state of constant flux. Winds that hurl flames in any and all directions is current proof of that. Some of us may fuel the fantasy of bodies frozen in stasis while the mind establishes believable illusions of a life. Though that doesn’t provide an answer, questions abound about life, from youth until adulthood, as a person seeks to comprehend their purpose on earth. Maybe it’s a lot simpler than we want to believe. One factor that seems to remain constant, no matter how much oatmeal you consume, is that certain geographic locations are attributed a particular status. A person who survives and achieves success in New York, Paris, London, or Los Angeles has. . . well, ‘made it.’ The rest of us, well. . . I guess we’re still trying to figure ‘it’ out.

In a cozy Venice Beach one bedroom apartment Frank Rozasy lives, breathes, and dreams among the materials he develops into expressions of his passions. Is your purpose survival, and survival as simple as following your passions?

Screening Out Venice

~ BACKGROUND ~

Moments Of Truth ~ Hello Frank, thanks for taking the time to share with us. To start off, please describe the creative medium(s) you focus on.

Frank Rozasy ~ I’m a painter, a photographer, computer graphics artist and I do installations.

MOT ~ Has this changed or evolved over time?

FR ~ Oh yea, absolutely! It’s always been figurative, but it’s evolved especially with the computer. Once you start working with the computer, it’s like a pencil or anything else, it opens up infinite different venues and creative ideas.

MOT ~ Is there one you really enjoy focusing on? I see you have a lot of nice wood, do you use that for your paintings?

FR ~ Well, yea, if you’ll walk up with me I’ll show you. . . (Frank takes the opportunity to introduce me to his studio space. I love getting into workshops, I don’t know if it’s because of growing up with my dad as a carpenter and his woodshop being a place to explore with adult equipment and ideas or what.)

I’ve been working with my friend and model, her name is Doe, doing art of her for the last 25 years. That’s her, that’s Doe. I don’t know if you went to my website but I have hundreds of pieces of fantasy art and it’s all her. I’ve taken probably tens of thousands of pictures Continue reading

Determined To Nature

Have you ever aspired to be a “professional” artist only to find an aspect of that path too unacceptable? Maybe the thought of compromising your ideals to get paid for being ‘creative’ extracts the marrow from your soul.

Sitting down at Douglas Greer’s kitchen table at his home just outside the San Jose area, MOT heard the story of an unexpected rescue from the misguided idea of a ‘normal’ life. Childhood dreams of becoming an artist, postponed to avoid the loss of creative freedom for financial gain, found their way back again. Smoked gouda on Triscuits and Austrailian shiraz never tasted so good.

~ BACKGROUND ~

Moments Of Truth ~ If you would, please describe your main creative endeavors?

Douglas Greer ~ Well, it’s watercolors, in one word.

MOT ~ Has this changed or evolved over time?

DG ~ Yes, actually when I first started when I was pretty young, I tended to work more in other mediums. Say, for example, in college I worked more in oils. But then, when I quit to become a regular person and raise a family, I didn’t paint at all. I didn’t start painting again until I went to Ireland in 1989. The medium that I happened to pick up at that time was watercolors, and have since stuck with it.

Within the watercolor department, there is sort of an evolution. You may start off, not knowing exactly what you’re doing and then begin to evolve in a number of ways. One is subject matter; what do you paint? There’s standard things like still life and landscapes or portraits, something like that. What you do is work through a range of options until Continue reading

Bridging Dichotomies

Usual View


~ INTRO ~

A friend of a friend led to the interview opportunity with mixed media creative Taiko Fujimura. The following quote lays out what she works to express in her creations. “The concepts she explores include quietude, peacefulness, harmony, unity, and universality. Her work is strongly influenced by Japanese wabi-sabi, an aesthetic system she strongly believes to be “beautiful” art and Japanese calligraphy, which she has studied since age six.” Hmm, I just noticed, that like my previous interview, Taiko started studying Japanese calligraphy at the age of six. Maybe that’s the age when young Japanese women traditionally begin to learn this. Could the inclusion of the study of this medium in Japanese culture spark a sense of creative expression? I caught up with her at a group show at the Market Street Gallery during San Francisco’s city-wide month of open studios.

BACKGROUND

Moments Of Truth ~ Hello Taiko Fujimura, thank you for taking this time during your open gallery to sit down and tell us about yourself, creative process, and work. Could you please describe the medium you work in?

Taiko Fujimura ~ I use acrylic in my painting works. My passion though is sculpture. Unfortunately, because of space constraints I paint to be able to store the works easily. I do enjoy painting as it allows me a certain freedom to do a lot. If it’s a 3D image [sculpture] I need to think about spatial elements, math involved. Just a lot of thinking and preparing involved.

One sculpture project I really enjoyed entitled “Ikebana” I like conceptual art. Sculpture is a medium that realizes my conceptual way of thinking. (An excerpt of her description describes “This series is an experimental abstract three-dimensional form that asks the audience to define their personal aesthetic sensibilities. Similar to how the placement of each flower in a vase may evoke distinct aesthetic reactions about the entire arrangement, the abstract depictions of objects in these pieces are constructed using discrete mathematical and technical principles.” Some images of this project can be viewed here: Series_Ikebana

MOT ~ So given the opportunity, without space constraints, would you focus your energy on dealing with conceptual ideas in the 3D realm of sculpture? Continue reading

Cultivation Of A Polished Rune

Aoi & Her Work

~ INTRO ~

After calling Aoi and three text messages later we’d decided to meet up at the Lake Merritt area of Oakland because it’s a fairly easy landmark to locate. Originally built in 1953, the lake is described as “a focal point, it stands as the jewel of Oakland, even crowned with lights” by oaklandnet.com. Sun setting behind the lake provided a spectacular backdrop to capture some photos of Aoi’s calligraphy work. Tons of people were jogging by and we even had to ask a couple people for help to hold some of her larger work.

Following the ‘photo shoot,’ we headed towards a nearby area to escape the encroaching dark cold air. At first thought the local Starbucks appeared a solid location to conduct an interview. Closer inspection revealed it rank with chatter. Across the street, Colonial Donuts proved a more hospitable interview environment. After ogling the pastry selections we both settled on apple turnovers, with she an Earl Grey tea and I a ‘Milk Chug’ to wash it down. We sat down in the middle of the shop snacking on the goodies while discussing what calligraphy entails for her.

~ BACKGROUND ~

Moments Of Truth ~ Today is Thursday, October 18TH, 2007 and I’m here with Aoi Yamaguchi. Please describe your main mode or medium of creative expression.

Aoi Yamaguchi ~ Primarily, I do Japanese calligraphy. I’ve been doing this since I was six years old.

MOT ~ Are there specific differences for Japanese calligraphy in comparison to say Chinese or Western forms?

AY ~ The Japanese form is really unique, based on traditional culture. I use special brushes and papers. Like if I was just to draw the alphabet, it’s very simple lines, while there’s a lot of curves and three different styles of characters [in Japan], hiragana, katakana and kanji. Kanji is the most complicated one and consists of [a] bunch of strokes. It’s really hard to write, but that’s what really makes me want to do it and learn it because it’s hard. If it’s easy, I can be more creative, it takes time to learn it but we need patience to develop the skill.

Any of the three characters can be used, but we don’t use katakana that much. It’s more for foreign words, like English, to describe the sounds. The kanji has the Continue reading

“Rage Your Dream”

Discovering individuals dedicated to any particular thing in the modern fast paced materialistic boarders of the United States is so rare I find it surprising. How does someone spend most of their time and energy focused on one thing, thus sacrificing time otherwise used to enjoy all the desired leisure activities: video games, television, viewing professional sports or going out to clubs? Austin Oseke, 28, is a publisher, comic book artist and to sum it up, describes himself as an entrepreneur. He revels in those challenging opportunities that a small business owner encounters. It is a constant state of adjustment with an overflowing closet full of hats. Examples of these roles range from dealing with all the elements of publishing, to artist, writer, creator, business development, marketing, and more. After deciding on, followed by actual achievement of specific goals, a foundation to continued success is laid. Ones confidence than builds, allowing a steadily broader vision to grow.

BACKGROUND

Moments Of Truth ~ What would describe your creative activities, either on your own, or as part of your business?

Austin Oseke ~ I use eigoMANGA as my vehicle for my creative energies. If I just wanted to create a comic book store, I would have done that. My desire was to develop a business in the entertainment segment. I love music, television, doing concerts, events, and try to bring these creative aspects slash initiatives into my business. I see my company as my opportunity to project that, and it’s very effective for me to do it that way.

MOT ~ Do you think the medium that you’ve used has changed over time, and do you expect it to continue too? Or go in any particular direction in the future? I know you used to have a lot more time to draw. . .

AO ~ If we’re talking about comics, the medium has changed definitely. It’s all about the Internet now. What’s funny about that is that I received recognition through Wizard magazine because of the Internet. I told them “we are in the digital age, and it’s a really great tool to publish your comics, get them out there, and tell your story without going through the conventional red-tape to get your comic out there.” It’s a great tool, I mean, to a certain extent, you can now even create comics on the Internet. It’s great, I like it a lot.

When it comes down to it, there is no replacement to just sitting down with a pencil or pen and just drawing. There’s no replacement for that. That’s where your energy, your passions just flow. Eventually, sure, when you want to touch it up and refine it for print you’d touch it up after Continue reading

A Blue Note: Sketched In The Raw

Blue Note: Sketched In The Raw

In the land of Daisuke Maki, everything around him could be a seed that may develop roots into a project. Working in the field of graphic design is for him the opportunity to “make things better both visually and functionally.” Unbeknownst to me, I’ve stumbled into his Lower Nob Hill apartment this Wednesday October 10th, on his birthday. Apparently, because it’s a weekday, he has kept it under wraps, planning to celebrate with friends over the weekend. Not wasting any time, we crack open a pair of ales and set to some question and answer as city life continues on the streets only a few stories below his opened window.

* BACKGROUND *

Moments of Truth ~ How would you describe the creative medium(s) you focus in?

Daisuke Maki ~ Graphic design. It starts from sketching with pens and paper. Then after making rough sketches, I’ll go on the computer and execute my idea. I used to be a fine artist before. . . or at least I wanted to be a fine artist before. After studying fine art for two years, I spent the majority of my life wanting to become a painter – since I was little even – until I met a guy in Japan who did graphic design. He showed me his stuff and it clicked, “oh shit, this can be my job!” I didn’t know how successful a focus on fine arts would be, so that’s the time I switched to graphic design.

DMD ~ IN ART WE TRUST

MOT ~ Would you like to get back to what might be considered “fine arts” work in the future?

DM ~ Yea, definitely. [In regards to what I do now,] graphic design is about having the subject first and our job is to make it better and more appreciable. Let’s say there’s a cell phone, there are so many cell phones around, and you want to make a better cell phone. That became an icon. Our job is to make things better both visually and functionally.

Graphic design is based on business more, always money related before you start doing the job. Also, you have to think about the target audience, budget, among other elements. It’s more challenging Continue reading