Love is the essence of life

Life is the essence of my art

My work reflects my everyday life,

not like a mirror does,

but like the surface of a ripping pond.

My everlasting dream is to make work that is sensual and psychic, affecting the mind, emotions, believes, dreams, and the individual. Art is like war in that it has a strong impact on the mind, only it is not destructive.

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I grew up in the fringe of Tokyo, surrounded by Japanese people, Japanese culture and believes and nature in Japanese community. While Japan is made with influences of other countries, my world was completed within Japan, and it was a whole big world to me. In a country where majority of people were Japanese, I grew up seeing and noticing differences in details of individuals, rather than seeing visually bold differences between different races, ethnicities, or groups of people. There were always similarities and differences between anything that I encountered. Growing up I always felt some harmony, but also being alienated, isolated, compared, judged, divided within such a very specific and small community, which I realized that it was big yet small, only after I moved to outside. Majority is minority in another place. The environment I grew up has raised me to believe in and accept the existences of opposites for anything. It was only natural for me to believe in pluralism or something close to the idea of being between and both. The small island-nation has been strangely different from the rest of the world, both good and bad, and that is origin of my inspiration and my urge to create something eccentric and unconventional yet purely visually beautiful and meaningful to our mind.

In Japan, I have seen and experienced many problems and frustrations that are unique to the country, but some of them I believe are universal. In US there are problems that which some of them are similar to Japan, some of them are different. I think those problems in the world exist maybe because we are still living based on the premises of dualism and monism. I feel something might change if we engaged with complication and ambiguity more often without changing them. This is why I utilize optical illusions, clichés, and imagination in my creations combined with reality, to make work that gives totally different impressions of something that at first appears simple. A life has a beginning and an ending, it is simple and beautiful for any living creature, but it becomes more complicated as we realize things… and that is the beauty of being born human. Freedom of the mind is a unique human trait, and it should not be taken for granted. I have a fear of the simplification that is offered with the convenience of living a modern life. I have a fear of the ignorance of the technology, that which makes life so easy but which I neither made nor know the fundamental structures of. I feel as society develops and stagnates, our individual inner lives become less unconditionally essential elements to the world. Everything is complicated and integrated yet it is simple at the same time, and everything is connected to everything else, from past to now to the future, from good and bad, from Japan to China to America to their farthest country, and from politics to pop-culture to art.

There are many pressures and restrictions in our society, and it is sometimes difficult to confront the truth and meaning from the inside. What happens in society makes me believe that outside of the laws that are inflexible and man-made, free of the pressures of societies or governments, or any kind of restrictions or rules, is where I need to be, using instead own judgment and sense of justice to think and act. Anyone who belong to a society has pressures they face, when they try to speak up something new or haven't yet spoken out. Living outside as an outsider helps me to learn and understand my country more from diferent perspectives, and it gives more meaning to what I make as who I am, as an outsider, as a minority, as an individual, as a Japanese, as a female, and as a human. By observing society and depicting human nature at a distance, my goal is to deliver perspectives of things that are relatively unknown, unrealized, hidden, prohibited, or forgotten, but are nevertheless present within everyday life.

My creation is based on my interests in human behavior: gestures, actions, and habits that derive from conscious and unconscious states of mind. I am interested in human as a unique creature that lives and dies for its mind, imagination, and creations. Human behaves somewhat similar yet different from other creatures. There are things only people do, and problems only people have. There are things only other animals do, and ways only other creatures know, that sometimes I feel that perhaps we can learn from. Our innate traits are formless and invisible, and some of them seem to be fading away from our gene. I want to know what defines us as humans, apart from other creatures and rest of the world. I feel you and I are the same human being. I belong to you, and you belong to me, and we belong to the same place. But it is difficult to explain how and why compared to the differences between us. In today’s society, people are still focusing on differences first. We are trying to see every differences we can find, accept and embrace them. When there is a difference, there is minorities. Minorities can vary, but for instance, people who is not the majority, or people who cannot accept something when majority of people are receptive. If we see the similarities first, we do not divid ourselves. It is then not necessary to overcome differences because they are just fruits from a tree.

From very early age, I believed that nothing on the earth is the same. Everything is unique and different from one another, even the factory manufactured goods. So to me, what we are doing seemed like an endless chasing of differences between different things. We are constantly finding differences and trying to accept or deny them. Everything can be similar if we know how to see, I think this part of human nature hasroom for growth, yet we must also stay remembered that things are all different. In Japan I learned how people are good at finding differences, and I also realized that my eyes are trained to find differences between people and things that have urrounded me, friends, between wild flowers of same species, between local temples, between factory made teddy bears, between ants, butterflies, or flogs. In USA it is basically the same. Humans have inborn ability to find differences between two objects of any kinds. We are also trained in the society we belong to make use of the inborn abilities. I started to be interested in similarities between humans, and also what humans and other creatures share in common. Everything on this earth is unique and different, but to see that we have to be able to observe the inside, and my work is all about that. I believe balance is a solution to many things and my job is to visualize our inner qualities in front of our eyes. 

© 2019  Natsumi Goldfish