FILMMAKING CLASSES FOR ADULTS:
FILMMAKING CLASSES FOR ADULTS:
Fonda Yoshimoto is an artist based in Oakland, Ca.
“The quality that we call beauty….must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows towards beauty’s ends.“- Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (1977)
Rae: Can you recall a memory of when you first started making art? How did you start being serious about it?
Fonda: The first memory I have of making is when I was around 4 years old. I made a small house-like structure. I remember carefully collecting spare wood from around the shack my family and I lived in. I knew what I wanted to make and struggled so much with fitting all of the disparate pieces together. I was fascinated by the whole process: the idea, the struggle, and the outcome. I started off like many children do with painting and drawing. My mother always encouraged me to create, although we did not have much money we were always able to find materials to make things with. I started really understanding how serious art is to me in college when I was around 20 years old. I took Art Studio and Art History courses in college and started to realize how powerful art can be, what an incredible form of communication it is. I was able to express my ideas and emotions through art in ways that I could not through words.
Rae: Which cities have you lived in?
Fonda: I have lived in over 30 houses in many different cities. Honolulu, HI; Laguna Beach, Santa Rosa, and Davis, CA; Providence, RI to name a few.
Rae: What do you love most about being an artist in Oakland?
Fonda: I love the range of different venues from professional galleries to coffee shops to improvised spaces. I love how accessible art is, especially with the Oakland Museum, First Fridays, and all of the murals and public art.
Rae: What inspires you to continue making art?
Fonda: Making is a way of thinking. I connect with materials and develop ideas through making. It is also something I share with my ancestors, who were all makers in their own way. They worked hard to support themselves and their families and engaged in art when they could, because the need to create is so strong. My mom once wrote to me, “I am excited for your ability to create and do what you love.” Her words inspire me to continue making art.
Rae: Any influential artist that you love and admire?
Fonda: Linda Sormin, Shannon Goff, Ambromovitch, and Eva Hesse.
Rae: When you were studying at UC Davis who was an influential teacher of yours? What did he/she teach you most about?
Fonda: Annabeth Rosen, Professor at UC Davis, was an incredible influence on me and my work. She really did teach me what hard work looks like. She is so dedicated to her work and to her students. She encourages her students to gain inspiration from their own lives, the environment around them, and to work beyond their comfort zone.
Rae: What impressed you most about the art department in UC Davis?
Fonda: The Art Department at UC Davis has incredible faculty who create a supportive yet rigorous environment. In terms of Ceramics, UC Davis is steeped in history. TB9, the ceramics building, has great facilities. We were encouraged to take advantage of the space, and size of the kilns, to make work ranging from small to large.
Rae: You also studied at RISD. How did studying there influence your art making now?
Fonda: At RISD one of the first questions I was asked is ,”why clay?” I started grad school with an interest in working with different materials, but while I was there I was able to learn how to work with wood, metal, textiles, as well as video, and drawing. When I felt like I needed to learn about a new medium or technique I was able to because I had access to classes, facilities, faculty, and other students. I keep that belief that you can learn just about anything with me, I am curious and want to continue learning forever. At RISD I was able to break my own boundaries of what I considered art, as well as what I considered I was capable of. My work expanded into the room or the environment it was in, I began making work that the viewer could see, walk around, and walk through. I am excited about making work that people can connect with visually and physically.
Rae: What is your most favorite medium to work with? Why?
Fonda: My favorite medium to work with is Ceramics, it has such a tactility and versatility. I love working with different types of clay, all having different qualities and personalities. Working with clay is mental, physical, emotional. I just feel really alive when I work with clay, the way the material responds to you, and demands time and attention.
Rae: Is there any artist you want to collaborate with in the future?
Fonda: My studio-mate from grad school, Sarah Gross, and I collaborated on curating a show at RISD. We are currently in discussion about collaborating again.
Rae: Any new upcoming projects you are working on?
Fonda: One of my pieces in the 10th Street Studios show is a knitted piece. I am really excited about the potential of drawing through knitting and am continuing to explore that. My goal is to use the knitted pieces to create a space that people could stand in, and walk through.
Rae: Please tell me about what your artwork, what does it represent for you personally?
Vein is a drawing on translucent rice paper. There are three layers so you can see into the drawing. I am interested in drawing in ways that are physically three-dimensional. The ink lines wind around the page, connecting and clustering in areas.
My work is intuitive and imaginative but is inspired by architecture, objects, and function. I have been exploring mark making and patterning through my work. Drawing with ink on paper and also three-dimensionally with ceramics and textiles. Ornamentation in my work is voracious, constricting and expanding, winding through space and on every surface. Ornamentation can express identity, can mark belonging to a time, space, era, tribe, region or home. The patterning takes over, I make marks out of need, a kind of anxious comfort. The space defines me, caught between creating pattern and scratching, wiping, willing it away. The mark making becomes a palimpsest, layers and layers of history, of motion, are visible. There is a psychological tension in this process, it also becomes a ritual. I see my work as somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, inside and outside, here and there, healthy and unhealthy,
engineered and makeshift, safe and dangerous, sheltering and eerie.
Fonda: I always start a new piece with a loose sketch or drawing based on an idea, feeling, pattern, or movement. I often start working directly with clay after that, I do not use many tools. When I am working larger I will sketch diagrams, make maquettes, or models. I will work back and forth from the individual components and the plan of how it will all come together. My favorite materials are paper, ink, clay, fabric, cotton cord, old scrap wood, copper wire, and, bricks.
Rae: Any amazing gallery that you love here in the bay area?
Fonda: I am still exploring the area and have a lot to see. I really do love going to the student galleries, especially at CCA. The shows rotate every week, there is an incredible amount of energy and ideas cycling around constantly.
Rae: When are you most creative……time of day?
Fonda: I am most creative in the evening and at night. I tend to do a lot of thinking and sketching during the day but most of the production happens at night.
Rae: Lastly, what type of music or bands are you listening to right now while making your pieces?
Fonda: I have been listening to a lot of Cibo Matto, Boards of Canada, and Major Laser.
Rae: Thank you for the interview Fonda!
Check out Fonda website at http://fondayoshimoto.blogspot.com
Shantell Martin is an artist who crosses boundaries. She’s an illustrator who made her mark drawing live projected images, often on people, in Tokyo megaclubs. She then moved on to lecture worldwide on the creative process and perform in galleries like the MoMA, and many others. She exhibits her hand-drawn illustrations as well, with upcoming solo shows in New York and Florida.
Martin’s work, web presence, and ability to tell her personal story are impressive. So check out her site and hear what she has to say in answer to a few of Artlarking’s inquiries. She’s a definite case study for wide-eyed emerging artists to learn from.
What motivates you, makes you get up in the morning, and keeps you creating despite outer influences telling you what to do and how to do it?
For some reason, could take a long time to explain, I’ve never really felt that strongly pressured by what other people think or suggest I should do. I go with my own flow. On the most part I wake up and I naturally want to make, create and share my works, but every now and then I don’t and I have to just ride it out and find other things to do with my time.
What gives you sustenance and allows you to relate to your environment as if it were home despite alien surroundings, new places, and new faces?
Growing up in the London I always felt like a bit of an outsider. An alien. Perhaps that has something to do with being mixed race and never really being accepted as “English” (like the English side of my family). We are given the title of “British”, which kinda makes you feel like a 2nd class citizen. So, at least when I am in foreign countries and environments, feeling like a foreigner seems normal and enjoyable.
How do you create opportunity for yourself within the community of art and business, doing all the awesome projects you do? A lot of artists want advice on how to represent themselves, and how to engage the world as an artist and a business.
Since leaving school I am yet to have an agent, manager, publicist, gallery etc. I have not been opposed to the idea of any of these, quite the opposite, but as I’m a bit of a hybrid (illustrator, visual artist, performer) people don’t really know what to do with me.
As most of my work, especially the live projection work is in public and on a large scale I create, fans, and opportunities to meet with people at every show. If people like what they see, they will talk about it and come and talk with me….
It is still hard to show people my real passion though – my illustrations on paper. They are very small and take time to sit down n view. I’m working on showing more people in the future though, by releasing a series of books.
If I were to give any advice, I would just say – get out there!
See more at www.ShantellMartin.com
Seabright is a one-man musical project that seamlessly fuses electronic with live instrumentation. Lots of reverb, near-unintelligible vocals, and layers upon layers of majestic pop hooks form the basis of Seabright’s sound. Its creator, Justin Morales of the South Bay Area, was gracious enough to accept both an invitation to perform at Neon Nature and to provide the answers for this very interview. Let’s get to know him a bit better, shall we?
Artlarking: When I googled the word “seabright,” my first results were a brewery, an insurance company, and a city in New Jersey. How, exactly, did you come to settle upon the moniker?
JM: Seabright is the name of a beach that I used to go to a few years back. At the time, I was just getting back into making music and I needed a name. I’ve always been pretty much obsessed with the beach. So Seabright just made sense and I went with it.
Artlarking: Your newest release, Dark City, is listed as an EP on various websites, and yet there are 11 songs on it. What gives?
JM: Haha, yes. When I started working on Dark City (October 2010), I didn’t know what it was going to be. I was just making songs, and I guessed it would be an EP. But then it really got crazy and I started finishing tons of songs. I decided to finish as many as I could up until January 1st, 2011. It’s an EP only in name, but I didn’t want to change it.
Artlarking: What led you to form Seabright as a solo venture? Also, there only appears to be one other musician on Dark City – who is Sunyoung Kim, exactly?
JM: When I first started Seabright, it was while I was finishing grad school (2005). All my old friends that I used to make music with were either in different cities or not making music anymore. So I just decided to utilize all the new recording software and do it all myself. Sunyoung Kim is my girlfriend and also a really good singer and piano player, so sometimes I convince her to make music with me. 🙂
Artlarking: I understand that you’re a schoolteacher by trade. How do you balance your daily obligations with your artistic pursuits?
JM: Yeah, teaching takes a lot of time and effort, so during the semester, I can really only make little beats and try little ideas. Then, during my breaks, I will record and do all the big work. As far as shows, I usually just play locally, so it’s not too big of a problem. I was able to do a little mini-tour to LA this spring during my spring break though.
Artlarking: What do you think about sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc.? Have they helped independent musicians to thrive or are they simply cluttering the internet?
JM: I love all of them. I was really devastated when Myspace fell off because that was my main site, but now I realize that it was a blessing. Soundcloud and Bandcamp in particular are really essential and exciting developments that let independent music reach the masses. I’ve found some amazing stuff on Bandcamp just as a listener. I’m still warming up to Twitter, but it is obviously essential too. I’m curious about what new websites will pop up next. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure them out too.
Artlarking: Which older “classic rock” acts do you model yourself after? Or alternately, which newer, more recently emerging acts do you model yourself after?
JM: My ‘classic’ rock influences are definitely the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, the Velvet Underground and Neu! Then I’m really influenced by 80’s new wave and synth pop, then 90’s indie rock, ambient and trip hop, and finally by lots of other bedroom/laptop musicians like myself. It’s great to be part of a scene and to see other musicians who have been able to take so many styles from the past and put them together, almost DJ style, and create something new and fun.
Artlarking: I understand that you have an active fascination with the sports world. Will the Giants repeat as world champions for the second year in a row? Who do you predict will win the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks or the Miami Heat?
JM: Hahaha. Yes, I love sports! I would love for the Giants to repeat, but I’m a little worried about our injuries (get well soon, Buster*!). For the NBA Finals, GO MAVS! It would be great to see a team like the Mavs, with so many awesome old players, win a ring.
(*Buster Posey, the Giants’ starting catcher, broke his ankle on May 25th of this year, effectively sidelining him for the remainder of the season – ed.)
Artlarking: You reside in the East Bay. Which San Francisco venue has been your favorite to play thus far?
JM: Actually I’m from the South Bay, but I would say that the Elbo Room and the Knockout were my faves, along with Epicenter Café!
Artlarking: Good answer, and sorry for the geographical flub! Which 5 *South* Bay acts would you most like to promote? Most of our readers live within the city limits, so it’d be nice to know some good up-and-comers to look out for.
JM: I really like Ugly Winner, Sour Patch, Guests, Doctor Nurse, and from Santa Cruz, Atlantic at Pacific.
Seabright plays early in the evening at this Saturday’s “Neon Nature and the New Currency” event; make sure and be there no later than 6 PM in order to catch the entire set. Also, big thanks to Justin Morales for his insightful answers and timely response!
“Neon Nature and the New Currency,” a free event hosted by Artlarking.com and MAPP, will be held at the Box Factory at 865 Florida at 21st in San Francisco, CA. It begins at 5 PM and ends at 11 PM. Other performers and artists include Uncle Rebel, Cartoon Justice, Anna Ash, Shantell Martin, Kristin Farr and Richard Parker.