The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.
In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.
To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.
And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?
I hope a brief glimpse into their lives is as inspiring to you as it is to me.
This third installment features sculptor and ceramic artist, Mari-Ruth Oda. I first met Mari when she very kindly donated a couple of pieces of her work for the Japan Art Auction I held to raise money for the victims of the tsunami.
What’s your greatest personal achievement?
Feeling happy today
What’s your greatest career achievement?
I am yet to experience this… I guess so far would be that I am still doing what I do.
What’s been your greatest sacrifice?
I don’t think I have made any great sacrifices…
To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?
Too many to list individually but everyone who has ever encouraged me to be who I am.
All my friends and family, everyone who has ever bought my work or promoted it in any way, everyone who has inspired me.
Who inspires you?
Leonard Cohen, the artists/musician collective around me, Richard Serra, my friend Junko Mori, and lots and lots of others.
What inspires you?
Natural forms, nature, feeling of reverence.
What was the last thing that inspired you?
Looking at a piece of cow hip bone at my studio today. The grace of the form, such subtlety, such simplicity, such complexity, the beauty…sigh.
What makes you unhappy?
Not having my own time/space
What are you reading?
I have several books on the go but yesterday I started reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Who, or what, are you listening to?
Currently on my ipod shuffle: Leonard Cohen, Eckhart Tolle audio books, Kirsty Almeida, Alabaster dePlume, Honeyfeet, Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six, John Cage, Kirsty McGee, Joni Mitchell, the Flaming Lips and Ríoghnach Connolly.
What’s your favourite film?
Tony Takitani, My neighbour Totoro.
What frightens you?
A swimming pool when I am the only one in it…
What can’t you live without?
Friends and solitude.
What’s your motto?
I see the next question covers my new motto.
If you only had one year to live what would you do?
Exactly as I am doing now, only a bit faster. I have been asking myself this question continuously for the last couple of months.
Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?
I’d quite like to stick it up mine so that I stop faffing and just DO. It will make me fly really bloody fast.
Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
What are you working on at the moment?
An Arts Council funded research and development project that will culminate in an exhibition which will take place at Ashton Central Gallery from November 2012-Feb 2013. This is very new work for me. New medium, new scale, new context.
Which six people would you invite to your boating party?
Leonard Cohen, Richard Serra, James Turrell, Aung San Suu Kyi, Eckhart Tolle and Dr. John Hagelin
What question would you liked me to have asked?
Certainly not another one that I would have to give Leonard Cohen as an answer!
Thank you, Mari-Ruth.
In nature, form seems to repeat itself in differing context and scale. I enjoy abstracting a form out of its context and boiling it down to its bare essence that first attracted me to the form. The shape left is something ambiguous that could be interpreted in many ways.
I am increasingly influenced by the idea that all things are one, made of one unifying energy, which is at the core of everything. Essentially, the shape of waves or plant forms or our bodies that we see, are made of energy. The divide between the internal and external self is a perception that our minds create.
Since our perception is determined by our past experiences and preconceptions, what a form represents to us can be unique to each of us. Therefore my work’s identity is something the observer determines and it is the experience of viewing that give my work its meaning.