I was happy to see Toronto Craft Alert's recent interview with Takashi Iwasaki. I love his embroidered artwork, which is all done by hand. It reminds me of kids' drawings (which is a compliment) - and the combination of the bright colours with fun shapes and embroidery floss just makes me smile.
Can you tell me about the process of your embroidered work? Do you have a plan for each piece, how much time goes into each embroidery?
I usually sketch out the outlines on paper, then transfer that sketch to fabric. At that point most of the colors aren't determined yet. The choice of colors is sort of kept undetermined for my joy of selecting colors as I embroider. If everything was determined in the beginning, art making would be rather a mission to complete than an enjoyable activity. I always want to feel joy for what I do. That attitude is carried through any of the mediums I choose to make art with as well as my lifestyle. That's one of the reasons why I call myself an "Art Enjoyer," which is also written as my title on my business card. A typical embroidery piece is completed in between 5 hours to 20 hours depending on the size I'm working with.
Takashi Iwasaki also works in other media, including painting and collage.
In your work you utilize many different mediums - from painting to collage to print-making, and, of course, your embroidery work. What draws you to all these very different mediums? Do specific ideas influence the medium?
I love having lot of materials to work with and projects on my plate. Why would I limit myself when the sky is the limit, right? Having different options and working with them keep my mentality flexible, sharp and active. I get bored of doing only one thing everyday. You know, you don't want your life to be a mundane - it's basically the same thing for my art making process. Painting, embroidering, collage making, and so on and on - those methods of art making feed off each other and give me more ideas and food for thoughts. I also make wooden sculptures in the similar designs you see in my embroidery and painting works, which I haven't shown to many people yet. I have other long-term projects and goals such as designing my own house and having it built, and designing my own coffee shop and managing it. I've been enjoying designing my house with this program called SketchUp, offered for free from Google. Try it out if you're interested.
Read the whole interview on Toronto Craft Alert and check out more images of Takashi Iwasaki's work on his site and also from a recent show at the LE Gallery in Toronto.