Mizuki Nishiyama is a multi-media artist, currently based out of New York City and Hong Kong
She hopes to deliver strong statements about human vulnerability through her Abstract Expressionist pieces.
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Q1: I find it fascinating that you work in both Poetry and Painting. Does communicating in different mediums allow you to access different parts of your artistic voice?
When I paint instead of write, it is because I am able to conjure visuals that I am not able to through words (vice versa). Utilising different mediums allows me to access different parts of my artistic voice because there is so much space to experiment in both realms. They both create a “reality”, turning absence “present”.
Quarter Not Yet Whole
Q3: One reason we started Asia Art Tours, is that we wanted to remind people that they could be active (not passive) creators of meaning on their travels. As an artist when you create, are you creating for yourself, the ‘audience’ or both?
There are different types of artists, and I am still trying to figure out the type I am.
Due to the themes I tackle, it makes my work quite linear and personal. It is a projection of my voice, and the target audience may differ depending on the piece I am working on.
The act of painting has always been a reflective, almost meditative practice for me. I get to step back and analyse my life. There is no reason for me to prove, change, lie or make a statement about, I simply work with my own truth.
One of my favourite quotes is by Nina Simone; “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” I often contemplate about the fact that by being an artist, you withhold so much power.
The thing about art is that you cannot un-seen, or un-feel a piece. Art opens up experiences, and allows us to live through each other’s realities. Even though I create very personal pieces, I believe I have the ability to, as well as a duty to (as an artist) to reflect my time. This is something I plan to expand on as I spend more time creating.
Q4: You have talked in past interviews about the fragility of the human psyche and emotions in your work. Do you draw directly from sciences and their concepts (Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology) in your work?
Unfortunately I am completely unqualified to make any statements about the Sciences (haha). I am not pulling anything scientific into my work. I am simply responding to personal experiences as humanly as possible. I’ve always been advised to be grounded so I won’t be led by my emotions. Funny enough, that is exactly what I like to rebel against; experiment with, if you will.
I am a very emotional person. I’m not talking about making rash decisions based on emotional instability. I believe there is a higher spiritual being within ourselves and just like any other person, I am simply getting to know myself on a more intimate level.The human psyche’s fragility is so interesting to me because in the end, what I hope to do is to fully embrace uncertainty and exposure. Every one will have their own journey but will have paradoxes between the softness of our souls, and our intentions as humans.
Q5:Emotions can be quite powerful, even uncontrollable forces. How has art helped you channel your own emotions? When you paint is it a process of cognition (thinking through the process) or expression (representing an emotion or feeling already present in yourself?)
Painting is a form of meditation for me. I practice a lot of mindful and wellness activities on the side but painting has always been the most effective way for me to feel more grounded. I paint to control thoughts, give myself breathing space, take a step back, change situations, etc.
Q6: Lastly who have been some the influences on your work so far, and what questions do you find yourself asking now that you are still contemplating how to express in your poetry or painting?
Everyone in my family practices some form of art, so they are the first influences on my work.
Recently, I’ve been pulling inspiration from Jazz/Blues music, Edvard Munch, Sylvia Plath, Taro Okamoto, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Marc Chagall, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, (the list goes on). Friends