Artist Statement

Footprints in Sand
Ever since I can remember, I loved art. I used to make up imaginative stories about the lives of the farmers portrayed in a small faded print my mother had hung in our house. I remembered being captivated by this masterpiece, Millet’s “The Gleaners”. I connected to this piece since my mother is from a farming community of Miyako Jima, a small island in the Okinawan (Japan) chain.

The Japanese education system (I attended through grade 4) introduced me to art from young age. Even then, I gravitated towards sculpting, maybe because it’s three-dimensional.

During the martial art craze in the 70’s, I found my life’s passion and never looked back. I tucked away my “sculpting itch” though it would resurface from time to time.

After graduation from college, I bought myself a scroll saw, and made wooden cutouts and simple sculptures. I then moved to Okinawa, where I studied Okinawan karate, Japanese calligraphy and chip carving.

In the fall of 2002 I enrolled in the Welding Program at Gwinnett Technical College and began making metal sculptures.

The Order to the Madness
Seeds of inspirations are constantly germinating. When one sprouts, I often sculpt it in my mind, and make preliminary sketches or clay models. Sometime I skip this process altogether and jump right it. The piece will finally materialize in the shop, after struggling with multitudes of adjustments in texture, composition and angles.

I do my best to keep my pieces abstract and interpretive, adhering to compositional form I learned in Japanese calligraphy, and influenced by past masters like Musashi (17th century Japanese swordsman/artist), Michelangelo, and Julio Gonzalez. My aim is to inspire an interaction between the sculpture and viewer, to freely interpret and explore its evocations.

Behind The Work
The Two-Faced series are based on the idea that people’s outward appearance is often a façade of their inner-self. How do we “face” the world—with our true self or with our mask? The answer of course is different for each one of us, and it is often complex, which I tried to show in the composition of the pieces.

I believe there is goodness in each one of us. The soul can either be repressed or expressed. When nurtured, it is blooms like a beautiful flower. Otherwise, your soul can be wrapped around a cage, imprisoned from ever revealing its potential. This idea applies either to individuals or to the society as whole. The Sleeping Man was my aim to express this notion.

Unlike metal, working with wood presents an entirely different challenge. Each cut you make on a piece of wood is akin to Japanese calligraphy where you have only one chance. To perpetuate the “alive” quality of the wood, the grain structure and texture must play a major role in the final composition and form. Because wood must be “rested” at various times during the sculpting process, especially during the sanding and finishing phase, considerable time and patience is required for each project.