Interview: Hiroko Maya Okahashi

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, In Love.

Interview: Hiroko Maya Okahashi

Director Luca Curci talks with artist Hiroko Maya Okahashi during Hidden Rooms exhibition in Venice.

Hiroko Maya Okahashi is a Japanese artist and photographer. She was born and grew up in Japan. She loves Japanese culture and learned Japanese art such as calligraphy, flower arrangement, Tea ceremony, martial arts (Aikido), Japanese song and dance. She has been creating and inventing her own original arts to combine these classic traditional Asian arts and culture with modern photographic techniques and different media. Her interest in photography began at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. in 1981 and constantly grew during her studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Harvard University Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the University of Hawaii in Hawaii.

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Love Letter.

She has been taking pictures of herself and her sons since her first pregnancy, now for almost 30 years. To this day, she continues using herself as the model for her portraits. Adapting to new techniques, she’s creating art of similar style as she did in the dark room when she began, now with completely different tools, computers and primarily Photoshop. She exhibited her works in several locations all over the world and received numerous awards including the “Acquisition Award” from the State Foundation on Culture and Arts in Honolulu, Hawaii, and more.

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Sakura Jima (Sakura jima volcano in Japan).

Luca Curci – Your work was exhibited during Hidden Rooms exhibition in Venice on November 2014: can you talk about your personal experience in Venice with International ArtExpo?

Hiroko Maya Okahashi – I was so honored my film was selected and thrilled to show my work in Venice. I flew in from Boston to  join this festival from November 19 to 21,2014. I had never shown my art in Europe. I was so excited and happy to be there. I stayed at the Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi where the exhibition was held. It was a wonderful experience seeing my film on the big screen at the elegant Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi in the original 16th century furnishings. I got a chance to meet many artists from around the world and was so excited to share my work with them as well as the many guests.
 
Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Mirror.

L. C. – Can you talk about the artwork you presented in Venice? How is it linked with the festival’s theme?

H. M. O. – I am a Japanese artist and photographer living in the United States.  I grew up in  Japan with Japanese culture, so my art has been a combination of classic Asian Art and modern photography techniques. In April, 2014, I made an experimental short film about my 30 years of  art to be showm on Cambridge Community Television in Massachusetts, USA.  I love that I created a way to show a brief history of my 30 years of art. I submitted my film to the International ArtExpo because my film seemed to fit perfectly with the theme of “hidden rooms – identities. cities. memories”.
 
Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Kimono.

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

H. M. O. – I am working on a similar project. A book of my 30 years of work. I am looking for publishers and someone to help me make my book.

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Memory II.

L. C. – What is art for you?

H. M. O. – Art gives me life and makes me happy. It is pure excitement, inventing and creating new art.

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Hawaiian Dance.

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?
 
H. M. O. – I think that International ArtExpo organization gives a great opportunity for all artists and is a good platform for new experimental art.

Hiroko Maya OkahashiHiroko Maya Okahashi, Fujimusume.

L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

H. M. O. – Yes, absolutely. A highlight of my trip was meeting an art professor from Poland who liked my film and wants to present it to his students and  at the  new art festivals in Poland and Germany next year.

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