Grace is a graphic designer by day, and illustrator / textile designer / jewelry maker by night. On her creative process: "I love all things that are intricate, vibrant, and colorful. I'm half-Japanese, half-German, and my heritage deeply informs my designs."
Grace is a Chicago based artist. She is one of the participating artists for the current Fierce Tidings art exhibition (March 31 - May 12) at the Gene Siskel Film Center in conjunction with the FAAIM 22nd Annual Asian American Showcase which ran March 31st through April 12th, 2017. We asked her a few questions about her work and artistic practice!
-Does your identity or how you identify yourself inform your work in any way?
Yes! I've always been influenced by my heritage, both on my Japanese and German sides. I think Japanese culture has such an appreciation for decorative art. I'm drawn to decorative art because it exists for no other purpose than to please the eye. I've also recently been studying some German textile designers - particularly Gunta Stölzl. I love the geometry in her work.
-When making your work, do you have certain expectations or do you aim for a specific reaction in your audience and the viewer? (Do you care about how the message of your work is received?)
Much of my work is textile design and not as conceptual - so not as much of a "message". I like to make work that calls attention to color and geometry. I strive mostly for balance and to create things that are visually interesting and aesthetically pleasing.
-Does art serve a purpose for you outside of just beauty or aesthetics?
I'm happy when my work causes people to think about / talk about culture. I pull a lot of inspiration from other cultures and spend a lot of time thinking about how I can fuse visual references with my own personal style to create something new. I love when people can recognize the influences in my work, or when they call my attention to something that my work reminds them of that I've never seen before.
-How do current events affect your practice?
I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can use art and design to talk about current events. My goal for this year is to use my platform as an artist to call attention to issues that I think are very important. My pieces in the Fierce Tidings show may look decorative on the surface, but hold a deep meaning for me. My grandfather was one of the many Japanese-Americans sent to live in American internment camps during WWII. Despite the fact that their human rights were brazenly violated by a xenophobic American government, many Japanese-Americans showed an incredible amount of perseverance and patriotism. I wanted to honor these people by illustrating traditional Japanese crests that represented themes of resilience and the triumph of good over evil.
-Do you feel you are more reactive or more reflective when you create?
I lean more towards reflective. Drawing patterns is a great way to meditate and I use my art-making to create order in chaos.