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AS IS | Eri Kato


From Aichi, Japan

Based in Japan

Eri is a Japanese artist who collects discarded materials, mostly paper or cardboard, to give them a new life, transforming them into geometrical works of art that examine the properties of light and color. Her portfolio contains both works on paper and sculpture, including sculpture in the public space

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?

E: I grew up in a typical Japanese house that was about 100 years old, where I lived with my extended family and our animals. There were a lot of beautiful nature spots, and I often played in the astragalus sinicus field and the bamboo forest. My creativity and my imagination were ignited by my daily life.

As a child, I was taught to handle things with great care. However, as time went by, Japan became a real consumerist society with cheaply made products. As a result, some things disappeared from our lives. I felt a strong sense of incongruity.

While in university, I visited art museums in New York. They really inspired me. I started to learn oil painting. I felt the joy of expressing myself freely, and I became hooked to the art world. When I was 25, I went to B-semi Schooling System to seek art education. The artists there were active in the field of contemporary art. My two years at this institution opened up a new and exciting world that I knew nothing of. It transformed my previous concept of art. That led to me making artworks for 3 years.

However, I had to quit creating art because of a change in my environment. This slump lasted for 15 years. In 2011, there was The Great East Japan Earthquake. This is what challenged me to get back to making art again.

A: What inspires you the most?

E: I cannot say for sure, because it comes at random. When I work, listen to music, take a walk… In any case, it comes out of daily life.

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working(creating)?

E: At first, I always make a "drawing." I combine the used cardboard boxes, used envelopes, etc. They are an assemblage, but a drawing for me. It is the process of reclaiming the sense of creation.

A: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (whether artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

E: I often listen to music of Masakatsu Takagi. He is Japanese. He is a musician and picture writer. His music is so beautiful. It makes me very relaxed and gives me much inspiration.

A: What are your three favorite adjectives related to art?

E: Simple, artistic, creative.

A: The best angle to look at art is from ...?

E: It is from (art) history. By knowing the history (of art) we can understand where the work stands and the meaning of its creation.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ...?

E: I like hearing why the artist created it and what he (she) was thinking at the time.

A: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?

E: Not must, but I recommend this book. It is Shiro (which means white) by Kenya Hara. He is Japanese but an English translation is also available.

A: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?

E: As it is already becoming, anyone can participate in art anywhere in the world.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art).

E: White as Sensory Experience. (sensitivity) Found in Shiro by Kenya Hara.

Thank you!

For more: IG


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