Tokyo-based surrealist artist Fuco Ueda’s dreamy new pieces for the group exhibition Elysium continues to showcase her ethereal acrylic paintings mixed with Japan Gofun shell powder that gives her work a unique glow. The movement in Ueda’s work is weightless reflected in the flowing waterscapes she’s created in her latest body of work. Our interview with Fuco Ueda reveals the inspiration and creative heart behind the pieces.
Join us for the opening of Elysium Saturday, November 10th from 6 pm to 9 pm
SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What ideas or themes were you exploring?
JL: “To fall asleep” is inspired by the Buddhist Nirvana diagram. The Buddhist Nehan-zu (painting of Great Nirvana) draws the way the Buddha opens enlightenment and dies. Cambrian creatures are floating in “To fall asleep”. It expresses the flow of the world different from the current flow of time.
SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work and capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
JL: I went to see the Buddhist Nehan-zu at a museum in Kyoto.
After reading and researching books on the subject, I will then draw simple outlines in my sketchbook developing and honing the ideas over time.
SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
JL: Finding inspiration and watching the composition emerge.
SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
JL: When the idea and image of my art is not clear.
SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?
JL: “To fall asleep” and “Symbiosis 2017”
Because it pushed through some creative challenges I had imposed on myself. (However, I don’t think anyone would be able to detect the struggle)
SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
JL: All arts are a dream collaboration. I’d enjoy collaborating with music, movies, theater, fashion, and other fields. I am also interested in my artwork being used in media art and technology.
SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
JL: I have been influenced by Japanese literature since I was a child. In addition, I’ve also been influenced by vintage Japanese comics, especially those made for the 1970s girl in Japan. At that time, it was an unconventional media showing cultural movements including SF, fantasy and homosexual elements, it had innovative content. The new female image was nurtured in those comics.
SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?
JL: I put a canvas of cloth on a wooden panel, it has a painted base. This is a traditional white paint raw materials of Japan Gofun (shell powder) is also crowded mix. I paint with acrylic paint.
SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
JL: From this year, I became a teacher at a certain Art University in Tokyo, I enjoy those class. That is the University of my alma mater.
SH: In one or two words, tell us something that you really like or resonates with you about the work of each artist in Elysium.
JL: I have not been able to see the exhibits of other artists yet. However, I think that it is surely a wonderful group show. I am planning to go to LA at the opening, so I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibits.