Artist Statement forBird Portrait Series
I was born and grew up in the metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. In 2001 I immigrated to the U.S., and started leading a secluded life in the mountains. I immediately found myself fascinated by photographing birds, and I began my career as a self-taught mixed media photographer in 2003. Since then I have been working as a full-time artist.
The 2007 series entitled Soulbird began by documenting the diversity of the expressions of birds in nature to capture the beauty, vibrancy and sensibility that I encounter in my everyday life on the 40 acres where I live. It is a very exciting experience to observe them closely and it is almost inexplicable to share my feelings with them through my camera.
In addition, this is a project of communing with birds to understand their habits and habitat to support bird conservation. In today’s world, species mostly become extinct or are threatened with extinction due to humans – deforestation is one of the main causes. I have been witnessing a decline of some species in the last nine years. Through this project, I wish to create awareness in the viewer that we are losing so many vulnerable creatures every single day. I also wish to remind myself of Shinto which is the indigenous faith and spirituality of the Japanese people. It says every natural object and creature has a spirit and soul, so we have to take care of them as we do of ourselves. To examine my own identity through the Japanese title of each portrait written in calligraphy also helps me reconnect with my Asian heritage, and continue the creative journey of discovering myself.
I manipulate each image by layering multiple textures and colors in my computer, then I touch up with color pencils, which enhances the feeling and character of each spieces. I also meticulously coat each print with wax which adds a unique translucent texture, and evokes a poetic and mysterious sense of nature.