Today we’d like to introduce you to Kazuki Takizawa.
Kazuki, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up, I’ve always felt that there was a language barrier wherever I’ve lived. Both of my parents come from Japan, but I was born and raised on Hong Kong Island and went to high school in Bangkok. Knowing mostly only Japanese and growing up in a bubble of Japanese community in Hong Kong, I’ve always felt like I was living abroad. Communication has always been an issue with me growing up until I found an outlet to express myself through art in college in Hawaii.
I have always been a type of person to go with my gut feeling. When I was a high school Senior in Bangkok, I told my school counselor that I either wanted to become a farmer or an artist. What can I say? I really loved nature and crafting things with my hands. I still remember the look on my counselor’s face, as if he was about to open his mouth and lecture me to have more realistic goals. In the following months of myself thinking hard about what career paths I would take, I saw glassblowing on TV for the first time in my life. Several months later, I was on a plane to Hawaii on my own to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Glass Art.
I am currently working and living in Los Angeles as a glass artist. I make custom glass for clients as well as make my own glass sculptures and installations using glass. For the past few years, I have been on a journey to speak about mental illness through my glass sculptures and installations. I’ve traveled extensively these past few years and have been given opportunities to publicly speak about my personal experience of being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder as well as my experience helping a family member who has struggled with severe suicidal ideation.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Perhaps the most memorable piece I’ve created so far is an installation I did in Star, North Carolina called “Breaking the Silence” (http://www.kazukitakizawa.com/breaking-the-silence-video). Its inspiration came from a very painful yet eye-opening trip I took to Tokyo in 2015 to go help my younger brother who was at the time in critical condition due to his suicidal ideation and his mental state. My brother, my parents and I all shared feelings of deep sorrow and helplessness from the societal neglect on those who suffer from suicidal ideation. In the midst of these strikingly painful moments, I did not know what to do with my own emotions. I just remember myself obsessively sketching this off-centered vessel form which eventually became a part of this installation. In Japanese, the word “vessel” is used to reference one’s emotional caliber. Seeing my emotionally unstable brother at the time, it made me feel the urge to make a piece to increase awareness on this subject matter.
Every glass sculptures and installations I create has a story behind it much like the “Breaking the Silence” piece. I often face the question, “how you speak about mental illness through your glass art?” and I am still not able to answer that in just a few sentences. But what I do know is that in between my personal ups and downs, there lies a vast spectrum of emotions, which I seek inspiration from. And the experiences I have and the people I meet continue to shape my creations in glass.
Glass, to me, is a really great medium of my artistic expression. It’s properties like transparency, fragility, and its ability to break is a very powerful component of my creative vocabulary.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I don’t know if I can speak for other artists but personally, the challenges that I am facing is staying and being original in this world today with technologies that allow access to an abundance of visual information in an instance. I find myself being affected by things I see on my phone or on the computer more and more. Virtually being connected to my fellow artists through social media is great, but I feel that this convenience in staying touch brings us closer in a weird way, and somehow, I fear that a lot of us are visually affected by similar things on a daily basis.
I also think we live in a culture where photographed images or recording of an art piece easily accessible. As our technology of documenting artwork improves, I think it is important as artists to remember not to be satisfied by just looking at high-quality images but to physically go and see the original artwork to appreciate and pay respect to the craftsmanship.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The best way to find out about my upcoming events is to sign up to be on my mailing list through my website: www.kazukitakizawa.com
I am not a hard guy to reach, so please feel free to email me with your inquiries or connect me with someone you think I should be in contact with. I am currently on the lookout for more exhibiting and public speaking opportunities. I am also accepting inquiries for custom glass commissioned work and private glassblowing lessons.
- Address: 5025 West Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
- Website: www.kazukitakizawa.com
- Phone: 808-371-8629
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/ktglassworks/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KazukiTakizawaGlassworks
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/user/ktglassworks