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Meet Satsuki Shibuya

Today we’d like to introduce you to Satsuki Shibuya.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Ever since I can remember, I loved drawing and coloring. My father built a small desk out of old wooden wine bottle boxes, with one drawer where I stuffed all my crayons, color pencils, markers, coloring books, and paper. I would run to this table, scribble like a mad woman, runoff, come back, and do some more doodling. At 3, I began piano classes at a local Suzuki Method school and soon found myself taking private lessons.

Building upon the music skills learned, through my adolescent and teenage years I participated in school orchestras, playing the violin, cello, and piano, but recall passing by the art class, yearning to take part. With music continuing to be the driving force, I entered the University of Southern California as a piano performance major. Prior to graduating, a switch in direction ended with music business and found myself pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter.

While working for Capitol Records, learning the ins and outs of the music business, I found myself, once again, mesmerized by art and spending my lunch hour stalking the in-house illustration department. Through a supportive nudge by my boss, a decision to depart from the label was made, and a new journey towards entering art school was underway.

Without any prior experience or formal study in art, a portfolio was built from scratch and after a year, entered Otis College of Art and Design. Upon graduating with a degree in Communication Arts, Graphic Design, I started a design studio, which quickly morphed into a product design company, leading into other work within creative consulting and social media.

With a sudden onslaught of a mystery illness, I was unable to work for a year and a half, which changed my life in the most unexpected way. In search for an answer, the journey towards healing connected me back to the spirit I had long forgotten about since childhood. Highly sensitive, sensing energies, seeing auras and visions of others’ pasts, this part of myself had been hidden away for fear of being outcasted. Through meditation and rebuilding a spiritual foundation, I began to piece things together. One day, a voice came saying, “Paint. You need to paint.” Without a background or even any interest in painting, I was hesitant. Firstly, by the voice, as I questioned my sanity, but secondly, whether this voice was of any truth. After four months of procrastination and fear, I began painting and have never looked back since.

Please tell us about your art.
Currently, my focus is on watercolor and oil-based abstract art, but find myself continually curious about books and lately, have been expressing thoughts poetry.

The reason for creating is two-fold — one, being I can’t image doing anything other than creation. It is what makes me feel alive, allows me to speak my heart, and is at the core, who I am. Concrete, yet ephemeral, direct yet moving beyond borders and walls which we may find in our every day, creativity allows for me to connect on a deeper, direct, soul level, without a need for translation. The other is to fulfill a deeply rooted purpose: to be a catalyst for awakening other spirits to their true purpose and plant seeds of peace, harmony, and love.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Throughout history, artists have been on the forefront, discussing topics, encapsulating important moments in time, and speaking openly about current affairs often overlooked by the mainstream. Art and artists play a crucial role in continuing to open the eyes and hearts of others. There is no other medium which allows for such potency and freedom, where one can bring to life their thoughts, visions, and philosophies without worry of a measuring stick, rules, or specifics, but pure expression. At the core, humans are emotional creatures, driving them further into the abyss, many times forgetting where they stand in the fight towards personal freedom. As artists, we have the privilege and responsibility to continue opening these gateways of language, conversations, and understandings to forge a bridge to uncover misunderstandings, rivalries, and atrocities. Art has the power to change lives, cure minds of ridicule, and monstrosities. Art is the mirror into our darkest hours and brightest comebacks.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Exhibitions for both solo and group shows are announced through my monthly newsletter (www.satsukishibuya.com/newsletter) along with thoughts, curiosities, and current happenings within my art practice. Paintings available for collecting are offered through Tappan Collective (https://www.tappancollective.com/collections/satsuki-shibuya) who currently represents my work (outside of Asia). Otherwise, people can find me meandering around Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, under “Satsuki Shibuya”.

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Image Credit:
Satsuki Shibuya

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