(Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away)
Here at Tokyo Telephone, as much as we’re head-over-heels worryingly obsessed with Japanese fashion, we also love to celebrate uniquely talented people too… enter Yuki Snow, artist extraordinaire.
Hailing originally from Japan and now living in sunny Brighton, Yuki has carved out a great career as a teacher as well as an artist. As well as exhibiting in Japan and the UK, Yuki’s work has also appeared in galleries in Brazil, New York and most recently in the group exhibition Pop Revolution in Italy. On life in England, Yuki says “I am a Fine Art Lecturer teaching in colleges and universities around Brighton. I feel that over the last 11 years it has not been easy for me to keep creating and exhibiting my artwork; moving to the UK, learning a new language and culture, gaining a teaching qualification and teaching in my new environment.”
Yuki is, in a word, cool. Her work covers a variety of subjects and doesn’t shy away from expressing emotion in different media, thus neatly expressing her status as a Japanese woman living in England caught between two cultures. I think what drew me to Yuki’s artwork originally was this sense of conflict, something that I’ve often felt the reverse of as an English woman in Tokyo, yet there’s a real vibrancy and energy that shines through. This sense of fun is also transmitted in the subjects of her work, from peacocks and butterflies to ninjas and creepy girls, but no matter how quirky or cute there’s an edge there that elevates it from the purely kawaii to the next level.
Describe your art in three words:
Colourful, Tactile and Dream-like
Did you always dream of being an artist?
No, I was little bit more academic as a child with lovely but strict parents. My dad used to take us to museums in Tokyo as a break from studying and unfortunately that became the more interesting subject to me. I “decided” to become a painter when I saw an Impressionism exhibition in Ueno in my early teens. I remember clearly how shocking it was to see Claude Monet’s ‘Impression, Sunrise’ and how my dad described it as an important, significant painting and a symbol of the turning point in Art history; it signified the point where artists became able to express and emphasise their perception of the subject matter as much as the subject itself. This painting also became a turning point for me to express and emphasise my perception of the subject matter and the subject on to the canvases.
What made you decide to come to the UK?
I was always fascinated by English language and Western culture. In addition to those, Impressionism had become a very important influence on me so I began to feel more certain about coming to live in the UK.
How does the art scene in the UK differ to Japan?
There are so many different aspects in both art scenes, it is very difficult to say this simply. I feel that there are huge differences in Art education between Japan and the UK and I believe this has a fundamental affect on both art scenes.
(Waiting For Nothing)
What three things inspired you the most?
My inspiration comes from my experiences and memories; this could be a word, a dream I saw, an image, a situation, a smell or just a colour.
One more important inspiration is my grandmother. I was very close to my grandmother growing up and she went blind when I was very young. I have very fond memories of the way that she interacted with the world through her sense of touch. I use many forms of embroidery in order to transfer my own form of Braille to the canvas. If she were still alive I would love her to touch to see my paintings.
(Blind Girl Steals Eye Ball)
Does your husband’s work as a tattoo artist affect your own art?
I have been painting longer than I have known Jed. The subject matter and style of my painting have been set for a long time. He is very creative and very good at what he does and we have similar interests but we are creating different genres of art. (TT: Jed works at Tattoo Workshop in Brighton – take a look at his awesome portfolio here)
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Keep creating, keep exhibiting and keep teaching; these are the things I would like to continue and keep improving at.
Huge thanks to Yuki for taking the time out to answer our questions (and teach us some Japanese too!). Yuki Snow is currently at Blandscliff gallery in Scarbrough – see more of her work & exhibition details at her homepage here, and tote bags are available also to buy from her site as well as Handmade Brighton and LNMOP Gallery. Oh, and don’t forget to like Yuki Snow’s Facebook page here either!