August 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
I have another showing of Resilience coming up in September 19-22 at The Academy Theatre . You can catch it again for those of you who missed the first showing at Method Art Gallery. This time it is more focused on the stories of the residents, with narratives that go along with the photographs. I will also be giving a talk at the reception on Friday, September 20th, 6-9 pm. The 1000 Cranes for Ishinomaki will also be on display.
As a bonus feature to the show, I will be showcasing the fashion photography I have been doing lately in the lounge area. It will be the first time being shown in a gallery space so I’m very excited.
July 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
Oh gosh, it’s already JULY! Am I getting old or is time just flying soooo fast!?
Anyways, I feel very bad that I haven’t updated this blog in over 2 months, and a lot has happened so I wanted to give you an update.
I finally had my first SOLO show! WOOHOOOO! In April. Sorry it took so long to tell you all.
The show was at Method Art Gallery, located in Old Town Scottsdale on Marshall Way. It was the premier of my project “Resilience“. It was a great opening night with my friends and family there, and a bunch of people who strolled in during ArtWalk. I had a great time talking to everyone and conversing about my work. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!
And then right after that, I had my First Friday debut at the Grace Chapel Gallery in Downtown Phoenix. It was an event called “The Night of the Thousand Cranes” by Release The Fear. Release The Fear is a non-profit organization that helps kids in juvenile detention to focus their behavior into fine arts and music. They contacted me to be a part of the event to show my Thousand Cranes display and I said, why not? Everyone was so nice, Robert, Blair, and Bill are such wonderful people and they worked with me to find a perfect spot in the gallery. The building is actually connected to an abandoned church that burnt down in the 80’s (I think), and it looked post-apocalyptic. Super awesome!
The Night of the Thousand Cranes went well, with the talented Ken Koshio playing his Taiko Drums, Encolor teaching people how to write Kanji Calligraphy, people folding origami, and cosplay people performing. It was a great night filled with music, art, and laughter. I had an amazing experience with talking in front of a crowd and giving a little speech about my installation and the meaning of the Thousand Cranes. And Channel 5 stopped by and interview Robert in front of my cranes! Awesome exposure, right? :)
The cranes will be up in the Release the Fear headquarters, Grace Chapel, 302 W. Monroe, in the downtown Phoenix Arts District, until September.
I’ve had a few inquiries on my photographs recently so I’m very excited about what’s coming next for me. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and patiently working away until then. Don’t stop, get it get it.
Next post is going to be about Clutch Jewelry, and the trip we took to Payson!
March 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to blog as much as I’ve wanted to recently, but glad there’s so
much to blog about!
I got to be a part of Arizona Matsuri Festival on February 23rd and 24th again this year and
had a fantastic time. It was a rush meeting thousands of people and getting the opportunity to share
with them the story behind 1,000 Cranes as well as the process of creating the one a kind exhibit from
scratch. To read more about the process, check out my other blog post
Unlike last year, I got the transportation of 1,000 cranes down to a science! Because the cranes are
strung on fishing line individually with as many as ten cranes per strand, putting each strand in a
separate bag saved hours of set-up time.
Even though every strand of blue and white cranes was weighted down with a marble to prevent
tangles, the Sunday weather had other plans. Gusts of fierce wind kept me on a ladder all day
untangling (in a dress no less!). For some reason many were delighted to receive my business card
from a few feet higher in altitude. The display was even visited by a local news crew! It was a unique
experience giving a video interview with so much sunscreen in my eyes that I didn’t know which way
The best part of the festival this year was all the positive reactions I got to the installation. It became
clear to me that 1,000 Cranes has an aesthetic that appeals to so many different people. All I can think
of now is: how am I going to top this?
A very kind and talented local photographer and blogger wrote a wonderful blog post about me and the
festival. Check it out! Poolephotographyblog.com
July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
It’s been a long time since I uploaded on here, but I’m glad to say that almost everything is good to go for me to go back to Japan. Only 12 more days until I depart for Japan!
My WONDERFUL sister, Riho, booked the hotel and the bus in Ishinomaki for a very reasonable price in Ishinomaki. They have internet connection so I will be able to update all of you during my stay there.
I received my film in the mail, which are Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160 and 400, Fuji Astia 100 and Fuji Pro 160s. I got the Ektar and Fujis in 120, and Portra in 220. There’s so many!! And being a photo nerd, I am soooo excited to use it all :)
My mom has been working on these crochet cats for a while now, and I plan to bring them back to Ishinomaki for the kids I meet. They’re cute and snuggly. She plans to make more of them and put eyes on it so they’re not faceless.
I also received handmade scarves and clothes as a donation from the Japanese American Citizens League. They’ve been wanting to send them to the Tsunami affected areas but got denied because of shipping. So I volunteered to bring them to Japan and hand it out to senior communities. For the cold winters in Ishinomaki, I think this gift would be perfect.
I’m working on the last bit of the cranes for the $30 and under backers, and then I’m off to Japan! Thanks for your support and your patience. I promise I’ll bring back a bunch of pictures! :)
May 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
[For English translation of this post, click HERE]
彼女のプロジェクト 石巻の為に千羽鶴を：津波を乗り越えて を一緒に手伝っています。
May 1, 2012 § 4 Comments
Hi, I am Airi’s sister Riho:)
I have been helping her out with her project 1000 Cranes for Ishinomaki: After the Tsunami.
I am proud to announce that Airi’s project has reached 73 backers with $2,831 funding!
Thank you to those who have contributed, and to those who helped me spread the word about this project!
I currently live in Japan, so I’d never seen my sister make the cranes with my eyes yet.
The other day, I had the chance to help her make the paper and cranes, so I decided to share with everyone the process of making 1000 cranes!
STEP1: Prepping the paper
This is the lab where she makes the paper.
First, she mixes two chemicals together: potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate.
I have no idea what they are, but when I saw ‘cyanide’, I asked my sister if it was dangerous.
The only thing she told me was “be careful.” I felt like I was in a James Bond movie.
She coated the chemical mixture on to the tracing paper.
I guess this tracing paper is something special, too.
She said she looked all over for tracing paper that won’t rip when it gets wet.
“Lots of trial and error, my friend,” said Airi.
After she’s done coating them, she lets the paper dry in a drawer. (Sorry, I forgot what it was called.)
She neatly placed each piece of paper and we waited for about 10 minutes for them to dry.
STEP 2: Feathers
While we waited for the paper to dry, we prepared for the ‘printing’ process.
She took out what looked like a photo frame, and started laying out feathers inside the frame.
Over the feathers, she placed the paper covered in chemicals.
The paper looks light yellow right now, but do not worry, my friends.
Feathers and paper framed together.
One frame fits 4 to 25 pieces of paper, depending on the size.
They are pretty heavy. I could only carry two, but Airi’s learned to carry all four at the same time. Superwoman.
STEP 3: Sun Exposure
Now the magical part begins!
She took the frames outside so she could expose the paper to sunlight.
The sun changes the yellowish color to blue.
A few minutes after the sun exposure. Notice how the color has changed already! Arizona sun helps:)
10 minutes later. They are almost ready!
She knows when they are ready when the green tint goes away.
The darkness of the blue color depends on how much sun it was exposed to.
Done exposing after 30 minutes!
Notice where the feathers covered the paper is still yellow.
That’s because they weren’t exposed to light.
Now time to get wet and wild!
STEP 4: Washing and More Chemical
First she washes off the chemicals with clean water.
This will get the yellow out of the paper.
She washes them and changes the water over and over until the paper no longer has the yellow color.
Then in the other tray, she pours hydrogen peroxide to oxidize the paper.
This gives the paper that beautiful navy color.
Now you can really see the pretty feather prints!
Then more washing!
She washes them gently but surely, to make sure all the chemicals are washed off.
STEP 5: Drying
The hot and steamy step begins.
She places each piece of paper neatly on to a cardboard paper.
It’s important to make sure they are still moist and all nice and flat, because if you don’t then you will get a wrinkly paper.
Then she covers it with another cardboard paper and inserts it into a heat press.
Heat press is like a sandwich toaster. It gets pretty hot.
When she presses it down, you could hear it sizzle.
After 10 minutes, the paper is nice and crispy.
The time is important. You don’t want the paper to get burnt.
Done making the paper!
When I asked my sister why she couldn’t just make one paper and just photo copy the rest, she told me that she decided to make her this way for a reason.
She said she wanted to put in her time and effort in each piece of paper, because the paper and the crane represent one of her objectives of the project.
The color of the paper represents the ocean of Ishinomaki; She said that this is for the remembrance of what happened on March 11, 2011.
The blue color also represents the sky of Ishinomaki; She wants the prayers to sent to the sky with the help of the cranes.
Like in the Japanese ancient legend, she hopes that these cranes will help Ishinomaki and the people there recover from the traumatic disaster.
STEP 6: Trimming & Folding
Before we start folding, we have to make sure that the paper is a square.
The tracing paper shrinks from the chemicals and heat, so we have to make adjustments.
I fold it into a triangle to see where I need to trim.
Then I cut off the extra edges off.
Sometimes you have to use scissors to make little adjustments.
Then we start folding!
Here’s a video of how she folds them:
Airi has been doing this for a while, and she could fold one in less than a minute and 50 seconds! Impressive.
It took me close to three minutes to fold one crane. I need to practice more.
So there you go!
These are the steps of making her cranes.
Honestly, I didn’t know that it was such a time consuming process!
But now you know, that each cranes you receive will be full of thoughts and prayers:)
Hope everyone enjoyed this!
March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Sorry for being MIA for a while. Everything was just crazy that I barely had time to even breathe. I know I should’ve written about this a while ago, and it may sound like a bunch of mumbling, but here it goes.
March 11 has passed, and the one year anniversary of the Earthquake/Tsunami came. I felt strange inside because I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad.
Happy: My whole outlook on life changed after I volunteered. I learned so much from that experience that I’ve been sharing my stories with others. This whole year I dedicated myself to Japan. I learned what it feels like to do something for others, and realize how it feels to be appreciated. I feel more connected to my roots now, and I’m very happy with where I am.
Sad: It took this disaster for me to realize everything. So many lives were lost, so many lives were destroyed. Was I selfish to “use” this experience to explore my identity? The disaster left so much damage that it’s not even close to what it used to be and so much cleaning/rebuilding needs to be done.
So March 10 was a strange day with all this confusion in my head. But all that cloudiness went away the next day.
On March 11, there was a Annual Remembrance Event of the Tsunami with a screening of the Academy Award Nominated documentary, “Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”. I was fortunate enough to be asked to display my Thousand Cranes installation and share my photographs as well. I watched the documentary and I couldn’t help but cry at first. I saw the destruction that the tsunami caused on screen and I took it personal. The first time I saw it on the news, I was amazed of how powerful Mother Nature was. But it was still someone else’s problem. But after volunteering, after meeting the Ishinomaki locals, after moving bag after bag filled with the mud that was once at the bottom of the ocean… After all that, I was involved.
Though I was only there for 2 weeks, I put my all in it. It was hard work, but nothing compared to the people who’s been there from the start. They’re strong, and I’d be happy if I can be half as strong as them. While I volunteered, as a photographer, I wanted to take as many pictures as I could. But then again, this wasn’t a vacation, or sight-seeing. It was to assist with the aid of the relief. I was so focused on doing the tasks I was handed, that I forgot to take pictures first half of the trip. And after seeing the destruction, it was so much to take in that it was hard for me to get anything in the way from my own eyes. It sounds crazy that I’m saying this, but I didn’t want the lens to be in the way between me and Ishinomaki. But then, I wanted to bring back something to show my community of what was happening in Japan. I felt that it was my job to share it with the people who are in America. So towards the end, I started shooting.
Since I’ve been back to Arizona, I wondered what I could do here since I can’t physically be there to help Ishinomaki. And the only thing I know how to do well is art. I learned how to cyanotype in my Alternative Processes class with my teacher, Christopher Colville, and he helped me get my ideas together for my cranes. So for his class, I started making cyanotypes with feathers on tracing paper to make the design, and then folded cranes obsessively. Everyday, every night, every moment that I was awake. At the time, I didn’t know what it was for, but then eventually, I was deeply invested in it to give this as an offering for the people of Ishinomaki. I couldn’t have done it alone, I had my mom, my boyfriend Rex, my friend Ashley to help me fold. My 2 cats, Whiskers and Bailey stayed up late nights with me as I folded. I folded 1000 cyanotyped cranes and made an installation. My wish was for Japan’s good luck, good health, and recovery.
For the first time I had the opportunity to show it in my group BFA show, COOL. among my friends. And this exhibition lead me to Matsuri. And that lead me to the screening for the Tsunami & the Cherry Blossom.
I hope that Ishinomaki can feel the positive energy that I’m sending them. It may be little on a global scale, but I’m trying to spread the word out to everyone I know and everyone I can reach. All I want is good for Ishinomaki.