Interview with Hidemi Ishibashi
Born in Aomori Prefecture Japan, Hidemi Ishibashi has been enjoying painting since her early youth. She realized at an early age that she wanted to express herself through art. She studied painting at the Osaka University of Arts, where she was also involved in the dramatic arts, and has a background in graphic and fashion design as well.
Ms Ishibashi’s work explores the areas between the organic and inorganic, the living and the not living. She uses a variety of inks and media such as organic teas to make her paintings.
Her first exhibition, “School Walts” appeared at the AD@A Gallery in 2004. She recently had a solo exhibition of her work entitled “Solo Lunch” at the Ouchi Gallery and was published in “Talking Heads” magazine no. 43. Since then her work has appeared in many venues in Japan and internationally. She is continually learning and striviing for excellence.
In addition, Ms. Ishibashi has curated group exhibitions in Osaka and Tokyo and is currently working in graphic design for apparel.
“To be a designer means that one should acknowledge that art is never ending while the artist is only for now.”
Hi Hidemi, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us your story – how you started as an artist and a little but about your journey from then till now?
I was born in Aomori Prefecture in Japan, Hachinohe to double-income parents so since they both worked much of my time was spent at my grandmother’s house in the countryside. I spent a lot of time playing in the woods, watching animals, and plants and examining animal carcasses which made me think a lot about life and death.
I always went into the woods with a sketchbook and would draw the corpses of the creatures I would find, Plants, animals, trees, soil, and stones too. I think I began to build something that could be called “my own” and develop my style of painting and drawing then.
Can you tell us a little about Demil Pibot and the overall artistic idea and direction of your work?
I have always been fascinated by the line between organic, biological matter and human created materials. For example I like to draw a creature and incorporate it into the image of a building. I enjoy drawing inorganic material and making it appear like a living creature.
Because living creatures have emotions, when I draw inorganic creatures I transfer the emotions to them. There are rules, though. For example, minerals can cry but no matter how broken they may be they do not become angry and they do not express other inner feelings.
With this in mind I would like to continue to draw “endless possibilities”.
What inspires you and how do you come up with ideas for each of your works?
I am inspired byliving creatures and the structure of buildings. I am particularly interested in insects and deep-sea organisms .
Much of your work could be called “bizarre” or “grotesque” in a way. Two of my favorite images are “Pandaman” and “Undressing” where figures pull skin away from their skeletons. Where did the idea of skin separating from the skeleton come from?
If you were to peel off skin it would be very painful and damaging to the body but what if it was simple to remove and discard? If you think of it as an outer layer, like clothing, the possibilities are endless.
Instead of “grotesque” I would say this work is an expression of “a universal feeling.”
“Braid” is an amazing piece. Is is a portrait of you or does it have a personal meaning to you?
As I paint the image and meaning behind them are very vague. It is not until the end, when it is actually finished, do I know and fully see what I have created.
What is one of your personal favorites?
Every new image I make grows on me and becomes my favorite. I love them all but it is a destructive love. I love one thing, then break it and create a new one to love.
Many of the figures in your work have large and blank eyes. There are animals, insects and especially birds tearing through parts of bodies. What feeling do you hope the viewer feels when they see your work?
I hope people will find my paintings interesting and fun. I also hope they will provoke thoughts in the viewer.
“What is this?” I want people to say. I also want people to understand my thoughts but seek answers themselves. It may take a long time to figure it out though.
You have written you use ink but also organic teas. Why do you use tea and how is it applied?
Sometimes tea is used and applied over and over again to give depth to the colors. When used on top of ink it is possible to use it on top and not disturb the ink. It gives it great depth. It is a great material.
What artists do you admire the most and how and why do they inspire you?
There are loads of wonderful artists in the world but one that impressed me was Modigliani. I first saw his works when I was 7 years old. The things he draws have the shape of dolls but I couldn’t even imagine who or what they actually are. They look like people but I suppose they are more like vessels or dolls, his creativity is infinitely vast.
You have had solo and group exhibitions of your work in Japan and in the US and are preparing to have your work shoen in the “Salon Art Shopping Carrousel du Louvre” in Paris, France. Can you tell us a little about the exhibition and are you excited?
I am very honored. I want my work to be seen in many different places by many different people so they can feel and enjoy it. I am always working and painting and I want people to be stimulated and excited by my work!
What advice would you have for other artists who are just starting out?
No matter what happens you have to continue to create and feel many different emotions. You must also never give up or waste your talent and never look down on others. Your works have to be built up with humility as you face your creations with sincerity. Nature’s force and your own diligence will come together within your body.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Reading and cooking. Deeply sleeping and dreaming is wonderful.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?