Hi! Thanks for visiting. I haven’t updated this blog since the website was built in the beginning of the year, so there is a lot to catch up on! It’s been an exciting year- “Fish for Jimmy” was released, I attended a public art event/mural conference in Argentina and painted several murals over the summer in Detroit. For more pictures and stories from the work below, check out the “Work” section on the site which I have also, finally, updated.
Early in the year, I was invited to participate in an international mural conference in Cosquin, Cordoba, Argentina, to paint alongside about 50 other artists from around the world. I painted 3 murals in Argentina but the highlight from this trip was connecting with Sabotaje al Montaje and my other friends from the Canary Islands, to be able to paint with them all over Cordoba. The collaborative process continues to stun me as a way to open yourself up to images that may not have otherwise ever come out, had it not been for the collaborator. This is one of the favorite paintings I’ve ever done, on the riverbank of the Rio Cosquin, with Sabotaje al Montaje.
I’ve been anticipating the release of “Fish for Jimmy” for some time now, but I could not have anticipated the amazing support and enthusiasm that has surrounded its release. Friends (new and old), family, children of all ages and my Japanese American community have come out in such strong and loving support at every signing and reading I’ve had. I’ve been invited to schools, bookstores and conferences across the country to share this story. When I was growing up, frustrated by the complete absence of the Japanese Internment from any lesson in school, I wish I could have told my adolescent self that it was coming. I feel so blessed every time I share this story with a child or group of children.
Speaking of children, in the Spring, I hosted what I think was the 9th year of the Ballet Tech Evening if the Arts. My 4th-8th grade students’ work was prominently displayed in all of its glory. Check it out in the work section of my site for more pictures. There is nothing in the world like their work and their indomitable creative spirit!!
Check out the new Boggs Educational Center mural in Detroit. My friends have put years of their lives into making this school a reality for the children of the east side of Detroit. I’m so, so happy for them. The mission of the school reads as follows: Our Mission is to Nurture Creative, Critical Thinkers Who Contribute to the Well-Being of Their Communities.” What could be better!
While in Detroit, I also had a chance to do a memorial piece for Trayvon Martin. Detroiters came out in big support, with so much love and solidarity for the message. Thank you, Detroit.
Also in Detroit, I had the chance to collaborate with the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, who developed a gorgeous new Head Start center on Gratiot Ave. 72 children, newborn -five years old now have a brand new preschool to attend, in what was a previously abandoned lot. There is a sweetness to painting in preschools that never gets old for me.
This year, I also moved studios and had a visit from the independent booksellers from across the country who were attending the Book Expo America conference at the Javits Center. After 10 years of sharing a studio with my beloved friend Yuko Shimizu, I moved to Brooklyn, closer to home, and started subletting. I miss Yuko like crazy, but it’s great to have my own big walls to paint on and I can definitely say that the studio that we shared is like 500% more beautiful since I left and Yuko remodeled!!
These days, I am working on some new book proposals, busy teaching my students at Ballet Tech and continuing ed students at SVA. My Writing and Illustrating Children’s Book class is an absolute joy to teach. The students, from all walks of life, are an inspiration and their stories are wonderful too! The fall schedule is a little grueling, but well worth it. I’ve been able to have amazing guest speakers come to class- Edel Rodriguez, Lizzy Rockwell, Jan Carr, Zetta Elliot, Marcellus Hall and Marcos Chin. These students are so lucky 🙂
And . . . there was the 5th year of making murals at the Welling Court Mural Project with my friend Caleb Neelon! This year’s project was particularly fun with little Lucia, daughter of my dear friends, as our star!
Now that I know how to update my website, I’ll do it more often! Please come back for a visit soon!