Hello! We are excited to share our third interview from our artist interview series. We have been admiring the work of artist Mayuko Fujino for a while. Mayuko is a self-taught papercut and stencil artist from Tokyo currently based in the Hudson Valley in New York. Inspired by Japanese traditional stencil textile designs, she has been practicing her art since 1999. Mayuko shares her insight and inspiration with us below.
Uncommon Canvas: What inspires you when making art?
Mayuko: Sometimes an image I see in my everyday environment starts to linger in my mind, and that’s what inspired me to make art. For example, when I lived in Brooklyn, it was a littered plastic bag on the street; now I live in upstate New York surrounded by nature and it is mirroring trees on the water surface that inspire me. I create a series to decode the lingering image so that I understand what it is trying to tell me. I believe successful art is autonomous and I try to let my intuition speak as much as possible, since it often has more depth than what I can conceptualize.
Uncommon Canvas: How has the pandemic impacted you as an artist?
Mayuko: The pandemic has given me more clarity for my art practice. At times of crisis, all transactional business relationships vanish quickly, and personal connections with people you actually know and care about are what remain and thrive. Before the pandemic, I had already felt that many art shows in Brooklyn (where I used to live and work) were not set up to effectively create a place for meaningful conversations. I think now is a great chance for all of us to come up with new/unconventional settings for artists to engage in more personal communications through art. The fact that gatherings need to be small only helps to create a space where everyone can hear and be heard. So to find ways to present work with that purpose in mind is the adjustment I am trying to make as an artist, and I think it is exciting.
Uncommon Canvas: What advice do you have for other artists?
Mayuko: Self-taught or not, we artists are all trained to be introspective through our art practices, to deal with uncertainty and unusual problems, and to respond with creativity. This is a toolset we have that could truly help not only ourselves but also others to cope with the difficult times. I feel so much joy to be an artist and I hope you do too. I feel excited to talk with my artist friends about what we can do. We always come out of crisis with a deeper understanding of life and insights, and I am looking forward to more art we will create.
Image credits (top to bottom): ©Mayuko Fujino
#2 Rego’s Circus
#3 Leafy Dancers #2
Please note that all images are copyright © of the individual artists and used on this blog for educational purposes. Selling, printing, or repurposing artwork without an artist’s permission is not nice or permitted.