by Ron Ostlund
Not long ago I decided to start doing interviews on things that I enjoy, such as art, interior design, and fashion. And I knew I wanted to do my first interview with my favorite artist, Sayaka Ganz. I freely admit that she has become an “idol” of mine! My good friend Julie Toles intoduced me to her work (back in my art hater stage) and I was moved to tears by what I saw. I was not ready for the impact and emotion I felt looking at her amazing art. A change occurred in me, and I have been different ever since.
I first met Sayaka at an art opening at Continuum Art Gallery in Ft. Wayne. She is one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever met. I was quite nervous to be meeting this amazing artist and was a bit starstruck! Ok alot starstruck, and I still am! Well let me start this interview before I blab my way down the page!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Yokohama, Japan. My family moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil when I was 9 years old and we lived there for almost 5 years. We went back to Japan when I was 13, then moved to Hong Kong and came to the United States to attend university. Up to high school I never graduated from the same school I started in. All these relocations have affected my thinking. It has made me flexible and also made me crave a sense of belonging. I get great comfort from fitting things together, perhaps partially because of these experiences.
Explain to everyone what you do as an artist, in a general sense.
I make organic forms from discarded household plastics that I collect from the thrift shops. Mostly I make animal forms of various colors but I also make more abstract sculptures. I try to use motion lines in my sculptures, just like some old cartoon drawings, to create the illusion that my animals are moving. My process is very experimental and non-traditional but my techniques are almost primitive, I drill holes in the plastic objects and tie them together onto an armature.
I have known you for a little while now and am continually amazed at your work. What drives and inspires you to create new work?
I get the inspiration from the discarded objects themselves. The human history behind each piece is very interesting, someone designed and created this object, someone used and later discarded it. I am also inspired by nature and the life energy of animals. The motion, wind, water current, waves and time.
I feel a tremendous amount of energy in your art. Please explain your philosophy behind your work and how you bring your pieces to life.
My philosophy is that beauty is all around us, but sometimes a shift in perspective is necessary to find it. I try to use the organic forms of the man made plastic and align them in a way that funnels the directional energy into a flowing stream.
What do you like most about the medium that you work with?
The objects that we use around the house are often designed to fit our hands or body and have beautiful curvilinear forms. I love putting odd shapes and forms together like a puzzle, so these objects work very well. I also like all the colors they come in, and that there are subtle variations in colors within each spectrum.
Do you have any plans and goals for the future of your art that you can share with us?
Jim Merz and I are applying for a public art commission in Seattle. I’m in a group exhibition in Washington D.C. in March. I have a commission to create four horse sculptures at the Isle of Man in October and I will make a series of four sculptures (three of marine animals and one of the North Pacific Gyre) for the Monterey Bay Aquarium using plastic debris from the ocean in 2012. My goal would be to find the good balance between having enough work and having too much. Its sometimes difficult to decide which shows I should enter, which invitations or commissions I should accept or reject.
Art tends to have many deffinitions, and means something different to each person. Give us your definition of Art and what it means to you.
Art and beauty cannot be separated in my mind. Some people look for more intellectual stimuli in art, but to me it is more about aesthetic and visual engagement and the messages you broadcast through them. I want to challenge the viewers to try to find beauty in the mundane, find hope in difficult situations and be kinder toward the little “stuff” around us.
I would like to thank Sayaka for letting me do this interview with her and for the wonderful answers she provided me with. I hope that her work can inspire many more people like it has inspired me! If you want to go look at more of her art take a look at the links I have provided. I highly recomend that you take the time to look at them and to “Like” her page on Facebook