Today I bring to you one of my recently discovered wonders… A really interestin artist, whose work is worth some time and effort dedication. I’m talking about Sayaka Ganz, and for those of you who don’t know her, it’s about time you meet her.
I think her answers to my questions are detailed enough to spare me a few lines, so I won’t tell you that she uses discarded objects to create her sculptures, how, why and what it gives rise to. All I’ll say is that the moment I saw her artworks I was grabbed, mainly because of the energy involved in her pieces. At first glance it doesn’t even seem like a mass of plastic components, just a beautiful and powerful structure. There’s a gap between the general shape and the details, and to me that’s the interesting part in Sayaka’s work, beside the fact that she’s raising the question of global issues in her works…
Anyway, before getting to know her more, take a look at my favorite artworks, some of them that I would really love to have if I could, and if you want you can check more pictures and sculptures on her website.
Scrap Metal Sculptures
Reclaimed Objects Sculptures
In an attempt to set a frame
Where are you from ?
I was born in Yokohama, Japan. I grew up moving a lot, and have lived in Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, and now United States.
Where are you based ?
I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
What is your educational background ?
Indiana University Bloomington (BFA Printmaking, 2000)
Bowling Green State University (MFA 3D Studies, 2008)
Where are you and what is surrounding you right now?
Currently I’m on the Isle of Man in UK for a month on a commission. It is a small island between Ireland and Scotland, very beautiful and peaceful. Rolling hills of lush green grass and meandering stone walls surround me, with cattle and sheep grazing. The rocky beach is within 5 minutes walk and the hotel I’m staying at faces a quay.
What did you do in the past twenty-four hours?
Yesterday morning I went into Tesco to buy some grocery. It is disorienting and takes me a long time to find where items are. They don’t refrigerate eggs here, for example. Things are organized differently. It is also very crowded on a Saturday morning. I reported to work at a construction site of this mansion where I’m installing my sculptures around 11am on a rented Nissan, this was my second day of driving on the island. It’s a challenge because they drive on the left side of the street and my reflexes still haven’t quite caught on to that, and those beautiful stone walls are sometimes awfully close to the road.
I didn’t stay on the site for very long, just 3 hours of hunting for the right size nails and some cutting tools. This was my fourth day on the site. Most of the construction crew, all men, had been courteous and friendly from safe distance up until yesterday. Saturday seemed to be a more relaxed day however. One of the men was harassing me and would not leave my area. After letting him sit and watch for a few minutes I asked him about the tools and he was off to find me what I needed. Maybe he is on my side now.
In the evening I went back to the hotel and cooked some curry for myself. I spent a few hours on my computer, catching up on emails, talking to my husband on skype, loading photos on facebook etc.
As an introduction to her work
As far as you can go, what is your earliest memory linked to art?
I think the earliest I can remember is around 5 years old… I have always loved to draw and my mom tells me that my dad used to put paper all along the walls of our living room so I could draw on the walls. I don’t remember that however. I remember drawing and origami and paper shadow puppets in kindergarten, I don’t know which came first. I also remember learning how to spread glue on a piece of paper using my fingertips. That’s probably before shadow puppets.
What, or who, pushed you into art?
I just had a love of drawing and fitting shapes together. I loved playing with puzzles. I don't think anything or anyone pushed me.
What is your definition of art?
Art is any act of creating beauty in your life.
What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty is what awes and inspires us to hope and believe in goodness of life.
Which is more important the process or the product?
To myself as an artist and on my own work, the process is slightly more important. I am pretty result oriented in other things however, and product is also very important to me. For me as a viewer appreciating other artists’ works, product is more important. Process is sometimes interesting but not always, and I would only be interested in the process if the product interests me in any case.
About your work
How would you describe your work?
My work depicts the motion and energy of animals or other natural elements using an assemblage of discarded objects. I use mostly plastic objects right now and probably will continue to use plastic for a long time. I use the plastic objects as brush strokes, creating an impressionistic effect in 3D.
What part of your work is the most important?
Using discarded objects, not necessarily plastic, and creating something that is beautiful and alive with them.
Where do you find inspiration?
When I’m working on a sculpture I work very spontaneously and constantly reacting to the forms of the objects I have in my collection, so in a way they are my inspiration. I look at nature shows on TV and get inspired by an interesting creature or natural phenomenon that were introduced. I love meeting people who love their jobs, regardless of occupation. Talking to people who have a great passion for something always inspires me.
What kind of artistic expression do you look at for inspiration?
I love looking at works by people who use discarded materials like I do. I also love abstract sculpture. Having a background in Printmaking I also love looking at prints, usually ones that have very distinct design composition and texture, either realistic or abstract. It is difficult to define my taste in art.
What kind of artists do you look up to?
I look up to artists who also have integrity as individuals and continue to pursue their passion regardless of financial status.
Who are the people you want to reach with your work?
The general public, especially children. I want to reach beyond the artsy gallery going crowd.
Are creative collaborations important to you?
Yes, but only in addition to my own individual work. I don’t want the collaborations to replace that. Collaborating with other artists push and challenge me to think in ways I normally do not and expand my mind. It is also a great way to stay in touch with artist friends when we are all very busy.
So far, what was your most interesting collaboration ?
The piece titled “Re-surgence” is my favorite collaboration so far. It is a wall-mounted relief sculpture in the shape of the silhouette of a river, made with discarded plastic objects and LED lights to make the plastic glow like stained glass. It is a permanent installation in a hockey/event arena called Huntington Center in downtown Toledo, OH. I worked with two of my colleagues Greg Mueller and Steve Williams on this project and we are talking about a new project right now.
Do you have any favorite artwork so far ? Which one ?
“Emergence” is my favorite. The two horses galloping out of a wall. This was such a break-through piece for me. I learned so much from making Wind, that’s the white horse, especially.
About her career
What satisfies you? When do you consider something achieved?
In each sculpture, when the objects fit together just right it’s a very nice feeling. I get it less from individual connections now with these plastic objects than I used to when I was working with scrap metal, probably because the finished product is larger in relationship to the individual objects and the exact fit of individual objects matter less now. I am more after achieving the sense of motion and I only begin to see it when I have dozens of objects connected together.
In art making in general, a completion of a sculpture always feels great, and I am not finished until I feel great about a sculpture. There are some that I’m more in love with than others but if I am dissatisfied with a sculpture I keep working until I am satisfied.
In my career, every new venue I exhibit in is an accomplishment and every new city, state, and country and so forth because a new venue or location often means my work is reaching to a new group of people. I am aware that I will not reach every single person in the world, but my goal is to keep trying to reach as many people as I can.
What, or who, has been the greatest influence on your career ?
My childhood of growing up in Japan, and moving to other countries at a young age. The Japanese Shinto belief is a large influence on my thoughts and emotions regarding disposable and discarded objects. Moving several times and having to adjust to new environment, especially new schools, made me feel a strong desire to fit in and to make things fit together to create harmony around myself as well.
My parents are both creative people but did not pursue an artistic career themselves, and they have always been very supportive of my artistic endeavors. My husband is a great balancing and calming influence as well. Being a great artist himself, Chris always pushes me to challenge myself but at the same time reminds me not to lose sight of other important things in life in the pursuit of higher goals in my art career.
What, or who, is the motor of your career ?
I think I answered this one together with the last question.
What are your future plans, your next step ?
I’m currently working on two commissions, and next year I hope to get two or three commissions as well. I have one collaborative commission, two group exhibitions, and one solo exhibition scheduled for 2012 and I would also like to do an installation in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September. My next goal is to have a solo exhibition in Europe or Asia. I hope to accomplish it by 2013.
I love how she answered my questions, everything is so detailed, it’s admirable ! Her works are too, and if you still not convinced I strongly suggest you go check the website the sculptures take a whole new dimension from every side… It’s impressive, especially ‘’Whirl’’, personally I think my favorite is ‘’Japonica’’, although I also have a strong admiration towards “Convergence II”, what are yours?
I would like to thank Sayaka Ganz for answering so meticulously to these questions, and for letting me use the pictures on her website. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do, if not let me know why… And stay tuned for upcoming discoveries, and news.
See ya !