Studio Visit: Miya Ando
Many of you already know that my appreciation for the arts largely informs and inspires my designs as well as my day to day life. As I slowly start to build my personal art collection I find myself attending more and more events and gallery shows featuring contemporary artists living and working in New York. Back in November I attended ARTWALK NY to benefit Coalition For The Homeless - it was a fantastic event and the inspiring speeches by Philanthropic Honorees Alec Baldwin and Richard Gere were reason enough to attend, but I also got the winning bid for a Shepard Fairey piece that now hangs in my living room (proceeds from the silent auction went to the charity). The best part of the evening, however, was meeting and chatting with artist Miya Ando. We immediately hit it off and later scheduled a studio visit at her amazing Long Island City workspace. I was thrilled to gain some insight into her unique process and am excited to share these behind the scenes shots with you all!
Everything in the studio (and Miya herself really) is a juxtaposition of old and new: traditional Japanese influences side by side with innovative modern techniques. The space (and her work) looks and feels still and serene, but visible tools and safety equipment hint at the buzz of recent activity, while the implied motion in her work reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives.
Here's a bit more info about Miya:
Miya Ando is an American artist whose metal canvases and sculpture articulate themes of perception and ones relationship to time. The foundation of her practice is transformation of surfaces. Half Japanese & half Russian-American, Ando is a descendant of Bizen sword makers and was raised in a Buddhist temple in Japan and a redwood forest in Northern California. She has continued her 16th generation Japanese sword
smithing and Buddhist lineage by combining metals, reflectivity and light in her abstract paintings and sculpture. In 2011 she completed a memorial sculpture for 9/11 in which she utilized a 30 foot tall piece of steel which had fallen from the World Trade Center Buildings, the sculpture is permanently displayed in front of Zaha Hadid’s Aquatic Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Ando’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the world, including a recent show curated by Guggenheim curator Nat Trotman. Miya’s public commissions include projects in South Korea, London, New York and California. Her work appears in many important public and private collections and she was the recipient of the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012, the Thanatopolis Special Artist Award and a Public Outdoor Commission winner as well as a Puffin Foundation Grant winner. She received her Bachelor of Science Magna Cum Laude in East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley and continued her studies at Yale University, in addition to serving as an apprentice to a master metal smith in Japan. Miya’s large scale artwork “Emptiness The Sky” (Shou Sugi Ban) is featured in the “Frontiers Reimagined” exhibition in the 56th Venice Biennale.
As you can see above, each piece starts with a study that is then applied to the larger full scale piece. Because of the nature of working with metals and fire, Miya's process is very meticulous and regimented, unsurprising considering her Japanese and Russian roots.
I'll leave you with one of Miya's latest pieces - it's from her new series of Tide Paintings: