Aomi Kikuchi

"I am an artist who earnestly learns various knowledge and techniques of textiles, digests them, and takes a unique approach to conventional thinking and methods for creating innovative works."

Shape of Mind - Drawing, Gold Sumi Ink, Canvas 7.62 cm square each

Aomi Kikuchi is a textile artist based in Kyoto, Japan. She holds a BFA from Kyoto University of Art & Design (Japan) and an MFA from Pratt Institute (USA) and is currently an artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center (USA). Aomi has exhibited her work throughout the world including at Today’s Silk Road Exhibition (China), LA Art Show Modern + Contemporary (California), and the annual Japan Contemporary Art and Craft Exhibition (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum).

With over 30 years of practice, Aomi has dedicated extensive and immersive practice to Japanese Kimono Haute Couture, Yusen dyeing techniques, and silk fabrics after becoming a fashion designer. This background inspires her artistic exploration and her artwork utilizes various textile materials and techniques including extremely thin fibers, goose down, and cotton flower along with knitting, weaving, embroidery, and other craft techniques.

Aomi’s figurative dyeing, textile installation, and soft sculptures exemplify her intentional selection of materials that are defined by delicacy and brittleness. With this, she aims to express Buddha's philosophy of impermanence, insubstantiality and suffering of all life. Aomi is currently working on a series of large scale installation pieces and sculptures that explore impermanence through the use of biology and nature with textiles. This new work will be on view at the Textile Arts Center in Fall 2020.


Chasm - Original Dye Method inspired by Traditional Japanese Yuzen Kimono Dyeing, Layered Silk Organza, Acid dye, Pigment 90 cm square
Transition - Knitting, Embroidery, Linen Yarn, Silk Thread, Goose Down 208 x 218 cm
Female Mosquito - Embroidery, Painting, Silk Gauze, Wire, Pigment, Cotton, Bamboo Hoop 16 cm round
Trace - Embroidery, Silk Thread, Goose, Down, Cotton 68 x 28 cm

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Born in: 1996, South Korea
Lives in: Seoul, Korea
Media: Textile Arts
Describe your work in 3 words: Structural, Experimental, time

Piece Together - Fabric yarn, Wool, Felt, Acrylic yarn, Bolts, Nuts 220 x 160 x 15 cm

"When making art pieces, I pick materials not only by considering the suitability of theme but also by agonizing with hours of experiments and research. Moreover, I think of ways that could lead the pieces to take up space rather than remaining flat. I tried to add the concept of solidity in the established flat surface of tapestry, so that I could emphasize ‘Objective Effect’."

What themes does your work involve?
I compared the completeness of the day and the period to a puzzle using formative elements. I expressed the psychological comfort and relief that I feel on my way home from my busy life and abstract and structured formative constructs. I tried to make a completed structure as one piece of peace was compared to my ‘day’ and my shape was matched like a puzzle and this gathered. Different shapes and sizes showed that each day is always different and new. After the primary tapestry work, the tapestry of the architectural structure was completed by adding 3 dimensional and linear elements using the off-loom coiling technique. It showed design and structural forms by giving different heights and three-dimensionality of all the different color planes due to the volume and texture of the thread.
Describe your creative process.
In 'Piece Together,' we produced a result that can go beyond a flat work through basic molding elements such as lines and faces to three dimensions. By substituting various colors and expressing the contrast between colors, we created an idea sketch to show the color and a texture sample to show the three-dimensional effect, and specifically composed the details of the work. The motif of the night view taken on the way home is expressed in various colors and abstract forms. In order to record these moments as a work, abstract work was performed using geometric shapes after photographing. I think that the planning and sampling I made before entering the work are also important processes, and it is the beginning of the work from this moment.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
It’s hard to deny that the difficult part of making artwork is to aim at an in-depth approach and analyze ‘The relationship between Textile’s Formativeness and Intention of the Expression’ based on research and experiment of multilateral material rather than focusing only on technique. Analyzing the ‘Diverse possibility of material expression’ and ‘What can be the most efficient way to express intended meaning in pieces’ in terms of diverse perspectives is becoming the new paradigm. It’s never easy to make artwork, but if the plans for my art progress following my own extent, it is relatively convenient to make the outgrowth. And I think the ultimate output when I finish my artwork is feeling the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction particularly based on ‘Agony' and 'Attempt'.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Recently, the tendency of art is mixed genres and ambiguous division. Following ‘Post-modernism’, the current art field is denying standardized and rigid structure, and trying to reach new styles different from the old paradigm. Moreover, attempts to ‘Decategorization’ and ‘Getting out from the textural interpretation of scriptures’ are increasing, which leads to experimental attempts with a variety of materials in different perspectives. This shows that ‘Fusion Art’ is the rising star in the modern society of art.

I think that it is important to become the opportunity for new possibilities of beauty and the soul of plastic experimentalists regardless of particularly structured genres. Therefore, these attempts ultimately led us to step up for the field of ‘Total Art’ and then 'Good Art'.

What is the role of the artist today?
I would like to be an artist who communicates my thoughts and beliefs with the world through my own artistic sense. I strongly believe that the most prestigious factor to appeal one’s own pieces are to attach new media and methods that change the paradigm of fixed thoughts and expression in art. For example, understanding customary acts or connotative meaning in culture would be ‘new’ to those who are not from this own country nor living on this earth. Because for those who are not used to that particular atmosphere or hard to understand that particular context, the approach to understanding this particular theme would be interpreted as ‘New attempt’ or ‘Challenge’, which would lead to higher engagement in art pieces.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

Riitta Nelimarkka

"Love your work, enjoy dialogue, stay curious and experiment new ideas. Let yourself be self-critical, but not at the beginning of the project. think everything is possible and never give up. Take care of your beloved and nosce te ipsum - know yourself."

An Outsider, Camus, 1990 - Wool relief 220 x 250 x 3 cm

Professor Riitta Nelimarkka’s multifacetedness makes her one of the most exciting Finnish visual artists. Her art is characterized by a fearless use of colour and form, as well as virtuoso drawing skills and using music in her art.

She has studied painting in Paris, animation and photography in Stockholm, art history and music theory at the Helsinki University and piano performance at the Sibelius Academy.  Nelimarkka holds a doctorate degree in the arts (AALTO University Helsinki, 2001). She has received the honorary title professor from the president of Finland 2008. She has held several positions of trust a.o. been the chairman of Nelimarkka-Foundation since 1987.

During years Riitta Nelimarkka has written 20 books: art books, children's books, poetry, made several films, f.i. the first feature animation of Finland Seven Brothers, has had major exhibitions at venues including Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki; Kunsthalle Helsinki; Wäinö Aaltonen museum, Turku ,Hallwyl Museum, Stockholm; Museo de la Nacion, Lima, the Russian Academy of Arts’ Tsereteli Art Gallery, Moscow, EXPO 2000 in Hannover; FIDM Museum, Los Angeles, La Maison de l´Amerique de Monaco and Maison de l’Europe, Paris. Bonga Castle, an aristocratic building that she has renovated with her husband, Jaakko Seeck, in Loviisa, near Helsinki also houses a permanent exhibition of some three hundred works.

Nelimarkka has received numerous awards and prizes at international biennales and film festivals. In 2016 she was awarded by the Order of France with the distinction of Officier des Arts et Lettres.

Happiness Allowed, 2010 - Wool relief 175 x 235 x 3,5 cm
La Valse, Variation 3/3, 2019 - Photomontage on plexi 90 x 140 x 25 cm
Good Lord, I Still Like Them!, 2016 - Serigraphy 25 x 35 cm
Inventing a Butterfly 1/3, 2019 - Photomontage on aluminum 90 x 140 x 2,5 cm

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Alicja Kozlowska

Born in: 2000, Poland

Lives in: Poland

Media: Sculpture, Mixed media, Textile Arts, Crafts

Describe your work in 3 words: Unique Modern Independent

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Andy - Embroidered felt sculpture 14 x 21 x 17 cm

"Painting by sewing for me is the format to address deeply negative, culturally constructed indifference. From Duchamp and Warhol I learned the relationship between handicraft and mass production, and between works of art and every day consumable commodities."

What themes does your work involve?
Creating sculptures, my goal is to make the recipient realize that art is contained in every, the most obvious object and creates a unique work out of it, even in the mass reception zone. Despite the fact that mainstream pop art is considered as out of date, drawing inspiration from Andy Warhol's works, I made a banana peel, to indicate that this trend despite the lack of interior art, can still sounding in life and work. "Andy" work is my look at today's pop art.
Describe your creative process.
It’s very intuitive. There is no plan behind. It’s a raw art process. The creative process in my head is breaking down the object into the first parts, mixing colors and shadows to let my hands start to work with thread.
What influences your work? What inspires you?
I'm inspired by daily life, everyday objects, mass culture, things to which we do not pay special attention, which are an indispensable part of our everyday life. It all intertwines with Pop Art. It's kind of infected in a positive sense. I've always been inspired by Andy Warhol and Pop Art. What in Warhol's works captivated me the most is the utter elegance and directness of his paintings — his ability to distill a world of information out of a picture through minimal but brilliant intervention.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
In everything, there is a bit of ART. The challenge is to discover it, compose and order it. There is no universal formula to create a piece of art, a great art. Everyone has to find their own path. It’s like a composing music, you have to find a proper balance between the sound and the silence, between harmony and melody.
What is the role of the artist today?
Arts should reflect on different issues and contexts (socio-economic, political, cultural) in order to be understood and enjoyed by societies. Artists play an important social role performing independently of large corporations, governments or political groups.

This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist