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Just Go For It!

Koko's Love Art Gallery Installation, Yoshi Sakai

I hit a realization during my Image studies class the other day here at UCSB after having gotten a chance to work with some of those unfamiliar-looking materials I noticed listed on the class syllabus at the start of the year. That is that there are so many mediums out there that I hadn’t discovered, and so many that I have yet to try. I found that these new mediums make me so incredibly eager to work. All of a sudden, I wish I would have found out about them before, as they would have saved so many of my creative ruts in the past as well as helped to add on to some of my previous pieces. With new mediums come new doors of opportunity, inspiration and motivation!

One of the materials that I have recently been introduced to is Gouache. Gouache is a happy medium between watercolor and acrylic paints. The amazing part about this is that it removes the frustration that comes with painting with acrylic and how fast it dries and instead is able to be reactivated with water like watercolors. While working on my very first gouache painting which was assigned by my professor, I found myself immediately anticipating my next one and debating which one of the ideas blooming in my head I would create next. Another medium that I have recently discovered is screen printing through my printmaking class. Printmaking is such a different approach to making art than what I had ever experienced before. This is because there is a lot of planning that must occur before actually creating an illustration as the artist only really has one shot after deciding to run the print through the printing press. Usually, I make my artistic decisions as I move along the creation of my pieces. But since coming to this realization, I have actively begun slowing down my artistic process and really getting to think about how I am going to execute my ideas previous to putting them to play--something that I want to continue practicing in the future. Contact paper is another one, a medium that has also been introduced to me through my image studies class to create these amazing positive and negative space murals within the basement of the arts building. After having used this material, I could recall having gone to museums and seen the same materials being part of art gallery exhibitions to decorate the walls and draw guests in.

All of this just reminds me of this artist's speech I went to watch just about three weeks ago. Her name was Yoshi Sakai, known for her soap-opera-style videos that she self-produces and plays all the parts to. In them, she depicts the social struggle of everyday life as well as the personal hardships that come with being an Asian-American woman having to fulfill this idea of "perfection." It is her ability to incorporate all of these aspects of life in an incredibly unique and absolutely hilarious way that makes them so amazing and what has allowed Yoshi to grow a large fan base around her skits.

One particular part that stood out to me during Yoshi's speech was when she mentioned that she actually used to focus on a more traditional art style until one of her professors told her that her art pieces would look really cool as a live, moving setting. This is something that Yoshi had never considered, but she took the advice and decided to make an at-home clip of herself at an amusement park and immediately found her passion for this form of art. Nowadays, she presents her videos in art gallery exhibitions and makes life-sized sculptures of the characters displayed within them. In this way, fans can interact with them and she is able to apply all of her wide range of art knowledge to display.

This speech has lingered in my mind ever since I attended it, particularly due to Yoshi's bravery to take the advice of her professor even though film was something that was completely out of her comfort zone. What Yoshi was doing here was taking all of her already learned artistic knowledge and adding her new medium to it to create something amazing. Learning how to go about filming, acting out all of the scenes and creating all of the costumes and settings for these videos is what allowed her to find the source of media that she feels most intrigued to create.

Oftentimes, I feel like as artists we tend to find one thing that we truly enjoy and begin to limit ourselves to simply that medium because well---it is what we know best. But how do you know you won't be just as passionate about other forms of art if you haven't yet tried them out? The instances that I have experienced lately as well as the one Yoshi described in her speech make me want to say that if you ever feel like you are no longer inspired by your usual form of media--or even if you are and you are curious over different ones, don't be afraid to try out something new. Continue to learn, watch Youtube videos, take art classes that you have been curious to try out even if they might intimidate you. I promise you, you will never regret it. It will simply be a step towards a potential newfound passion and will surely become a fun route to embark on within your artistic journey.

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