Earlier this year, I was accepted to participate in the JET programme. After what felt like an eon, I got my placement: Gunma prefecture. If you’re like me and don’t know a lot about Japan, you probably thought the same thing: “Where’s that?”
This was quickly followed by a google search and a fast and furious reading of the wikipedia page for Gunma. Capital city: Maebashi. A mountainous region once known for horsebreeding. It’s main economy is boostered by agriculture(konjacs and cabbages), silk farming, and car manufacturing.
I later found out that I would be placed in Takasaki city. A city famous for the Daruma doll.
My placement is not a big city like Tokyo, but more rural. As I am currently living in North Hollywood near LA, I’m definitely ready for a change of pace.
I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared. This is something I’ve been working towards since I was still in Italy trying to figure out how I could live and work abroad. Living abroad was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have ever had. I can’t wait to do it all over again.
I will be sure to set my goals and intentions in a following blog post.
I remember walking into a hallways with her giant paintings and immediately feeling overwhelmed with emotion.
Who is she?
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. (Via Wikipedia)
Why I love her:
I had never even heard of Kusama until I was visiting the Pompidou in Paris where they were exhibiting a retrospective of her artwork. I remember walking into a hallways with her giant paintings and immediately feeling overwhelmed with emotion. It’s hard to say what sort of emotion: somewhere between feeling small and lost in a colorful polka dot void. Rarely do I have such a visceral reaction to paintings, but that emotion has stuck with me for a long time. Her installations are equally powerful. She transforms spaces into a weird mind-bending alternate dimensions that displace the viewer (in a good way).
I really hope that someday I will be able to see her Infinity Mirror Room collection at the Broad in Los Angeles. When I went soon after the Broad’s opening, the wait time to go into the room was over 5 hours. Not going to lie, it made me very sad, but at the same time, I’m really glad that so many people will be introduced to this amazing artist. The Infinity Mirror Room is also a great place for people to take art selfies, which adds another layer and complexity to the public’s art appreciation. This is particularly interesting to me as Kusama’s work is about self-obliteration and very much anti-ego. This interplay of social media best virtual self and artwork with the opposite in mind is very intriguing to me.
I recently recommended places to visit in Florence and Rome to my future sister-in-law and I figured it would make a great blog post as well about people interested in visiting those locations.
Before we even get to the collection itself: the whole building is itself a masterpiece of architecture.
History | The Uffizi
Commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, the building, was conceived to house the “Uffizi”, the administrative and legal offices of Florence. The work was entrusted to artist Giorgio Vasari, who designed an edifice with a Doric column portico, in a style that was both elegant and severe, established “upon the river and almost in the air”. – Le Gallerie degli Uffizi website
Gli Uffizi is home to many famous historical art pieces and is the number one priority destination for any art lover or artist.