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Ayumi Takahashi

Contemporary artist, painter, illustrator, digital and textile design.

Given the fact that she was born into a Chinese family with an artistic side and having grown up in Japan since she was 13 years old, where she developed a fondness towards contemporary art and music for the first time, Ayumi’s decision to go to the United States and start her career at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California, made perfect sense with her background so far.

‘’ Contemporary art has always been in my blood. Not only all my parents’ friends were also artists, my best friends, the things I have been interested in, the things that surrounding me, the dreams I had… Everything was about art. So I think it was a natural, consequent decision for me to get serious about it.’’

Where does your inspiration come from when creating contemporary art?

“The bulk of my inspiration comes from old Japanese woodcut prints, ancient Chinese paintings, and also mix it with modern art and fashion elements. I also look for inspiration in photography, films, fashion, ancient art and pop culture.’’

Her mission to create modern art without limits – borderless-, is notable, and the multicultural essence of her persona, which reflects in her creation makes her stand out in the artistic world. Not only has she lived in China and Japan, but also in Thailand and England, which reasserts her opinion that for an artist, it is very important to see the world, to collect images, visions and concepts from each place…

‘’One of the advantages of having a multicultural bringing up, is that I get to travel to places, especially Asia, in a non-tourist way, with my American background. When I see new things, I do not only understand the visual and side of it, but also the culture imbedded in it. I don’t think contemporary art language is universal: it is extremely local-based and people understand style, color and subject matter differently based on their cultural background. I think just to be able to acknowledge this phenomenon, has influenced me when choosing subject matters, colors and the way I create or think.”

The “borderless” trend is coming strong in 2018. Although a sense of belongingness for what we feel as our own is a natural response to the introduction of the unknown or foreign, current globalization processes and developments such as access to connectivity and digital data languages have made possible to shop beyond borders. This has allowed global brands to have the leading role towards a global culture by demonstrating that their reach and comprehensiveness exceeds places of origin since “crossing borders” is the premise.

‘’Being an artist means to have all the freedom and also all the responsibilities in the world. It also means being honest to myself and my feelings.’’

What is the message you want to get across?

“I want people to have positive thoughts when they look at my work. I think contemporary art is very educative and influential. With this great power in my hands, I can’t help feeling the responsibility of the type of work I should make. Even if it only provides a positive feeling to people, it helps reminding them of all the good things about life, that’s pretty satisfying to me.”

Considering the effect that technology has had on contemporary art, Ayumi points out that her paintings and drawings have always been handmade up to now: “I do have great respect for technology; I have found myself being more accepting on how technology might actually change the art and the art market in the future. So I think knowing what is possible, and be open minded to new things might be very important. I am still exploring how I can expand my field to fit into the emerging market.’’

“By embracing new technologies and attracting more diverse audiences, we will continue to cement our status as a creative powerhouse in the digital age.” – Matt Hancock, Secretary of State of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (CDMS)

As she strongly believes that if we all contribute our best we can make a big difference in the world, she highlights the fact that the contemporary art industry has contributed to the change by accepting and welcoming different means of art and creativity: ‘’I see a lot of brands breaking boundaries and doing amazing things. And with the development of easy access of e-commerce being incorporated in website platforms, more and more small creative brands are rising as well.’’

A day in the life of an artist…

‘’I like waking up early in the morning and enjoying some alone time; I start with some coffee and I write a little (I have kept a journal since I was a second grader). Living in a hectic city like New York, makes it important for me to slow down and to analyze stuff and ideas coming to my head. Before I go to the studio where I work in my contemporary art till the evening, I do some Yoga or running, and I finish my day hanging out with some close friends, or reading or playing some piano.

‘’I see a lot of individuality and unique style happening right now, especially with smaller or the newly rising brands. Fashion has become something that does not aims for everybody, but for smaller and more specific groups of people who want to have unique styles.’’

Your advice for young entrepreneurs

‘’I think you just have to keep working hard, follow your honest creative mind and just stick to it. There is way too many artists or designers in the world, so it’s a tough battle to be in, but the longer you stay in it, you might get a chance to win. It’s very hard to be truly original these days because of the Internet, where you find other people doing similar things or imitating you, which is OK. It’s inevitable!

You just have to be the master of what you do!

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