PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Dallas

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 82 of 95

to teach me." By this point, she knew she wanted to be an artist. When she was just one year old, she began drawing — and by four, she told her mother she was born to draw. Harada returned to Japan to study graphic design, Japanese fine art, and drawing at the Ochanomizu School of Fine Arts. Her fascination with flowers and nature — likely due to trips to the lush foothills at the base of Mount Fuji — is apparent, as she employs them in many of her motifs. Harada's hanging sculptures could be described as celestial gardens. The exquisite white structures, often dancing through the air, are painted with delicate flowers and patterns in vibrant pastels. Harada was once asked whether she would like to be considered a Japanese artist. "No," was her response. "As proud as I am to be a Japanese woman, I have never really tried to incorporate anything Japanese into my work. However, there is a very old-school part of me, which I owe to my mother. Japanese-ness is perhaps too ingrained in me for me to be fully aware of it." Kana Harada is represented by Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas and will have a solo exhibition at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont in 2020. Kristen Cole photographed at Forty Five Ten 73 It's impossible to separate Harada's sculpture from the physical space in which she creates. Her studio is obsessively organized. This is not the scene of clutter surrounding many artists, but rather a laboratory with an assortment of precise instruments. Harada works in a variety of mediums, but for her hanging sculpture and freestanding works, she often employs delicate paper or foam sheets, which she painstakingly cuts by hand with small scissors or razors to achieve the lines and shapes she desires. For her "White" series, the marshmallow-like texture of the foam creates an ethereal effect. In the case of her black 3-D suspended pieces, the mobiles' pliable nature is an interesting contrast to their hard, wrought-iron appearance. T he artist often wakes around 5:30 am, pours herself tea, has a light breakfast, and does yoga. Her mantra is "May peace prevail on earth," and she begins her practice with gratitude: "I thank my spiritual guides, Mother Nature, all my ancestors, and my late parents for waking me up, for giving me a new day, for my life." By 8 am, she is working. Numerous windows allow an inordinate amount of natural light. But at this early hour, she begins cutting under the soft glow of her table lamps. She skips lunch (the couple only eats two meals per day), but she will occasionally indulge in a midday spoonful of organic peanut butter with honey. After 5 pm, Harada goes for a therapeutic walk to clear the clutter from her mind. Until then, she avoids the distractions of the outside world and prefers not to break the flow of her studio time. During those urban hikes — she never wears headphones, instead absorbing the sounds of the world around her — she may continually recite her personal mantras. This, she says, is her way of "thanking the earth, concrete, trees, air, people, dogs, the sun, the moon, the clouds, the sky, and perhaps the awesome breads at Commissary." Harada has even been known to offer a moment of meditation to the panhandlers in her neighborhood. Many years ago, she instinctively felt for those in need and, like a reflex, began bowing — a Japanese custom of showing respect — before homeless people as her way of saying she was sorry for their plight. Many of those people she encountered now bow to her in return. H arada was born in Tokyo. Her family moved to the U.S. for a short period in the 1970s, when Harada was in middle school. "I never experienced bullying," she says. "I was the first Japanese girl many of my classmates had ever met, and they wanted Inspirational odds and ends inside Harada's studio

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - May 2019- Dallas