• What’s a Zine? Come Find Out.

    I recently wrote about my love of books in their ability to communicate ideas and incite action. The process of writing and making books also connects people around a specific goal. A large part of why I make art is to participate in these communities to elevate the human experience.  And that’s why I love ZINES!  In addition to making my own books, I also submit my art and comics to the zine: Come Find Out. Here’s one of my favorite pages from the recent installment of Come Find Out: Hairzine.

    J_Sayuri_Art_Zines_Blog_2

    For anyone who isn’t familiar with what zines are, here’s the Wikipedia definition:

    “A zine (/ˈzn/ ZEEN; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.

    A popular definition includes that circulation must be 1,000 or fewer, although in practice the majority are produced in editions of less than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. They are informed by anarchopunk and DIY ethos.

    Zines are written in a variety of formats, from desktop published text to comics to handwritten text (an example being the hardcore punk zine Cometbus). Print remains the most popular zine format, usually photocopied with a small circulation. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, riot grrrl and intersectional feminism, single topic obsession, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by revenue from sale of zines.”

    Or maybe better yet, listen to this by Los Angeles’ KCRW:

    When I was studying art in northern California, I met two zany girls who make zines and founded Come Find Out: Anjelica Colliard and Kelsey Westphal.

    Kelsey Westphal and the left and Anjelica Colliard on the right

    Kelsey Westphal on the left and Anjelica Colliard on the right

    Collaboration can be a scary topic for artists, but great things happen when small groups of people put their heads together to realize a project.  I think the success of Come Find Out, comes from Anjelica and Kelsey’s ability to bring their friends together and make them excited to contribute their work — no matter how crazy or open-ended. I’ve submitted and published my work to two of their zines: True Life Stories and Hairzine.

    At a fundamental level, I love the idea of zines because they represent self-publishing and creative individualism at their finest. Cut the middle men! Get your voice out there! Make your own books!

    Stay tuned for a interview with these two ladies and their vision for the future of Come Find Out.

  • Harmonographics Public Art Installation

    I enjoy public art that requires thought and action based on the observer, the kind of art that awakens playfulness and sparks a desire for adventure — the kind that whispers rather than shouts.  I want to embark on a public art project that involves my harmonographs books beginning their lives in the Los Angeles Central Library.

    The LA Central Library...a beautiful and quiet asylum for artist, writers and readers alike! Photo cred goes to Kremer Johnson. Thanks Neil!

    The LA Central Library. Photo credit goes to Kremer/Johnson. Thanks Neil!

    I have an avid fascination with the power of the written word in its ability to disseminate ideas and incite action.  I suppose I am as much a bibliophile as I am an artist.  And it only seem natural that I would gravitate towards the public library – a haven for books and book lovers. I spent many recent months at public libraries where I spent long hours reading, writing and chatting with the librarians and library patrons.

    In my last post, I wrote about my harmonograph art and my little book that I bound. I originally made this book just for myself but after months, I realized that my initial goal was selfish and perhaps a tad narrow minded.  A few weeks ago, I realized that I need to do something with my book, that it needs to move.

    Some words that come to mind when I think about this project are: collectibility, scavenger hunt, message-in-a-bottle, game. I love the idea of my books disguising themselves as library books and a secret community of people who have my books.  I also like the thought that anyone could pick up my book and do anything with it. I’m going to try to create engagement, but we’ll see what happens.

    Essentially, I want to the books to move…to people’s homes, their friends, other parts of the library, other countries. I want people to interact with these these books and have the authority to do what they will – but my hope is that I create engagement and at least a brief discussion about the nature of harmony in the Universe.J_Sayuri_Art_Harmonographics_Artist_Statement_Blog_2

    STEP 1: Make 12 books

    This will be the most time consuming part of my project because I have to print, organize, fold, stitch and glue all books.  Each book will be a little different, but they will all be picture books of my harmonograph art.  I want to include the following in my books – artist statement and a handwritten note about why I placed the book in that specific location

    STEP 2: ‘Hide’ the books in different parts of the library

    The visualization of harmony and the harmonic process is the crux of my Harmongraphics art project. With the idea of harmony in mind, I want to hide my books in the genre sections that remind me that harmony exists in the Universe.  Conversely, I also want to hide my books in the sections where I think harmony can be better integrated into that discipline or genre.

    I plan to insert a handwritten note in each book about how harmony exists or how harmony can be integrated.  I will probably do a reconnaissance mission into the depths of the LA Central Library to explore opportunities in book placement. There are about 19 sections and 8 floors at the Los Angeles Central Library and I want to be mindful of the places where I place my harmonograph books.

    STEP 3: Wait

    After I leave my precious books in the Central Library, there’s really not much I can do but wait. For what? I’m not sure. But I will be mindful that the pendulums of harmony will sway as they always do.

  • Harmonographs and the Art of Bookbinding

    About a six months ago, I made a harmonograph and started making my harmonograph art which I’ve been calling ‘Harmonographics‘ If you don’t know what a harmonograph is, then read this Wikipedia article about harmonographs. I actually made two harmonographs – one has two pendulums (rotary and lateral) and the other has three pendulums (rotary and two laterals).

    Harmonographics

    Wow, I just wrote Harmonograph or some variant 7 times.

    Moving on. In my process of watercolor painting and understanding how to create different patterns using my harmonograph, I created about a hundred different harmonographic designs.  You can see some of them here, but the majority of them live in a box under my bed and on my laptop.

    Around this time, I also started developing a deep interest in bookbinding which is a dying art with the rise of e-books. (Just as a disclaimer: I have NO issue with e-books. I know this can be a point of contention with literature buffs) In the process of teaching myself bookbinding, I learned about pH neutral glue, the benefits of using a bone folder versus my thumb, coptic stitching techniques and how to make a hard cover.

    So, after collecting my materials and tools I made my first book! A sketchbook.

    Bookbinding is really fun. And so is designing the covers!

    Pretty cool, huh? Scott and I use this book to jot down our ideas and draw weird things.  Here’s a page we drew a few days ago.  My drawing is on the right and Scott’s is on the left.

    These two pages are inspired by Scott's realization that foot rubs are actually pretty nice.

    Although this was a fun little project, I wanted to learn more about making a bigger and sturdier book to collect all the harmonographic designs that I was proud of.

    This was my first large scale book layout job, so after multiple rounds of scanning and digitally laying out the harmonographics, I created my first printed book! Stitched and all.

    Here’s an image of the book before I stitched and glued it together.

    J_Sayuri_Art_Harmonographics_Bookbinding_Blog

    I initially made this book for myself to flip through the designs that I created but recently I’ve been giving thought to embarking on a public art journey to release these designs into the world.

    I’ve got to work on a game plan and will write about it in a future post. Stay tuned!

  • 9 Lessons in 3D Printing

    I am a huge 3D printing and maker enthusiast. 3D printing has revolutionized the way I create my artwork and has fundamentally expanded my artistic process.  In July 2012, I inherited my Makerbot Replicator 1 and have mainly used it to create prototypes of robot toys and gears. (The gear heart is awesome and makes a great gift too!)

    If you’re new to 3D printing or just want to know what 3D printing entails, then here’s a good place to start: Imagine a laser inkjet printer. Now imagine if that printer had a z-axis. So instead of creating a single layer of ink, 3D printers build up layers of material to create a three dimensional object.

    The technology behind 3D printing has come a long way the the short amount of time that it has arrived in the consumer market and is fundamentally changing core industries like manufacturing and health.  Here’s my list of 9 lessons that I’ve learned from using my Makerbot Replicator 1. Enjoy!

    3D printed man says 'Give J. Sayuri money!'... Art Supplies are expensive.

    3D printed man lives in my tip jar.

    1. EVERY 3D Printer is unique

    No, not just by the kind of printer aka, Makerbot, Bukobot, Ultimaker, etc., but by the individual printer! It took me six months to learn the kinks of my machine. Only after the six months that the problems that I was having with my machine were fairly unique to my machine.

    That’s just new technology for ya!

    2. Go to Hackerspaces and Makerspaces!

    Taking the time to drive out to hackerspaces and makerspaces are a great way to learn about 3D printing technology and what people are printing. I’ve also found that I’ve learned about various ancillary technologies like laser engraving and kinect hacking (see #7)

    Although there are a lot of neat places on the west side of Los Angeles, ie Silicon Beach, I’ve also been able to find places in Pasadena like Deezmakers and enjoy the intelligent conversations at CalTech’s Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

    3. Run the ABS filament hot and fast

    Learned this at Deezmakers. Bam. Go to hackerspaces.

    Check out my sexy 3D lady!

    4. Accept Constant Change (Level the Build Plate. Level the Build Plate. Level the Build Plate)

    I was going to make #4 about always making sure to level the build plate only to learn that the newer models of Makerbot level themselves. This really shows that things are constantly changing in the 3D printing world. So make sure to stay on top of the latest news and trends in 3D printing. It’s really fascinating stuff.

    By the way, leveling the build plate on a Makerbot Replicator 1 is an art.

    5. Look at Thingiverse.com

    GREATEST. SITE. EVER. This is opensource community sharing at it’s finest, up there with Instructables. This is a site where people from all over the world upload their 3D models, show off their prints and push 3D technology as far as it can go. I particularly like the remix function where you can change up someone’s pre-existing design.

    I’ve been wanting to make the cube gear a teeth cube gear. Cool, right?

    Gotta make this!

    6. Learn about the guts of your machine

    I honestly thought magic and fairy juice were powering my machine before I had an issue with my thermocouple not being able to read my nozzle temperature. Man, was I surprised when I removed the bottom wooden panel to reveal the Rep 1’s wiring and PCB board (Mighty Board).

    It’s absolutely important to have at the very least a basic understanding of the electronic components that power whatever machine you use.  Deezmakers has an interesting philosophy about consumer grade 3D printing. Unlike Makerbot, which promotes their machines as out-of-the-box ready (not true), the engineers at Deezmakers understand that 3D printing isn’t quite there yet in terms of user friendliness.

    So open up your machine! Learn about PCBs! There are tons of tutorials and forums online for 3D printing newbies like you!

    7. Hack a Kinect

    Don’t have the time or energy to learn Z-Brush? Frustrated by the rigidity of Sketchup? Just hack a Kinect. It’s so easy a 14- year old can do it!

    Although I love Thingiverse and the amazing variety of downloadable items and clever categories they offer, sometimes I need to print an item that I created.The idea is that if there exists 3D printing, then why not have 3D scanning. That’s where the Kinect hack falls into place.

    By hacking a kinect, you can essentially scan any unique item and create a printable 3D model with it.  Try it out and let me know how it goes!

    8. Watch your print

    Because there’s nothing worse that starting a 5 hour print and coming back to a hot mess of plastic and tears.

    There are new ways people are working around this. Video camera integration is a game changer in 3D printing. I believe that the new models of Makerbot have video cameras and can send you a text if there’s an error or when your print is done. Pretty fascinating stuff!

    9. Take a Chill Pill

    Uhhhh…I’m working on this one.

    Consumer grade 3D printing is still in its beginning stages so working with a printer can be frustrating.  My advice is DON’T GIVE UP!  I have a love/hate relationship with my machine but I know that as the technology advances we’ll get along better.

  • Travels in Japan

    Every summer, I have the immense pleasure of staying with my Japanese family in a sleepy little Tokyo suburb called, Nishi-Oojima. Our summer vacations in Tokyo are lazy family affairs where we spend our days walking by the river, shopping at crowded train stations and eating delectable Japanese goodies (I need to spend another post about the food). And for better or worse, my mother, father and two younger sisters are forced to spend every waking moment together.

    J_Sayuri_Art_Blog_Japan

    This trip was different. In a good way. No vicious sibling rivalries broke out. No one vowed not to speak to any one ever again. In a word, this trip was pleasant. I think it might have been because we are now older or maybe it’s because I’ve made a conscious effort to be less reactive. In any case, this was the first summer in which I felt completely comforted by being with my family and curious about their lives.

    J_Sayuri_Art_Japan_Blog_2

    I found my mother on the second story of my grandparent’s house, hanging laundry out to dry off the balcony. Seeing my mother in a place so perfectly Japanese, I realized that I never had a full picture of why she moved to the United States in the first place. She was the only one out of her family to immigrate to America and I only got snippets of her motivation to leave Japan.

    ‘Everyone wanted to go to the United States and Japan wasn’t nice back then,’ she said as a she sipped a glass of cold beer on the second floor on my grandparent’s house.  So in the late 1970s, my mother signed up to go to a language center in Seattle, passed the English test and was off to Los Angeles where she met my father three years later.

    My mother wasn’t like the other Japanese girls. She was rebellious and sought comfort in a world beyond Japan. I remember she told the story of how she got into trouble in high school because she permed her hair and painted her nails once. ‘That would never happen in the U.S.,’ she said with a touch of resentment in her voice.

    My mother became a United States citizen a few years ago. Regardless, every time we land in Narita I see her eyes relax to the familiar sights of skyscrapers and brilliant green rice fields and her breath slow to catch the savory smells of Japanese street food.

    Although at times I feel like my mother and I are from completely different planets I respect her bravery to leave Japan and her mindfulness to appreciate her homeland.