Henry Martin: What, if any, responsibility, do you feel as an artist, in what way, or toward whom?
Nishiki Sugawara-Beda: First and foremost, as an artist I am an individual with my unique origin and experiences. Conversely, as the audience brings their own unique experience and backgrounds, they view artwork with their own lenses. Through artwork, I am communicating with the public at large, especially those who walk up to the middle ground—where art is experienced—and to which I am expressing my vision as an artist and individual.
Sometimes, abstract forms work better to communicate with the audience—it reaches to the core of their hearts. The ambiguity eliminates various specifics that might limit the audience’s imagination and allows them to combine their own emotions and thoughts with the work. I feel responsible for creating works that are authentic to me as an artist as well as offering an entrance point to the viewers for their own journey of understanding and absorbing the works.
Henry Martin: Should an artist be in the world, looking out, or outside the world, looking in?
Nishiki Sugawara-Beda: I believe an artist should alternate between being in and out of the world. To communicate from core to core, an artist should look into her/himself. Because the core we share with all humans should reside within the artist’s self as well. However, simultaneously, the artist needs to take her/himself out of the situation in order to see the world more objectively without any bias or existing notions. Often times, an artist needs to be a transparent medium and an advocate to represent what is happening, can happen, and needs to happen in the world.
(Left to Right), Title: Gratitude Waku. Date: 2012. Dimensions: 15”x19” (38.1cm x 48.26cm), Media: watercolor, ink and acrylic on paper. / Title: Inaugural IV. Date: 2016. Dimensions: 22”x30” (55.88cm x 76.2cm). Materials: Simi-Ink and acrylic on paper mounted on wood.