Q & A with Machiko Motoi
How did you begin your career as an artist?
I always made things simply because I had the urge to. I never considered making a career as an artist, let alone that such a profession even existed. So my career began with the support of the institution and all the people I met through my practice.
Which artist/s have had an influence on you?
I believe that all humans are born an artist in one sense and I am constantly influenced by everybody around me. However, I would especially like to mention all my teachers at the National Art School as their influence on my work has been direct and the most recent.
What is your creative process like?
I just live. I find the creative process the same as the other daily activities that we engage in, such as making our bed, brushing our teeth and even breathing (making art just happens to be one of my two favourites. The other one is swimming.) So my creative process exist in my “living”.
Why did you choose your specific medium?
I think I am choosing to work with clay, because I love so much of the things entailed in the process of creating a ceramic object. I like the way the medium feels in my hands, I like its nature, I like learning the skills and the science of it, I like the people who are also drawn to the medium and/or the finished object. Furthermore, long history of pottery/ceramic is found in cultures all around the world and that fascinates me.
What drew you to performance art?
In 2014, I felt cramped drawing for hours using just my hands, so I pinned my paper high up on the wall where I would need to extend my arm and stand on my toes to make a mark on it. I remember how that sensation of stretching satisfied my urge, so I made more works on fabric that I stapled vertically from ceiling to the floor.
There was another work I presented at the end of the year, which was a written brief of an installation that involved me sitting in a bone structure of a cube and making wire objects inside the space. My teacher told me that it was a performance art and encouraged me to do it. I remember thinking how silly and pointless the idea was at the time, but when I did it in front of an audience, something felt *right* and I haven’t stopped performing since. So as much as I am aware, my performance art is the result of my urge to stimulate my bodily senses and learning that is has a place in the fine arts.
Can you please detail the underlying themes or ideas in your work?
My ceramics and performance are both the constitute of the audience, the time, the place as well as everything that happens in the preparation leading up to their presentation and also how the object and/or the experience live in the future.
Does the audience play a large part in your art making practice or is it more a personal process?
Everything involved in the art making holds equal importance to me; the audience, the sound, the weather, the accidental or non-accidental happenings, the space, my physical and mental condition, how the object and the memories live after their presentations are some of the parts that make up my work.
How do you feel people react to your work?
I feel that people are reacting to my work carefully. I see the audience hold my Little ones in their hands like they are tiny chicks and I see people holding my cups with two hands when they drink their tea out of it. During my performance, I notice the audience stop speaking or they begin to speak softly as they walk closer to my work. And those who didn’t realize my presence until they came right next to me have hesitated and fell silent as soon as they find a body in situ.
How has your style/practice changed over the years? If so who/what has brought about the change?
Yes, all my work is constantly changing as I develop new skills and technique in my craft. Also as I become subjected to new ideas and experience in life I find myself making works in different spirit.
How did winning the Youth Artist Initiative Emerging Artist Award impact upon you?
I am very humbled to receive this award as I have been making art out of sheer desperation all my life… It has definitely lead me to wondering about my art is. I am feeling extremely supported and encouraged to continue creating, and these emotions will no doubt hold me strong during my career. Furthermore, the money I received will help me purchase tools and materials to make new works this year, and it will also allow me to explore different ways to create artistic dialogues with the community. Thank you.
What has been your biggest career highlight/achievement?
There are a lot of physical, mental, and emotional “things” that easily distract me from focusing on my art practice that the highlight of my career so far has been in finding ways to gaining self-discipline.
How do you see your practice evolving in the future?
I would definitely like to engage with a wider community through art. Perhaps in a way that everyone can have a lot of fun or perhaps in an exciting way.
What drives you to continue to produce work?
My main drive is the urge I get to make. But to make good quality work, I need the support from the community.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
I’m going to focus on improving my skills in working with porcelain, and I am going to work hard to continue performing with honestly. I also plan to work with more people this year!