Fujichia

Animal Year in L.A.

2022-09-13
HEAVY MANNERS / ANIMALS THAT MOST TEACHERS WOULD LIKE / ANIMALS THAT FEW TEACHERS WOULD LIKE / TEARING AT MY OWN CLOTHES / WHAT IS A PROJECT / TO LOVE THEM ALL / LINKS
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Big news! I'm going to LA (Los Angeles) early next month for a solo art show! it's going to be at Heavy Manners and it'll be a West Coast showing of my project "Animal Year". The opening is on October 6th and I would really love to see all my LA heads!

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Animal Year was a project I did in 2004 & 2005-- I made a stuffed animal every day for a year. I enjoyed the constraints involved- I made one every day, and couldn't go to sleep without making one. Then later I would post a picture to my website. Because of this strict time constraint, the stuffed animals run the gamut from classic well-made figures that anyone would like, to lazy excuses I made so I could get on with living my life. While I tried to make a good one every day, I recognized that I was the only true judge of what was "a good one", and that was freeing. They all vary quite a lot in quality and approach, but there's only a few that I would really call "not good". In time I came to realize that some of my favorite ones were the ones on the line between good and bad, or just on the other side of the line (the bad side). Generally I feel like if you're only making "regular good" stuff, you're probably not getting anywhere, but I guess that's another topic.

Making stuffed animals wasn't something I had done a lot before doing this project-- of course I had stuffed animals and I loved them, and I basically knew how to sew, but this path was chosen sort of arbitrarily. Sometimes it was really a trial-- there were times where I was sewing during a party, or at 3am after coming home from a music show, or when I was sad and depressed. There were times where I was away from home at the end of the night with no materials, and had to tear my own clothes in order to make something before falling asleep.

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At the time I didn't really think of this project as "a piece"-- I was dealing with the day to day experience of making a new one and didn't really think about a larger picture. I thought of it as an exercise in discipline, and as a reason to push myself creatively. I learned a lot about creativity, about making things, and about designing things, and I considered this to be the main result of the experience. I thought that the objects themselves were just things I made on the path. But a few years ago I took all the stuffed animals out of their boxes and looked at them, and I found the experience of looking at all of them at once really moving-- there were tributes here to good days and bad, sometimes literally cut from the same cloth, all given the same attention and respect. As with all stuffed animals, they were all animated by the desire to love and be loved. I expected that revisiting this material would be simply fun, to see a problem solved in a variety of ways. I mean it was fun. But it was also moving! I don't often respond with love to thoughts about every single day of my life, holding the day in my hand and saying "look at this little guy". I guess that's what's great about art, it tricks you into doing stuff like that. Hopefully others will have a similar experience (loving all of them). If not, I hope they have fun, and if they have a favorite, I hope that they tell me what it is.

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In addition to showing this collection I'll have some new stuffed animals that will be for sale at the event, little guys you can actually pick up and squeeze and even take home with you. I'll also be putting up some new ones online as well, starting next week. :)

OK, I'll probably be writing more about this in the weeks to come (questions / comments welcome), I just wanted to send out a quick save the date for now. If you're in L.A. I'd love to see you! Again the opening is October 6th at 7pm, and it's at Heavy Manners Library, in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles (California).

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