Tomoko Nakazato narrates the emotive tales of human experiences through her animated ceramic sculptures. Tomoko’s love for all things cute, animation, and West coast funk ceramics is evident in her artwork, although the complexity of her vision and concept seem misfit, or even displaced, to be categorized in such terms.
Tomoko describes her life in the 21st century being profoundly defined by a sense of isolation; loss and being lost. “In a post modern world of globalization in U.S.A. and Japan, popular culture, materialism and consumerism are the leading moral and family values destroying the life and natural environment of this planet to the points of no return. I feel as if I exist in a world that seems to be in a constant state of flux. I am lost in an ever-morphing entity, which is full of blinking visual “pow!”, drips of fantastic plastic colors, and glossy gobs of melting patterns and symbols. Such visual ‘blings’ are all advocating for temporary, disposable, and instant gratifications. I indulge in such temporary sense of forever, but I am often left with a feeling of void and isolation, so brutal that nothing feels endearing and everlasting.”
There is a feeling of childlike playfulness, oddity, and enigma in her sculpture that her audience find familiar, but Tomoko delivers it with a cheek pinching sort of jaded mischievousness. The fragility of cute pretense gets mocked by crudeness or grossness which her artwork also presents in itself. This implosive self contradictions may be the delightful creative predicament of the materialistic world the artist exists, indulges, and finds herself trapped in. Clay is a material so malleable and recyclable, yet when fired, becomes ceramics that is solid, permanent, and fragile. She says, “I like working with the concept of contradicting yet coexisting natures of the material. What I create reflect on such contradictions and polarity of the reality. My sculptures are often innocently precarious, irrational in nature, and grossly jaded. It mirrors my metaphysical reactions to the predicament of today’s self and earth-destructive mass-consumerism.”
Tomoko grew up in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to San Francisco, California in 1996. A graduate of San Francisco State University MFA program, she’s received Artist Residency opportunities at Headland Center For the Arts, California, and Holualoa Foundation For arts and Culture, Hawaii. Although she has exhibited her artwork nation wide, Tomoko loves to remain in her clay “dungeon”, and enjoys a strong cup of English tea with milk in a company of her old cat.