EK Interview: Fumi Nakamura

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - empty kingdom

Wow. I want Fumi Nakamura to blow up just so that I can beg her for another interview. Here are the answers she gifted us with, they’re as intriguing and provocative as her art. If Empty Kingdom was a church, I believe she could become an arch bishop at the very least. If you missed out on her EK feature, be sure to check it out (here).

★Tell us about yourself.
age 26, 5’00″(153 cm) tall, weigh 98 lb, never had a gold tooth, cavities, or broke a bone.
I have a deformed middle finger on my right hand from holding a pencil in the most retarded way ever.
Many people have told me I will break my arm one day and I think that’s pretty accurate.
I have a fat chinchilla named Basil Leaf Eriksson who was born the day before my birthday – we have joint birthday every year.
Born in Shizuoka, Japan. Lived half of my life there and other half in California.
Currently living in New York City working for an artist, doing freelance designs and illustrations, and do exhibitions for fun.
I am obsessed about collecting bird books.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★If you had the ability to transform into any animal, which animal would it be and why?
Probably a wolf.
I like the visual image of biting someone’s throat with those sharp teeth.
Also I believe their life style fits my life style.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★What artists do you count among your influences?
Mario Hugo / Adrian Ghenie / Aurel Schmidt / Charles Anaste / Kiyoshi Kuroda

★Are there any artists you’re currently excited about?
The most recent artists I got excited about are from the contributers for these installations : Recollection Quartett. It’s ridiculous how Mercedes Benz are involved.
The concepts are brilliant and very unique. Definitely made me think about doing a giant installation piece or make something in 3-dimensional.
I am terrible with names but I guess that’s what the internet is for.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★What trends do you see in your field?
Not sure (I haven’t really followed anything – at least in art / in my field)
but I would like to see more distorted/pixelated work in neon colors. Something ugly and disturbing.

★Did you go to school for art? If so, what was your area of focus?
I went to a state university in Northern California and it was a pure nightmare. I don’t really like talking about the experiences at there or 4 years of my life there in general but I did go for art.
I started off as an illustration/animation major but they were more concentrated in animation and I wasn’t interested in animation, so I switched my major to fine art.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★How did you develop your style?
It’s just became like that – many experiences/memories, feeling and thought formed into an image.
Visual collages ? That’s what I like to call it.

★What attracted you to graphite and color pencil?
I like the softness of pencil (6B pencil I love you) and delicate lines that pencils can do.
It’s a lot easier to control than paints and other materials.
I also like how I can carry them around everywhere.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★What is your artistic process from inception to execution?
Ponder / conversation / experiences / memory → visualize images in my head → sketches them out or write them out in a sketchbook → draw → draw → take a break → draw → look → think / take a break → draw some more → continue till I am satisfied.

★If there was one idea or emotion you want your art to convey, what is it?

★How would you like people to describe your career after you die?
Any made-up fake stories would be much appreciate it.

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★Care to talk about your most recent series, Our Hands Will Eventually Destroy Everything Beautiful?
This series is my developing process series from past two series “Himitsu” and “Shapeshifter.” To put those two series in short, Himitsu means “secret” in Japanese, where I wanted to portray hiding my emotions away and getting rid of promises and detach myself with others. Shapeshifter is a series on transformation – where I was experiencing some changes in my life (I graduated from college around that time and “trying” to become more adult. so called early 20s crisis). While those two series were being worked on, I had a mental break down. I couldn’t draw anything for half a year. I was chasing after unrealistic thoughts and hopes during that year. Then one day, something inside of me snapped. I came to realization I needed to stop this childish behaviors and keep putting myself down. Look at the brighter side and there are more to see in life! In order to do that, I needed to get rid of “problems” – it
includes beautiful memories of past with someone I’ve shared life with and the painful memories growing up (trauma). Since I was holding on to most of my past life too long in the wrong and the worst way. Most of them became grudges and regrets, and it was putting me down heavily and I felt like I was being eaten up by voids. I wanted to stop running away and in order to do that, I need to “destroy.” So I could survive and maintain pieces of my life together. I became honest, out-spoken and decided to cut all the things that were effecting my life negatively. Many people may think I am harsh, mean, insensitive and intense person, but I want to survive and do something I want to do (and I sure do have lots to do!). and really, who really cares about what others think of you, we don’t really have time to be worried about that. Others are others. You are you. I am me! Just be nice to the people you care and care about you. Only give enough that you can pass by. Either way, for me or to others, to maintain happiness and / or have a well balanced life, we all have to make a choice. Every choice contains some sort of consequences and we will hurt / be unfair to one another. Relationship and friendship are full of that. They can be beautiful and great but it’s complicated because human being perplex situations with emotions and thoughts. In the end, we are doing it for our own sakes. we are selfish and greedy, can’t deny that – eventually we will destroy something beautiful and precious for something greater.

★Where did the idea come from and how satisfied are you with the results?
Ideas are easy, I can keep writing down all these ideas I have in my head but to execute it (make a final product) right is hard. The problem comes from how I work/create the drawing. I do have hundreds of rough sketches and written stories (scribbles) in my sketchbook. From those sketches, I use some of them but the final drawings look and feel different. How work turns out depends on the days I work on them (we all feel, think and experience different things (almost) everyday day). I guess that’s why I like calling what I do a visual collages – I am creating collages in my head and draw it out. I work that way because the final results are always exciting that way and challenging. If I was making a clean version of an exact thing from a sketch, I would feel bored and tossing it aside because likely I am not feeling or thinking same thing the day I made that sketch. If I was happy that day, I will make something pleasant and I wouldn’t want to make something nice for my awful feeling day. It would be
dreading. Also sketches only takes 2-5 minutes. The final product usually takes between 1 – 4 months (well it takes longer these days because I’ve been working a lot). I like building things and making it more substantial. Love to make the meaning of the painting so heavy, so the viewers will feel almost uncomfortable. I think intensity is beautiful and I want to share my intense feelings and thoughts to others.

★What’s next for you? Where do you want to be in the next few years?
Lot’s of exciting upcoming events are happening right now – T-shirt designs, new miniminiaturemouse products, new publication contributions, several exhibitions, and new job!
In the next few years, I want to do make unique art books for myself and with others. Start making music and visual project?

art blog - Fumi Nakamura - Empty Kingdom

★What is the best time of day and why?
I always like 4:45-5:00 pm in Winter time. My great friend Mollie and I call it the “golden hour” where everything turns yellow-orange tone from sunsets.
But for working, I enjoy anytime between 11 pm to 3 am. Just thinking everyone is asleep and dreaming makes me relaxed and I can concentrate better to make drawings.

★What’s Japan like these days? How is it different or similar to New York?
I only gone back 5 times after I moved to the United States, so it has changed a lot. It actually changes every time I go back there – how scary. But also at the same time, I didn’t grow up there half of my life, it feels surreal to me. I learn and discover new things every time I go back.
However my hometown is still the same. Maybe saying the “same” is wrong because many things have disappeared. But mainly I think I feel different from leaving the small town AND the country.
I don’t see any similarity in New York with my hometown but maybe Tokyo.

Fumi’s site: http://miniminiaturemouse.com/