ART + FOLK visited Kiyoshi at his studio in USF, Bergen on a sunny morning. His studio is clearly and extension of his home and it is possible to see Kiyoshi’s personality and train of though on every crook and corner of the space. Kiyoshi, as his work, is bright, colorful and welcoming. He has always a warm cup of hand brewed coffee ready and space on his sofa for a good chat. He is super hard working, is generous with advice and feedback and has no fear of telling it as it is.
Kiyoshi is what I would say a crossover. He is a crossover within his art practice and a crossover within culture. Like a sponge, he has been absorbing bits of here and there and put them into practice, creating objects and projects that are not definable by a creative branch but by many.
Q&A with Kiyoshi Yamamoto
K: Kiyoshi, A+F: ART + FOLK
Photos by: Tove Lise Mossestad
A+F: Kiyoshi, what would you say is your artistic background?
K: Do you mean my education background? I have a BA and a MA from the former Bergen National Academy of arts and now The faculty from arts, music and design.
A+F: How would you describe your art practice?
I have problem describing my practice. I try to never exclude ideas or be too judgemental. As a very feminine man, I have always experienced discrimination or pre- judgement. So in my practice I make sure that I am including and not excluding.
What I mean is that my artistic practice is very close to my private personal life. Until now, I have to manage to separate both.
A+F: How does your cultural heritage play a role in your work? And how does living in Bergen contribute to that?
I do think that my multicultural background does influence on my work in many and different ways. It can be on the way I use colors or how I approach social surviving skills. I come from a immigrant family. People in my family are used to fast changing and to accepting prejudice. Those attributes may have influenced my work.
You mean working in Bergen? For sure I feel included here. Bergen is a perfect place for producing art. People are nice and everyone is helping each other. And the weather helps to keep me inside and produce more, reflect more and get more hunger for art making ;)
A+F: Tell me a bit about the artworks you have from other artists? How do you choose art you want to own? And, do you have a wishlist of works that you would like to have?
I don't have any special approach on how to I buy art, I get what I like. I have some prints from Rita Marhaug, Ingeborg Annie Lindahl, a sculpture from Kirsti Van Hoege and some ceramics from Kari Aasen. We have been exchanging art for a some time. I do also have two Original prints from Anni Albers that may be the most expensive thing I got in my life. But besides that, not so much more.
And I do have a large wishlist. And believe me is too long for posting here. Lets just say that almost every artist I know in Bergen is on this list. Unfortunately as an artist I don't have the financial situation to invest art. I do think that more people should be investing in Art. Its just that my situation is little different. But I love the idea of exchanging art between us artists. It feels so right ;)
- First image: living among the plants, sculpture by Kirsti Van Hoege
- Second image: plant pot by Kari Aasen, wooden bird by Lars Beller Fjetland, cups by Herdis Torsvik and plates by Anette Krogstad.
- Third image: among Kiyoshi's prints, sculptures, and tools, works by Rita Marhaug and Ingeborg Annie Lindhal
A+F: You recently moved to this amazing studio at USF, tell me about it, how do you feel having a larger studio in such a place influence your work and your ideas?
Yes I am happy and still dreaming. When I was student one of my professors, Kari Dyrdal, let me borrow her studio at USF during one month. And for me, it was unreal and impossible to have a working space there. It is a fantastic space, with a lot of creative people working every day and night. I am so humble to have the opportunity to work there.
I remember the first time I saw the studio. I almost cried. But since I had the landlord with me. I had to keep myself together.
USF is a place where some of my idols produce maybe my favorite works. People like Kari Aasen, Åse Ljones, Cato Løland, Maia Urstad, Anne Knutsen Signe Halle, Sissel Blystad, Ida Hansen, Line Hvoslef and many others have inspired me since I started at the art school in Bergen.
One of the works that i will present at CM7 is inspired by the corridors of USF. But I don’t want to say so much about that. You have to come to the show and experience by yourself.
A+F: Could you tell us how a typical work day looks like for you?
This is so hard. And can maybe sound like too much, but I don't have any typical routine. Let's say a typical month contains at least two trips to Oslo and one somewhere else. This month I was in Harstad for almost nine days and then one week in Trondheim. Those trips made it almost impossible to have a normal routine.
(Learning more Norwegian and singing have been my latest challenges.)
And the time I am in Bergen I have to be at my studio as much as possible. But between that I am doing some glass blowing somewhere else and testing new prints and inks in another friends studio. And producing all the other five projects that are going on at the same. And visiting a photo print studio to finish the works I will be showing at CM7!
And some sleeping as well.
Well I have no LIFE. But I enjoy every minute. I do appreciate the chance to be a 150% artist. But I do also know that everything can collapse and this reality goes back to be a dream.
I am not concerned about that, however I am aware of it.
Thank you so much Kiyoshi!
Kiyoshi's exhibition “...Stop right now thank you very much” will be opening this coming Friday 2nd of March in Bergen at the project space CM7 and will be showing until the 30th of March.