Artist Interview: Edwin Ushiro - Capturing What Still Glimmers
Jenn Bequio / GR: What is the inspiration behind this show, “Capturing What Still Glimmers”?
EU: Is there a specific moment or memory tied to the origins of this show? Well, I'm getting married this year and it seems like a moment in time where everything may change from here on. So it jump-started my thoughts on moments in the lives of others and my life where they or I made a decision or had a decision made for us that created a life changing direction.
GR: How has your upbringing influenced the setting of your works?
EU: My Dad is from Maui. My Mom is from Japan. So, as a result I had influences from both sides. I have a connection to the immigrants that came to Hawaii and those who stayed in the motherland.
GR: What is it about Hawaii that keeps you inspired?
EU: That although progress can change things to mask the past. Eventually, a string rises once again and re-connects us to our history.
GR: Hawaiian youth seems to be a common theme amongst your works, what is the significance behind this?
EU: This is a fascinating age. It's between the age where anything is believable and when you think you know it all.
GR: Is there a specific audience that you are creating for? If so, who?
EU: My wish is that I can be a little part in representing the people of Hawaii. Past and present. And if you visited the islands, I hope it offers you that magical feeling you felt on your first arrival.
GR: Looking through your works on your website (http://www.mrushiro.com/personal.html), there are specific stories tied to each piece that help the viewer understand the context behind it. Do you feel that the audience needs to know these narratives to fully appreciate your work?
EU: I hope not.
GR: Can you describe the thought process and technique you use to get from an idea to a finished product?
EU: Normally, an image will come to me fully formed. I keep that image in my head and try to figure out what it all means. I begin by locating what ignited the idea then track it to my youth. What did this idea or theme mean to me then and what does it mean to me today. Once I understand those layers I am able to complete the art-making process which starts with graphite and ink on vellum. My backgrounds are almost entirely produced by using watercolors and rendered over with graphite. Both of these traditional pieces are scanned and arranged in Photoshop where it allows me to see everything together for the first time. They are then printed on acetate where acrylic is applied to the front and back of the acetate to achieve the color and density of the subject matter. Upon completion of the painting process, I finish it by mounting the acetate to Plexiglas or Lucite to enhance the three dimensional effect.
GR: How did you come across this specialized technique and what about it do you like over other methods or mediums?
EU: It came from years of studying printmaking. It only makes sense to me that it appears this way.
GR: What is your favorite piece from this show and can you tell us why?
EU: The largest piece in the show is my favorite because it took many months to complete and a year to understand how to express the message in this painting.
GR: Do you feel like future works will focus on your current locale? Where do you think your artwork will take you next?
EU: Possibly. My current locale is documented in the work I produce in my sketchbook. If I intend to work chronologically, then my next body of work will take me to high school.
Edwin Ushiro and Andrew Hem