Monday, March 19, 2012

Hine Mizushima Dutchess of Dolls and All Things Craftsy

Ms. Mizushima works caught my eye a few times. Her sense of style when it comes to craft is hard surpass. Sometimes her work is  a bit playful or cheeky other times it might turn something gross into something cute. Sometimes it's just silly, but stylish. You can check out what I mean at either of her two sites here and here . Be it stop motion animation, works of felt or illustrations she's a multi-talented artist. Don't forget her Esty shop here, you can grab one of her um, Ectoplasms. I had the chance to interview her below about some of her work and her life.

Jonathan: I've been lucky to see your pieces at two excellent art shows in the LA area. How did you become part of the Super IAM8BIT Show and the Kamen Rider vs Super Sentai show?

Hine Mizushima: I've got an email from them asking me to contribute their show. I have been lucky enough to participate in some great shows. Actually I don't play video games at all, and didn't watch either of the Japanese hero shows on TV, so I was afraid that some big fans of games and shows might notice I was only pretending that I knew them..., like "Hey, she is fake!"

Your not a native speaker in English, but you live in Canada may I assume you speak French? Any other other languages?

Canadian people learn French at public schools, but they usually don't speak French, except in Quebec. I used to live in Paris and Rome, so I used to speak both languages, but I don't use them at all any more so I totally forgot them. I'm also the kind of person who easily forgets the plots of movies and books...

Your pieces "anatomical girls" seem a bit naughty which I like, why did you create them? Same for your "ectoplasm" pieces.

I was always fascinated by 60's educational scientific stuff such as anatomical charts, models and specimens in science classrooms and Natural History museums. I've even made/wore Anatomical Girl Halloween costumes twice before. One of them was 25 years ago or so. So making the Anatomical Females is quite natural for me.

The first appearance of my ectoplasm was 3 years ago, for a Kokeshi (Japanese traditional folklore wooden doll) art group show at a museum in LA. That was cat ectoplasm that appeared from a mouth of Kokeshi doll, which is completely opposite to conventional tastes, and I thought it's funny. Then last year when I decided on my theme, The Unnatural History Museum, for a needle felting show in NYC, I just wanted to use test tubes for my work, then I realized ectoplasm was perfect for them.

What is your process of doing a piece? Do you listen to music while doing it or plan it out on the computer?

I always have a thick spiral sketchbook on my desk, and I write down or draw any interesting ideas that pop into my head in the sketchbook with pencil. When I start to make a new piece, as a felt sculpture, I draw very simple doodle, without details, then start needle-felting the basic parts. Some very interesting details always come out while I am working on it. I don't listen to music when I brain storm ideas, but once I start to make something physically, I usually listen to music. It makes it easier to concentrate on my work.

Has Etsy helped you broaden your fan base?

I think so, and Flickr too.

Are you by chance inspired by Junko Mizuno's work, if not than who?

I actually recognized her work and name at the Kamen Rider vs Super Sentai show last year, and of course I love it! There are many artists/designers' work I love so much, but who are, at the same time, not particularly persons who I was inspired by. My dolls definitely inspired by Japanese retro pose-dolls, and girls' pictures from old Japanese coloring sets which I always loved when I was a little girl. And I have been influenced by art philosophy of They Might Be Giants. And of course Squids and octopi. That is true.

From your biography you seem to have traveled the world, any place you truly loved?

I used to live in Brooklyn too, and still love it there. The area I lived in was very artistic and there were a bunch of cool shops and restaurants there. And I think Paris is one of the most beautiful cities. The buildings, La Seine, the language...  For vacations, I love Italy (but not for living/working!), especially small old towns in the countryside. For living, I love Vancouver so far, because it's not too big, not crowded, not too expensive compared to other big cities (except house prices), lots of beautiful nature, not too cold/hot, people are very friendly, and there is great Asian food! (important)

What are some upcoming projects your working on?

I just finished 20 felt forest creatures for a group show at a gallery/shop in Osaka, Japan, and am starting to work on dolls for a group show in LA.

What are your hobbies other than your craft? Video games or anime perhaps?

I don't watch anime either. I create things almost all the time, but I also love the Internet (addict level. I love Twitter!), reading, taking photos, shopping & window shopping, listening to music, hanging out with my friends and family, and going to affordable but great local restaurants.

Have you been to LA if so, favorite place , if not what would you like to see here?

I've never been in LA and don't know what there is there. I absolutely would love to visit there in the future. Any recommendations of museums/galleries in LA?

There's so many galleries and museums to check out, they just renovated the Natural History Museum with huge new dinosaur skeletons, and right next door is the Science Center with a giant anatomical woman robot that you might really enjoy. Just walking around Culver's City art district would fill you up with art galleries quota, but then there'd be so many more to visit around the city.