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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Artist Interview: Masako Miki

Masako Miki   
Masako Miki is one of the artists chosen to design a utility box for the Streets Alive! project. Her utility box is located on Durant & Shattuck Avenue. For more of Masako's artwork, visit her at website at

Q: How did you find out about Streets Alive?

A: I received an email about the call for entries.

Q: What was the thought process behind your design?

A: My design is about this vision of an ideal place.  I wanted to use animals as subject matter since I often use deer as a motif in my work.  Also my sponsor has a beautiful dog,Muffin, and she became a part of the image.  The image suggests that animals, nature and technology can coexist in a peaceful environment.  It took a long time for me to come up with the design because the theme "Sustainability" is such a complex topic.  It can be dealt with in different aspects: economy, environment, or society.  After contemplation, I deiced to focus on the idea of place where there is a sense of equilibrium.  

Q: Do you have any particular views or experiences concerning environmental sustainability or public art within the Berkeley community?

A:  I think the Berkeley Community is very much aware of this important issue.  I think the residents of Berkeley are very proactive concerning the level of commitment necessary to create a sustainable society.  As a Berkeley resident, I try to be an informed consumer so that I can make small changes in my lifestyle.  I think that a lot of people here know that many small changes can create larger ones. 

Q: You have a unique art style with your use of bold and vibrant colors. How did you develop the artstyle you have today? What materials do you primarily work with?

A: I have been using bright colors in my work for a while.  I think that is my palette.  I seem to gravitate towards those bright, saturated colors.  In recent work, I’ve used those colors to contrast with the neutral colors of the deer motif to suggest spacial differences.  I want to create an image where illusion and flatness coexist.   I use gouache paint, acrylic paint and collage as my primary media.  Also, I use pen and ink, and experiment with other three-dimensional materials-most recently wool felt.  

Q: Are there any art projects you are pursuing right now? 

A: I just had a solo exhibition at Swarm Gallery this spring, and now I am preparing and researching for my next body of work.  I am planning to work with embroidery and printmaking.  Drawing is always a part of my work, especially during the initial problem-solving phase.   I am in several group shows this month: "Bay Area Currents 2012" at the Pro Arts Gallery, "Inaugural Exhibition" at the Transmission Gallery in Oakland, and "Beauty" at the Berkeley Art Center.  You can see my drawings, felt sculptures, and murals in these exhibitions. 

Masako Miki's work is being sponsored and donated by Diane Baker

 Masako Miki's utility box design.

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