About

Artist Statement

I depict cartoon-like characters in my imaginary candy colored pop and fantasy world inspired by manga (comic books) through the use of sand painting known as Sunae in Japanese.

Sunae is comprised of brightly colored fine grain sand on adhesive paper, which can grow into installations. Although the process requires patience and precision, it evokes a childlike playfulness and joy within myself, which I hope to share with my audience.

Some of my characters are quite whimsical. I imagine myself visiting their worlds and observing their daily lives. The characters usually show no emotion. This enables viewers to project their own emotional response. I also wish to portray the characters as living lives with a quiet attitude of sincerity and earnestness.

Through humorous depictions of such characters, both endearing and at times awkward, everyday life is expressed, giving meaning to “live in the present moment”.

After having a serious accident in 2012, I promised myself to “live life with a sense of purpose and appreciate every moment”.The characters in my work embody this sentiment. The accident and my artistic practice have allowed me to adopt a more positive attitude towards life and gain the courage to take on new challenges, motivating me to move to Los Angeles in 2014.

I hope that my work inspires people to embrace their daily lives and face difficulties with a sense of humor and optimism.

Biography

Naoshi was born in Iwate, Japan, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She works with the medium of sand art known as Sunae in Japanese. Using brightly colored, shiny grains of sand, she visualizes a fantastical world of her own, imbued with a sense of nostalgia.

Naoshi began her career as a Sunae artist in 2004 in Japan, and since 2007 she has exhibited her work internationally in the U.S.A, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, China, Korea, and Taiwan. Recent exhibitions include Hey! Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk (2016) at the Queens Museum in New York, Small Gift Los Angeles: SANRIO 50th Anniversary Exhibition (2010) at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles, and URBAN SUPERSTAR Show (2009) at The Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE) in Naples, Italy. In 2015, Overcup Press published Naoshi's illustrated book ICE CREAM WORK, which was inspired by an artwork she drew at age 7 titled Ice Cream Walked.

For Naoshi, Sunae is a visual tool to express unique worldviews. In addition to creating her own artworks, Naoshi makes Sunae kits, which are available to the public, and runs workshops in the hope of sharing the joy of using this expressive art form.

Selected Group Exhibitions

Awards

  • AI-AP AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION29: Chosen
  • CWC CHANCE: Finalist