Art Crush 10. Risa Nishimori
It's been a while between Art Crushes, and not because we haven't been crushing we've just been a bit crazy since our trip to NYC, so since NYC is still on our minds (and in our hearts) we thought we would feature one of our new ceramic artists, Risa Nishimori who busily builds beautiful ceramic pieces from her New York studio.
Risa has developed her technique from years of training as a child into adulthood but also spent time in Japan learning traditional hand-building and throwing techniques. We couldn't wait to find out more about this beautiful 'Spanish pop' loving queen and what makes ceramic such a joy.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background in ceramics? We are very interested to hear about your wheel throwing training in Japan especially and how it's impacted on your technique.
My parents started the studio I work from back in 1994, so ceramics have been a big part of my life. I would go there when I was little and play with clay for hours on weekends (I used to make the best ceramic snakes!)
I went to study wheel throwing in Japan, since I would be taking over the studio and teaching classes, my parents thought it was best for me to learn properly.
I think the most valuable thing I learned is patience.
2. Living and creating in New York now, what would you say are some of the biggest differences from Japan?
This question is hard...!
I was born and raised in New York and only lived in Japan during my brief apprenticeship but the biggest difference-
I always feel like Japan is much more quiet and their ceramics reflect that, their muted esthetic never overpowers what it is used for its always a compliment (food, tea, ikebana)
But here I am with my wild colours which is my NYC style but I think the more simple colour patterns are the nudge of Japan telling me that simplicity is just a different kind of beauty.
3. Describe your studio space to us, what surrounds you and what do you like to be surrounded by?
The studio is a large rail road type 2000 square foot space in a old 5 floor building built in 1910. It has a lot of ceramics my parents made back when, and different artists that come to the studio to create.
I like being surrounded by finished pieces sitting quietly on the shelf. It's a little sad that it's not being used but I like that it creates dialogue for people to ask about clay bodies and glazes I have here.
They just demolished the building In front of my building so I get a ton of sunlight that I'm not used to, So seeing the sky in the daytime is a big win for me!
4. Do you listen to music while you're working? What is the ultimate ceramic creating playlist for you?
I stream classical music at the studio since it's not only my working space. But my guilty pleasure is playing Spanish pop music, I have no idea why...
5. We love the colours in your ceramic, is this thought out or more of an organic process you decide at the time?
Sometimes I will use the main colours I have and if I just start, I'll come up with something new.
Most of the times I use nature references, have you seen some tropical flowers out there?! The colours are wild!
6. What's the best part about what you do?
Several years before, I was teaching a much older crowd which being young, it made me insecure about my skill / teaching level. I had knowledge of ceramics but I don't think many people took me or ceramics seriously. :/
Now I see a lot more people that are really interested in the whole making and glazing process. I like that!
My studio gives me a chance to meet all kinds of people from different backgrounds that I wouldn't normal meet any other way. I've taught some people that have struggled through the awkward beginnings of ceramics, powered through the horrible beginnings and now they are budding ceramicists themselves ( that has to be the most satisfying for me!)
When I'm doing my own work I also get to create something that feels new. I personally like functional wares (cups especially) it makes me happy to imagine that morning coffee is enjoyed in one of my pieces, I've come a long way from snake making!
7. Finally, who's your Art Crush?
Ay! So many. But in ceramics Yusuke Aida and David pottinger.
You can see Risa's pieces here, get ready to fall in love.