Meet Sonoma County Artist C.K. Itamura
In the vocabulary of art, when the subject of a work of art has more to do with thoughts and ideas than such things as landscapes or portraits, we refer to it as “conceptual art”. For C.K. Itamura, thoughts and ideas about social issues and personal idealism are the inspirations and subjects of her artwork.
As a conceptual artist, the ideas C.K wants to express come first. She then uses the processes, methods, and materials that will best convey the concept. For C.K. this often includes printmaking, photography, as well as a variety of other media. Most recently she has been working with paper, ink, packing tape, wire, polyvinyl chloride, and the written and spoken word.
While growing up San Francisco, C.K. was exposed to a wide range of cultural experiences, including lessons in various forms of dance, music, art, craft, and language. This diversity has greatly enriched her multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary approach to creating. C.K. says that “Looking intently at the present through the eyes of a keen observer, and visioning a time beyond my own, is very inspiring to me.” She is similarly inspired by the positive effects that experiencing creativity, and living creatively, can have on individuals and on the society as a whole.
C.K.’s art has a perfect balance of intellectual depth, knowledge of materials, and aesthetic awareness. The objects she creates are exquisite and finely crafted, which can be noted in two of her recent works.
A poignant piece titled Behavior, 2015, was inspired by an incident that involved a close friend being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, which led to a sanity hearing. This caused C.K. to question the definition of "normal", and thus decided that what is normal to one individual may not necessarily be seen as normal by others. “Behavior” gives visibility to the concept of how things are not always what they seem. At first glance the piece appears to be made of patterns for sewing, but at closer inspection are actually layers of brown tissue paper hand drawn upon with a Sharpie pen, cut out, and sealed with varnish.
Another piece, titled Ad, 2015, is a reflection on her experience of walking through a shopping mall and being visually assaulted by misleading signage and information geared toward getting everyone to purchase unessential merchandise. For this piece, which is made of paper, packing tape, and wire, C.K. used a letterpress to print each individual strip of paper by hand. The papers are hinged together with strapping tape directly onto a hand-bent wire hanger. Ad is constructed as a wearable dress with an alterable width and length.
C.K. has been living in Sonoma County for 15 years and says “that while I love the energy of the City, I have learned the most important lessons in silence by the sea, but also from the rural landscape of Sonoma County; where seasons are marked by times for planting, tending, harvest and rest, where time slows down—not too little and not too much—just enough to hear myself think.”
Currently C.K. is working on two upcoming solo exhibitions of her artwork. The first, “w|o|rdrobe” at Sebastopol Center for the Arts will be in 2016; and “SHADN” at The Spinster Sisters, in Santa Rosa, is scheduled for 2017. Her work can also be seen on a regular basis at Healdsburg Center for the Arts, and on her website, www.PeachFarmStudio.com.