#59: Yoshitomo Saito
Tokyo-born Yoshitomo Saito came to the States as a glass-blower in 1983, before moving on to work in bronze sculpture as a graduate student at the California College of the Arts. After leaving his mark in the Bay Area, where he is still a member of the artists stable at San Francisco's Haines Gallery, in 2006 he migrated to Colorado, where he casts beautiful, nature-inspired works in his foundry space at Ironton Studios. A world-class sculptor, Saito is not only a Denver treasure, but one with a sense of humor. Learn more from his 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Yoshitomo Saito: The idea of collaboration attracts me the least, really. The closest thing I would do might be to invite Django Reinhardt to my studio to let him play his music at his will while I'm sculpting. His smoke may get in my eyes, however, his music will be nutrition to my artistic stomach. And why not hire William Shakespeare to let him write my upcoming press releases? So the ladies and gentlemen at the fancy rose-garden museums would consider me as a cultured artist with some kind of social value.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Those theoretical physicists who are trying to describe the state of the entire universe with a single mathematical expression. People like John Schwarz, Michael Green, Edward Witten and Joseph Polchinski may be getting close to it. I would nod to the expression, which will be composed with many intricate symbols and mathematical syntaxes or syntheses, 'cause I consider it as the ultimate conceptual art in abstract outlook. I sincerely wish them luck.
Continue reading for more from Yoshitomo Saito. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
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Oh, no, I don't want to talk about death. I want to talk about life. But presumably when you visit MFA shows anywhere in this country, what you might see is a string of intellectually well-packaged visual presentations of one sort or another, as if our well-behaving boys and girls were getting MBA or something for quick social acceptance.
What's your day job?
I don't have a day job or night job or job while I'm sleeping except for dreaming. I'm just smoking cigarettes if not sculpting. I probably don't deserve any civilized job because I'm a badass.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I will donate 99 percent of the funds to the needy children, particularly to those who were mentally physically abused by their parents. Then I'd take 1 percent to enjoy the rest of my life, 'cause if it's unlimited, 1 percent is still a mind-boggling, unlimited amount, I assume.
Continue reading for more from Yoshitomo Saito. What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Just as in any other rural Midwest city, Denver's cultural scene is pretty much dominated by the taste of majority group politics. It should be less afraid of local minority artists getting their citizenship in the form of official recognitions. Otherwise real civic sophistication won't arrive here.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Artists who live and work like bacteria. Folks, you've got to notice that the cultural soil is being purified and nourished by them everyday!
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Continuously making sculpture in bronze to compose intellectual visual poetry of a Yoshi kind.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
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I have no idea. I'm not a follower of local art politics or a fortune-teller or a magical prophet. I'm just a little bohemian in RiNo. You know?
See work by Yoshitomo Saito in Introductions II: A Closer Look , on view at Michael Warren Contemporary through Saturday, September 6. Saito's Colorado Loops works are also on display outdoors through September 30 at the International Bridge in Vail Village. Learn more about Yoshitomo Saito online.
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