visual arts

SPARKED: Aki Sasamoto, Professor of Sculpture

Mason Gross School artists discuss the elements that fuel their work

MIKE TYSON
I am fascinated with his life story.  The film Tyson (2008) proves his high EQ (emotional intelligence). Tyson is over the top. Balancing between loud actions and emotional insights is hard. My bumper sticker is “I heart Tyson.”

COOKING
Both art and cooking require improvisation of me, and I get to practice every day.

DEEP OCEAN CREATURES
I love the greediness of their eating style, and the mystery that is kept deep beneath the surface of the ocean. The ocean seems to be a romantic mixture of beauty and terror. Maybe someday I will make a piece about the deep ocean.

STRANGERS
I like to test out my performance materials on strangers I meet at bars or at open mics. People in the street are a brutally honest audience. I also like to take on a slightly different character when I travel, since that opens up parallel lives I am missing out on. For example, going out in business attire to a Tokyo bar would yield a different conversation from hanging out with concrete workers at an Austrian soccer game.

CORDYCEPS (a parasitic fungus)
An insect that hosts this parasitic fungus goes insane and travels far from its family to die, only to spread the cordyceps. The mushroom then grows upward and bursts out of the dead shell of the insect skin. The visual of life piercing through death is a good metaphor. Often I am affected by an incident and then seek a metaphor that describes it. 

HOLES
I fit myself in holes whenever possible. I dig holes in the ground, the wall, and sometimes upwards into the ceiling.  Holes are magical because I can disappear in them yet still be present in the space. Inside I feel comforted.

Posted February 2016