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Visual artist Kaori Takamura sits in front of one selection from her "American Quilt" series. Takamura will be in Park City on June 28 for an artist reception at the Meyer Gallery. (Photo courtesy of the Meyer Gallery)
Visual artist Kaori Takamura was born in Tokyo, Japan, and calls Carefree, Ariz., her home.

Her works are comprised of acrylic on canvas with machine stitching in selected colored threads, according to her artist statement.

She is a "graphic and packaging designer by trade, she balances the interrelationship between design and art through her explorations on canvas."

The Meyer Gallery, 305 Main St., will host a free artist reception for Takamura on Friday, June 28, during the Park City Gallery Association Gallery Stroll.

Takamura will be on hand to talk about her new work, "The American Quilt Series," which was inspired by her fascination with quilt making.

The artist was a little shy about a telephone interview with The Park Record and opted for an email interview instead.

Park Record: Why were you attracted to a career that was focused on visual presentations?

Kaori Takamura: I was a graphic/packaging designer for 20 years. When I was a graphic designer, one of my main jobs was to design the 'brand identities' for product lines or corporations. My job was to visualize their concept or stories into symbolic images. Throughout many projects, I was convinced that symbols are strong communication tools that can often influence people on a cultural level rather than being just a simple mark itself. It is like creating a face to show a product's or company's emotion. Ever since then I was always attracted by the reflection between symbols and the stories behind them.


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PR: When did you decide to use your skills for art?

KT: Although I was in the design field for a long time, I didn't have a chance to actually study painting. I took a class at a community college and learned some basic skills about 10 years ago. You can say that I am a self-taught artist.

PR: What were your goals for your artwork?

KT: When I was a graphic designer, I always felt that my goal was to satisfy the client. But I am now an artist and I am pretty much working for myself. Being an artist is like you are on a journey trying to find something important. My goal is unclear, but I feel like I have to find what it is. I often struggle searching, but little by little I feel I'm approaching my goal. I don't have a set goal that I can verbalize, but the important thing for me is not to go off my way and keep on going down my path.

PR: What inspired you to work with acrylic and colored thread?

KT: Thread has special meaning to me. Stitch-by-stitch American's have created quilts with all kinds of tangled everyday thoughts embedded in them and I believe that these thoughts resonate even now in our modern lives and culture. In the 'American Quilt' series, silkscreened images are combined with iconic traditional fabric patterns, embroidery patterns, lace vectors and such. Short words or calendar dates are also used to connect each piece with things or events reminiscent with daily modern life. The American Quilt series attempts to explore peoples' thoughts and feelings through the metaphorical 'stitching' together of the familiar symbols within the fabric of daily life experiences.

PR: Why did you want to explore the quilt motif?

KT: Quilt patterns are symbolic motifs in America that all people can relate with and when I studied them I discovered that each pattern has special meaning. The American Quilt series was created to honor the cultural status of these symbolic images. American quilt symbols were not just used by homemakers for nostalgic reasons, as these patterns were also believed to be used as a hidden code for freedom during the period of slavery in the U.S known as the 'Underground Railroad.'

PR: How long have you been working on the series?

KT: For the quilt series, two years.

PR: What was the biggest challenge for you when you created the series?

KT: How to set the boundary between art and artifact was a challenge. There are many wonderful quilts out there but I am an artist, not a quilter. I chose quilt patterns as an iconic motif in my paintings and use them as a metaphor for American culture.

PR: What was the rewarding factor that you felt after creating the series?

KT: When the series was completed and became widely acknowledged I felt that I had reached my next level as an artist. In other words, I felt that my work had deeply connected with people.

PR: How many works will be on display at the Meyer Gallery?

KT: For my coming show, there will be 10 large paintings and 8 small paintings.

PR: Will you be coming to Park City?

KT: I will be attending the opening on June 28th. I love Park City and I am hoping that I can come to visit more often.

The Meyer Gallery, 305 Main St., will host a free reception for artist Kaori Takamura on Friday, June 28, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. during the Park City Gallery Association's Gallery Stroll. For more information, visit www.meyergallery.com.