Meet a NYFA Artist: Takayo Seto

Meet a NYFA Artist: Takayo Seto

NYFA speaks with 2008 Painting Fellow Takayo Seto.

NYFA: Hi Takayo! Please tell us what are you working on and/or what’s coming up for you.

TS: I have been working on oil paintings for more than fifteen years. Early in 2009, I started to create digital drawings using Adobe Photoshop. I used to use Photoshop just to adjust the color of the scanned images of my paintings, and never thought that it would become a medium for producing work. Now I enjoy the process of creation while sitting in front of a computer instead of standing in front of easel, working with pixels instead of paints as a basic material. Digital works can be easily manipulated and presented in different media, and I am expecting to show them in various ways. Here is one my recent digital works attached here: At Work. I hope you enjoy it.

NYFA: What is your “cultural background” and how, if at all, does it affect your work?

TS: I grew up in Kanagawa, Japan. The cultural preferences, including those for particular colors and aesthetics, that the Japanese have been cultivating for centuries are certainly very powerful influences for me. Yet, I have never had any intention to create something “purely Japanese”. I remember once, in my studio, someone said my color works were very Japanese, and another time, someone said my paintings didn’t even have a hint of Japanese flavor. Don’t you think that’s interesting?

NYFA: Tell us your most memorable art experience growing up.

TS: I was taking calligraphy lessons when I was in an elementary school and I began to relearn it after I graduated from Trinity College. Then I continued studying until I got the Shihan (Master’s) license. In calligraphy, the intensity of color ranges widely from grey to black. In learning this, I think I became more sensitive to the subtleness of color, the power of line, the value of space, and the beauty of balance.

NYFA: What is an indulgence for you?

TS: I love to do nothing but read all day long in bed. Ideally it should be a very dark and cloudy day. If it were raining, it would be perfect!

NYFA: What are your goals as an artist for the next five years?

TS: I have been trying to show something essential, something in common to all of us in my art works. To realize this, I have also been working on myself, because I know that art works, like a mirror, reflect the values that the artists have. So I would like to see how much my works could be true to the audience. It would be my greatest pleasure if my work could enrich the lives of people in the world.

NYFA: What has encouraged you to keep working as an artist?

TS: I also ask myself this question. Why have I been here in Brooklyn working on my paintings alone all these years? Is it worth it to ask the financial support of my parents for this? Maybe I am out of my mind? Nevertheless, I have never stopped working on my creative activities since I decided to live as an artist. Why? This is probably because I strongly feel that being and working as an artist is my role in my life. It was truly my choice to become an artist, but yet at the same time, I always feel that something or somebody lead me in this direction.

NYFA: What role has the Fellowship played in your life?

TS: In 2008, I was honored to be selected as a painting fellow. This certainly gave me confidence as an artist and encouraged me to continue working with a full spirit. Thank you indeed for this recognition!

For more information on Takayo Seto, visit this website.

Amy Aronoff
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