I was a bit nervous beforehand. You are always stripped bare as an artist when you invite people to see your work. This was my first exhibition outside of the US and I wouldn't have my New York crowd. There is comfort in the old familiar faces. You chat, have a few drinks, laugh, forget that you are in a gallery and your art is hanging on the wall. Most of my friends in Kyoto had never seen my work before. How would they react?
The opening was a success. It was well attended, more people than I expected. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. And everyone seemed to like my paintings.
The Japanese view art so differently than Americans; they really look at it, spend time with it. I had friends reject my offer for a beverage because they didn't want any distractions from the paintings, they wanted to go through the show first, piece by piece.
The Japanese are also very gracious. People were thanking me for sharing my art with them, for inviting them to the opening. People brought me flowers and sweets. No one left without saying goodbye, and most people wanted a photo with me. These things do not happen in New York.
Perhaps the most interesting experience, for me, was my inability to communicate anything verbally. Your work really has to do the talking for you when you get outside your native country. There is no embellishing or camouflaging the exhibition with bullshit. "Well, let me tell you about this piece...blah-blah-blah..." All these people came to see my art and all I could say was "arigato". Funny.
|Emiko and I|
|Gallery director Okamoto-san, owner Junichi Uchiyama, their daughter Koyumi and I|
|Koyumi and I|
|Artist Komori Fumio, Natsumi, Taka and I|
|Akane and I|
|Andre, his wife and I|
|Sage, his wife, their two friends and I|
|Lee, Manuela and I|
|Natsumi and I|