What a miserable day today has been.
LEGO by Marco Sodano
Illustrating the concept that all children are pure artisans when using the perennial construction toy, Sodano reimagines three classic paintings – Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Lady with an Ermine as well as Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl – in a pixelated rendering using LEGOs.
We all age, but not everyone gets a chance to do something like this.
The night softly falls over Bergen, Norway. (by Halvor Skurtveit)
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Also knonw as MNMRMT, Tokyo-based textile artist Mana Morimoto creates original and unique artwork. Sometimes creepy, always funny and magical, she uses the combination of the black and white images and the meditative process of hand-stitch to create fascinating and colorful compositions. Morimoto sat down to chat with Artchipel about her personal story, process and plans for future projects.
Artchipel: Who is Mana Morimoto? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mana Morimoto: My name is Mana Morimoto, 26 years old girl from Sapporo, Japan. I went to college in Portland, Oregon. I wish I had majored in Textile but I didn’t know what I wanted to study back then. I left the States and came back to Japan 2 years ago and moved to Tokyo this spring. I do embroidery on paper and am also learning to weave on a loom.
A: How has the embroidered art initially captured your attention? Do you remember your first piece?
MM: I’ve always been fond of geometric shapes as far as I can remember. I felt like everything in this world is woven. When I was back to Japan, I found a box full of embroidery threads while cleaning my room, and the idea came to me. I did my first embroidered work on paper last summer (see →). I wanted to find a way to collaborate with my friend Keren and decided to print out the work that she posted on Facebook to do something with it.
A: You use a mixture of black and white photography and colorful thread embroideries to create magical compositions. Could you share with us your process and how did you come to develop your aesthetic?
MM: I like the idea of using both digital and analog tool in my work; it can be a vintage photo, an image that I found on Google or a profile picture that I steal from my friend’s Facebook. I used to embroider on color images at first but realize that the embroidered threads go better on a black and white image. The color compositions become more three-dimension and vivid. So I decide to systematically change the color picture into black and white. I print it out on a thick paper and make a bunch of holes using a needle before stitching. I complete the process by scanning and uploading the final work on my Tumblr.
A: How would you describe your work and what do you aim to convey through it?
MM: I always have hard time describing my work; I simply love making thread beams come out of people’s eyes (laugh)! I would say that my work is pretty weird; it can be creepy and funny at the same time.
I started working with threads, because I was unhappy with my life and felt the urge to make something with my hands. My art is the therapy for me, I feel like having finally found something that I’m good at and that I want to carry on. It doesn’t mean that I’m always happy with the result, but the stitching and weaving process always makes me feel better. And if someone sees my work and finds something he/her can connect with, that’s amazing!
A: How do you feel about the way your work has progressed so far? How do you see it evolving in the future?
MM: Basically my recent works are pretty much the same as my first works, with a different printing method. Now I use the laser printing instead of inkjet to make a better print. Also I’m working on a bigger piece now. Most of my works are pretty small (A4 or smaller), and I wish to make bigger and crazier pieces in the future!
A: What is your source of inspiration?
MM: Everything I’ve seen/experienced and everyone I’ve met. I daydream a lot and have always a crazy imagination. It might sound weird, but maybe my head is my main source of inspiration (laugh).
A: What is your project for the coming year?
MM: I recently did my first commissioned work for a magazine (see →) with some embroidery typography and photo collage (see →). I never thought that one day I would actually get paid to do embroidery. It was quite challenging but also a lot of fun, and I’d love to work for a magazine again. At the same time, I’m planning my first solo exhibition at the beginning of next year! Also, this might sound random, but I really want to learn how to make stained glass, and I’ll get on it!