Highlights: Jacob Hashimoto
Jacob Hashimoto (BFA 1996), installation image from super-elastic collisions (origins, and distant derivations). Rhona Hoffman Gallery, September 14–October 20, 2012, acrylic, bamboo, wood, thread, and nylon. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Interview with Jacob Hashimoto
What sparked your interest in creating paper kites? Can you talk about your relationship with your Japanese heritage and the artistic practices within?
Funny enough, I originally started building kites to fly in Grant Park when I was an SAIC student. I don’t think that the process was consciously based in my ethnic heritage, but I imagine there's some kind of connection. Thinking about it over the years, I remember that my father used to fly kites when we lived in Idaho. My father apparently learned the craft from his father. They used to steal chopsticks from the kitchen, split them, and build kites from them. Alternatively, I ended up teaching myself to build kites from books and repetition.
Repetition seems to be an important element in your work. Can you talk about the process of making thousands of individual objects? Is it daunting, meditative, or something else entirely?
I think that it is both daunting and meditative...but more than anything, it's just a lot of tedium and toil. Early on, I think that the challenge of building some mad number of objects was a significant driving factor in my pursuit of these kinds of projects, but as my practice developed, I think that the toil has become something to which I'm pretty resigned. I try not to dwell on it too much. That said, I think that the process of building hundreds or thousands of anything is tough psychologically and it has taken years to shift my mind into the place where I can work for weeks on a single task without getting depressed or crazy. I suppose that’s some kind of meditation—a meditation born out of necessity to the fruition of the process.
You live in Brooklyn; you are from a small town; and you studied in Chicago. Has geography affected your work?
While I was born in Greeley, Colorado, I grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, which is a small town at the base of a little mountain range. I think that nature, as pursued in my work, is generated by nostalgic longing that separates youth from adulthood—the urban fetishization of the bucolic.
What types of projects are you currently working on?
As we just finished with Basel Miami, I'm working on next year’s shows. After those projects, I'm coming back to install a large sculpture commissioned as part of the federal government's Art in Architecture program.