Kazuki Takizawa
Glass Artist

Newsletter: September 12 – September 26, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
My name is Kazuki Takizawa, and I am an artist residing in Los Angeles, California. Most of my current body of work exists in the form of three-dimensional glass sculptures and installations. Although I don’t limit myself to just using glass, my affinity for the art of glassblowing keeps me coming back to the material to utilize it as a means of expression. My journey as an artist took a pivotal turn a few years ago when I decided to openly talk about my diagnosis of bipolar disorder through my work in hopes to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Part of what I do as an artist is to create a visual image of the intangible things. Some things I reference in my work are still considered taboo to talk about in many cultures today, such as suicide and depression, however, beauty in human emotion is almost always expressed.

How did you first become interested in art?
I first became serious about making art when I found out that it can be an outlet for my expression. Being born and raised in a bubble of Japanese community in Hong Kong, I’ve always felt a sense of isolation and had trouble communicating through language. When I flew to Hawaii to study glass art at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I found the joy of being able to really express my emotions. As a child, I always enjoyed drawing and making things with my hands, but it wasn’t until I tried shaping molten glass for the first time in Hawaii that I really decided to become an artist.

How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art?
Art has a unique way of affecting us all and engaging us as a community. I think the most powerful art is one that catches one’s attention and draws you in which is something I strive to make every day. Creating visually impactful work that draws people’s interest is the first step to making people feel like they want to learn more about the work. Art can also open up dialogues. I believe that a thoughtful, cohesive and powerful work of art can really stay in viewers memories and continue to affect us all.

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
One question I get asked frequently during my public speaking events is “Do you feel more creative as an artist when you are depressed or affected by your mental illness?” and my answer is no. I do think that I draw inspiration from feelings such as depression, pain, and struggle to make my work, but I need to stay healthy in order to be productive. In the past, I had an irrational fear that if I became mentally healthy, I wouldn’t be able to create powerful work, but when my depression is severe, I am most likely not producing work. So, I do everything I can to stay mentally healthy so I can be productive and be creative.

To find out more about Kazuki’s work, visit https://www.kazukitakizawa.com/