Artist Sayaka Ganz was born in Japan and grew up living in Japan, Brazil, and Hong Kong. After earning a BFA and a MFA, she worked as a college instructor for drawing and design. Sayaka has also forged a successful career showing and selling her welded sculptures that are generally made from metal, plastic and found objects. She has exhibited her art all over the world and has pieces on permanent display at the Monerey Bay Aquarium in California and the Exploration Tower in Florida. Recently, Sayaka spoke about her experiences working as an artist.

Early inspirations

Blasting News (BN): How did you become an artist?

Sayaka Ganz (SG): Even as a child I loved to draw and make things with my hands. I never really made a conscious decision to become a professional artist. When I sold my first piece that was a small step in this direction, when I started making more art and making a conscious effort to sell my work that was a larger step; when I quit my teaching job that was also another big step.

BN: Growing up, what art interested you?

SG: I was impressed by photo realistic paintings and kinetic art, or objects with movable parts.

BN: How would you describe your work?

SG: I call my style 3D Impressionism. I use plastic forms as brush strokes to define larger forms and movement. My mother was a big influence since I grew up playing with scrap materials from her various hobbies which included weaving, leather craft, crochet and sewing. We moved a lot when I was young so I see myself as a collection of bits and pieces of cultural identities.

Marcel Duchamp, Chuck Close, Deborah Butterfield, Lee Bontecou, Aurora Robson and Jean Shin inspire me.

Current musings

BN: How did you find places to show your work?

SG: I entered my artwork into many juried exhibitions.

BN: Do you have a favorite piece?

SG: Yes, “Emergence," the pair of horses galloping out of a wall. They embody the best use of plastic objects. The powerful forward surge of energy work very well with curvilinear kitchen utensils to create "brush strokes" that express sense of motion.

I used to take riding lessons when I was young and I remember the feel of the wind against my face when we galloped. It makes me imagine what it must feel like to be a horse and run free.

BN: What are your mediums of choice?

SG: I work with reclaimed plastic objects that are from thrift shops and/or donated. I mostly select long curvilinear forms of all colors. I occasionally collect with a specific project in mind but I simultaneously gather everything I can potentially use in the future when I shop for current projects. I have a large collection of about 50 bins of plastics sorted by color! I want to explore glass as a medium soon too.

BN: How did you develop your style?

SG: Trial and error. Early on, I figured out that I needed to start with strong support structures--such as putting the body before the head--and not add any plastic pieces until the metal core was completely secure.

Future projects

BN: What has been the most rewarding experience being an artist?

SG: Any time I can help someone experience awe and/or beauty is very rewarding; it allows our hearts to open to the world a little bit more.

BN: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

SG: Get to know yourself really well and keep your focus on what you love to create and how it makes you feel.

Keep that channel open, and let it guide you when you need to change your practice or your daily routine.

BN: Are there any upcoming events that you want to mention?

SG: I have an exhibition at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, MI, from November 19, 2016 through March 19, 2017. The title of the exhibition is "Luminescence: From Salvage to Seascape, Sculpture by Sayaka Ganz" and it is a coral reef installation with jellyfish, betta, kelp and bubbles--many of them lit from within with LEDs to create a mysterious and beautiful underwater scene!

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