The Heroine’s Journey of Sophia Chizuco

What is the best thing that I love about my work? When I could draw perfect line what I wanted. And when I could make a color that I wanted.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? When I finish the piece that became more than I expected.

What is my greatest fear? If I loose the time, space and money for art. We don’t know what will be happen the next moment. I am afraid to think about the future.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I care about small tiny thing and waste time for that.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Larry Poons ( He was my instructor at The Art Students League of New York. He just does art without caring about money or critique.

What is my greatest extravagance? I spent most of money for art materials and also collecting art. My art teacher in Japan, Mr. Tadashi Tsubouchi, his piece was the most I have spent on.

On what occasion would I lie? My biggest lie was when I decided to go to NY from Japan in 2000. I knew my mother was very difficult to allow me to go. I told her “ I need to pick up something in NY.” After a week, she called me “Where are you?” “Still in NY and Actually I will stay in NY.” Hahaha. But otherwise it was almost impossible to get out from Japan.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? My studio space is pretty small. So I have to move things around to make a space even on the wall all the time. New York rent is too much!!!!

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Even my studio is small, I can have my private time and be confortable. Many times, I forgot time because I concentrated to paint my work so much.

If I could, what would I change about myself? If I could, I would change life style to morning person. A couple time I succeed to wake up early like 5am. I could concentrate the most for 3 hours. That was almost 6 hours work. But then I took a nap and woke up late. It’s very difficult to change a life style…..

What is my greatest achievement in work? Last year, 2017, I was featured by Con Edison as an immigrant artist and a curator. I was very happy because I’ve been working as an Immigrant artist in New York. Also I had a travel exhibition from Manila to Cebu in Philippines last summer. I was featured by 3 local main newspapers. This summer, I will have a solo exhibition in Tokyo. Finally I will go back where I was born.

Where would I most like to live?Maybe once in my life, I want to live in high-rise mansion in Manhattan, NY. Current location is Brooklyn a river away from Manhattan.

What is my most treasured possession? My great great grand mother’s ring with pink coral. Original shape was round coral. When my great grand father sneaked in the ship to West coast in US. But he was found before departure. His mother felt sorry for him and sent him to US legally for 4 years. And she gave the coral as emergency money. He brought it back and gave it to my grand mother. She cut in half to make rings and gave them to my mother and ant. My mother didn’t tell me the story until I moved to US. But when she gave it to me, she told me about this story.

What is my most marked characteristic? Maybe eyes. Usually I wear glasses, so people get the impression of glasses. Sometimes I took them off, friends were surprised how different my eyes looked like.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Brooklyn, New York. There are many young artists who live here. Many art events, opening and graffiti are here. I’ve never got bored.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. Since artists moved in this area, there are many bars, cafés and restaurants were opened. Also we can find different food from all over the world. I can eat everything but there are many place for vegetarian and vegan, too.

What books influenced my life and how? Van Gogh, journey to the stars by Shin Fujimura (based on The letters of Vincent Van Gogh to Theo). I thought he was crazy but I read this, I understood his feeling a lot. And I realized I also an artist. The mirror in the mirror by Michael Ende. I love fantasy all the time. I’ve read “Never ending story” “Momoover and over. “The moon over the Mountain” by Atsushi Nakajima. First time I read this at high school textbook. The story was fascinate, people became a tiger but sad story behind.

Who are my favorite writers? Jean Cocteau, Michael Ende, Ryotaro Shiba, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Shuntaro Tanigawa, Haruki Murakami

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. First time, I heard was in school kid. I could imagine the pictures in my head and enjoyed it a lot. I asked my brother to play many times.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Ultraman – Japanese fiction TV series. I was surrounded by demons in my scary dream, little Ultraman, 10 inches, came to rescue me. This scary dream started from 1st grade. I saw it once in every year. The story was continued until 6th grade. Finally little Ultraman showed up. This dream was ended. I’ve never seen it anymore. The story was about demon… It will be long. So maybe next time!

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Ieyasu Tokugawa, he founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of JapanHis castle and the first grave yard are in my hometown. His life was full of battles and he barely survived. But he had lots of patience to wait the moment to become Shogun. After he became Shogun, the battle era was ended.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Never Ending Story

What role plays art in my life and work? Everything for me. I think about art all the time even during sleeping. Without art, I can’t find any meaning of life.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Felicity Hogan, Director of New York Foundation for the Arts Learning. I’ve been in the Immigrant Artist Program since 2009. They helped us, Immigrant artists, to survive in New York. Specially Felicity dedicated even her private time to help me. She is always reachable and open to different questions and problems. I really appreciate her and IAP to make me as a NY artist.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I would like to work with the gallery who focuses on traditional Japanese art. I would like to collaborate 18-19 century Japanese Old masters. I’ve been in NY for 18 years. I used to ignore Japanese art, but I start to be interested in my roots.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018? Jerry Saltz, ( I follow his instagram and facebook. And I saw him at Spring break art fair in New York early this month. He was very nice to say “Take selfie and tag me.” I wish I could talk about my art with him. Hope next time, I could show my work and hear his opinion.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? Solo exhibition in Tokyo, Center piece for Gala, A Free Bird. (A free bird supports and inspires children fighting cancer through the power of the arts.) I plan to make wings installation with more than 1000 paper cranes inspired by Sadako and the one thousand paper crane. She got leukemia after Atomic bomb. Unfortunately she passed away before she made 1000 cranes. I will make more than 1000 for praying all the children feel better and fully recover.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?

Bushwick Open Studio. Date: TBD 

Solo exhibition. Gallery Olym in Tokyo, Japan. Date: TBD

Center piece for Gala, A Free Bird

(A free bird supports and inspires children fighting cancer through the power of the arts.)

Date: November 15th, 2018

Venue: TBD

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? When I was 5 years old, I saw Mona Lisa at Louvre Museum. I thought I wanted to be an artist. Since then my Passion to the Art Never Retires!

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Katya Grokhovsky ( I’ve met her at Immigrant Artist Program at New York Foundation for the Arts. She is one of the strongest female artists I’ve ever met.

How can you contact me?

Performance video


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