PEOPLEText: Sachiko Kurashina

They look cute but strange and mysterious. People tend to touch them to make sure what they are. Keiko Miyata is an artist who is creating these sorts of things in objects and photos. Her starting point is “a stuffed toy,” which everybody used to have.The stuffed toys can be found everywhere around you but they look different in her unique world. Check out her exhibition at Soso Cafe, which started the 1st of September.

First of all, please introduce yourself.

I have been presenting cute & cool & strange objects and photos, which look like being sampled with various animals, in order to create my own original world since 1994. 1994 was the year when I started to work as a freelance creator but I was working as a stuffed toy designer as well.

In the year 2000, I held an exhibition in London. Apart from that, I had many good chances to participate in group exhibitions as well as holding my exhibitions within Japan. Also, I have been expanding my field through having collaborations with other creators in CD sleeve designs, TV advertisements, stores and others.

Did you like stuffed toys when you were small?

I think I liked them but these toys with soft hair were wrapped with vinyl and put on the high place where I could not reach, because I had a weak constitution of the lungs. I was playing with only stiff toys. I sometimes secretly stood on a chair to touch the soft ones.

What are stuffed toys for you?

Soft architectures with interesting potentialities. I give names or numbers for each toy but I do not put my emotions into them so much. However, I have to admit that these soft touches, colours and shapes move me a lot. The most exciting time for me is when I choose materials.

Actually, I have got an impression “cute but something strange/mysterious” to your works. Where do you get ideas for these characters from?

I am not trying to make them cute. Subtle gap, miscellaneous things and others are mixed in the works. That’s why you many feel the strange/mysterious feeling from my works. The collage is used when I create characters. In this way, how to join chopped things to each other is important. On the other hand, a rough sketch at a corner of a paper gets bigger and bigger, and finally becomes a 3-meter-high object sometimes.

You had an exhibition abroad. What sort of feedback did you receive there?

Visitors seemed to enjoy looking at my work and that was good for me. I feel they strongly see my works as the characters more than Japanese people do, even though I do not try to be conscious of that. The gallery lost many materials and data, and I was really disappointed about that. However, I found an article that an author of Monsterism, Pete Fowler bought my work, called “Siam Siam”. It was a good surprise and pulled me up from the disappointment. I am wondering where other works have gone. I need the buyer list, so please drop me a line if you bought my works in London!

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