Strolling through Brooklyn on a misty Friday morning, I didn’t know what to expect. On another level, it seemed entirely natural. Despite having never met the artist I was about to interview, I felt sure of one thing. Jun Ishida was a spiritual aspirant. In his art I could see the way personal experience guided his hand.
Ishida’s abundantly colorful paintings emanate a cohesion that evades description. Dense yet weightless, skillful but effortless, chaotic and calming, his art challenges conventional notions of harmony while drawing attention to the self-evident nature of peace. It’s really damn cool.
Seeing my own peaceful experiences reflected back at me through his paintings, I recognized the need to understand more about his art.
Less than a week after coming upon Ishida’s work, I found myself at his doorstep armed with a notebook and pen.
“Ben?” He flashed me a smile as he opened the door.
We silently plodded up the steps to his floor. A few of his paintings hung in the stairway near his apartment door. One was a reproduction of an earlier work and the other was a beautiful yet humorous depiction of the Jersey City skyline.
Once inside the apartment, we sat down. He offered me tea and the pet cat made herself comfortable on my lap. When I tried to prepare my notebook, she immediately sat on top of it. I took the hint and instead turned my phone on to record our conversation. Best just to stay present.
So, the cat sat on me and I sat on a chair and Ishida sat on a large exercise ball. Then we talked.
Lazy Yogi: What is your perspective on art and the way yours sets itself apart?
Jun Ishida: Art is part of my spiritual practice. I am not doing it for the purpose of self-expression. Of course there is the element of my “style” but I am doing it for, I want to avoid the word “higher” purpose, but my artwork has a purpose to encourage my audience to reflect on their spirituality. To start to think about this spirituality and spiritual practice.
I’m not going to convert anybody or anything like that, but I want my audience to start thinking about life and that there’s something beyond your paycheck. It’s separate from what’s considered hot contemporary art because while those works may address a certain topic in an abstract way, I feel that mine is deliberately grounded. It’s not like an idea floating around, it’s a visual reflection of my real experience.
fitcity: Not sure if you got my last message.
Can you send along your address so I can ship out your mp3 player?
oh my goodness. I just saw this! Is it like from a million years ago? SO SORRY and if it still is available, my address is Susan Ito, 490 2nd St., 2nd floor, San Francisco CA 94107 —-THANK YOU!!!!!