Interview with Japanese artist Mami Maeda
Mami Maeda is a multidisciplinary Japanese artist. In her career, she stands out for having traveled the world with a renowned Japanese television program. Her character and original songs allowed her to become popular in Japan. After this opportunity, she began her career as a singer, songwriter and writer.
Maeda has a very particular and beautiful artistic work that has been exhibited at different fairs and galleries in Europe. Likewise, she is also the author of a book that includes some of her illustrations.
From Japan, Mami Maeda shares with Cóctel Art Magazine some of her passions and artistic projects.
How do you start your career as an artist?
I have always loved drawing since I was a child. For me, painting was a type of therapy that expressed my thoughts and feelings that could not be expressed in words. It was an intimate act that I did not intend to show others, as if it were a personal diary.
Participating in a show, traveling the world and gaining popularity, I started my career as a singer and songwriter. In 2007, I published my first novel. In that book, along the text, I published for the first time my paintings and the artworks I did to illustrate the story. After that, I worked as an illustrator for columns, covers and different projects, etc.
Later, marriage has given me great satisfaction and happiness. It gradually became unnecessary to make art. I couldn’t make art based on sadness or loneliness. I was busy working with my husband running a restaurant and also as a mother. For about seven years, I dedicated myself to my marriage and stopped all artistic activities.
However, in 2017, when I visited my family in the south of France, I felt the beauty of the city and its great artists. The feeling of «I want to draw» overflowed naturally.
Fortunately, there was a recommendation from an art person who was interested in my work. The following year, I participated at the Artistes du Monde festival in Cannes. Influenced by contemporary artists from around the world, I started my career as a painter professionally.
Explain to us your creative process.
I am inspired by seasonal flowers that bloom in everyday life, like the roadside, unknowingly accumulates. There are motifs that I have repeatedly drawn for many years without even being aware of myself, and although they are a symbol of something to me, there are still many things that I do not understand. It is a message from the subconscious. As I draw, I create it as if I am immersed in myself. There are some subjects that I intentionally draw. But no matter what I draw, I am represented there. The finished painting conveys my subconscious. I can meet someone I don’t know.
Where do you find the motivation?
Motivation for me is the basic desire of human beings who want to know themselves and understand others. I want to get to know myself through my works of art and connect with others. I want to connect with the heart beyond words and races.
At an international exhibition I attended for the first time, an artist told me: «You are unique, but your work can be your alter ego and bring love to many people.» I was impressed with her words and decided to professionalize myself. I want to create the beautiful harmony of love through my art.
In your opinion, what difference do you see between European and Japanese art?
In general, art remains a high threshold for the Japanese. There is a feeling of luxury. Unfortunately, museums are expensive and they are not a place where children and parents can easily go together. On the other hand, in Europe, the value of art has been historically recognized and open, and living with art feels natural.
For me, art is a common property of humanity. It also captures new perspectives, enriches life and fills the heart. It is a shame that in Japan it is perceived as «unnecessary» and «extra» due to its emphasis on economic value and productivity.
I believe that the balance between economy and art is in harmony with nature, and is an important issue both personally and globally, when considering a more sustainable and prosperous society and lifestyle.
What about your next projects?
Now I am interested in the topic of diversity. The difference is originally very beautiful. Even if we don’t understand each other, we must respect ourselves and be exemplaries. I think there is a common sense of love for the family, even in the diversity of values.
I seek to extract from a great subject, small treasures everyday. I want to make a work with this method. I also continue my career as a singer and songwriter, I want to express myself through music.