above: Aika Ishimori, Deteriorate, 2019. Acrylic on adhesive strips.
In April, the interns at the Halsey Institute will be interviewing a small selection of artists included in Young Contemporaries 2020. In this post, Gretchen Hertel interviews artist Aika Ishimori.
What does this piece mean for you?
For me, this piece is specifically about my struggle with self-harm and cutting myself. It illustrates personal growth and deterioration in my ongoing struggle. During the last seven years, there have been times where I go for several months without the urge to hurt myself. Other times, it is difficult to push these thoughts away. I love the optimism that people have when they say that life does get better…but it also gets worse. I wanted this piece to show that sometimes a full recovery is not possible.
What do you like most about your work?
I enjoy the feeling of relief after my work is “done.” A lot of my art has a very personal emotion or story attached to it, so it is cathartic to physically manifest a negative emotion productively.
What has been your biggest artistic challenge?
My biggest artistic challenge has been branching out into different styles. I tend to create works that are similar to what I have always done. I get into art slumps quite frequently as well.
How has your work changed over time?
I think I’ve developed a sense of humor in my art. I’ll create something so extreme that it’s silly. Other than that, I don’t know if it has changed much. It’s something I’d like to work on, I think.
After hosting so many art showings with Green Haus, how does it feel now that your work is shown in ‘the next stage” of the art world?
I am still so surprised, excited, and grateful that this piece made it into Young Contemporaries. I submitted the art thinking that it probably wouldn’t be accepted. This has encouraged me to keep creating and to push myself out of this art slump that I’ve been in!
– Gretchen Hertel, Halsey Institute intern