Rica Takashima

The Blog

Resin was set and I painted the small sculptures.

YAY!  It worked! The plastic is set. God saved me!
I painted the small sculptures after applying white base primer.
Paints are Benjamin Moore’s outdoor water based flat colors. This is the first time I use American paints, and I found something interesting. In Japan, I mixed complimentary colors to get duller color. The more colors I mixed, the duller the color became. But American paints seem to retain the color purity even after several colors are mixed. I originally planned to make the surface very smooth, but because of the troubles, it turned out to be little bumpier.

I failed and Failed

The story so far:
This was the first time to make sculptures with plastic.
When I was almost finished with the base of the sculptures just before painting to the next step, a BIG TROUBLE happened to the sculptures! How should I escape this terrible pinch?!

Three Small Sculptures' Story

Hi, this is Rica.
Let me talk about the progress about small sculptures.
These three will be placed around the main woman sculpture.
The first one is shaped as a photo album. The old photographs on the pages were taken in 1970s.
The second is the coffee cup and pancakes. They are banana walnuts pancakes. Do you want to try this pancake?
Go the café in El Barrio.
The third is a baby in a basinet. The baby stands for the future of El Barrio.
I got the hint for making these sculpture from Puerto Rican mask made from Paper Mache.
The biggest thing I am concerned is, “Not to be destroyed, nor broken” I want to keep them very strong.
But Paper Mache is not durable. I decided to use fiberglass cloth and reinforced plastic instead of paper and glue. These materials are use for car bodies so must stay strong, I thought. Thank you angel, the next door of my apartment is a car parts shop.

The story behind my sculptures 2

The woman was an owner of the cafe. Her parents came from Puerto Rico, and she was born here in the early 70s. She still lives on 101st street with her family. I decided to create a sculpture using the woman as a model. I told her that my aim was to create a sculpture of a person who lives within view of Randall’s Island, and tell their story.  She graciously accepted my request.

I always make a human-sized thin board sculpture. But…this time, it is a chance to try new thing.

I read the other book, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, that I bought at the bookstore, and loved the phrase “Revolutions come in all shapes and seizes. I’ve always been interested in people’s internal revolutions because those are the ones that their everyday actions and, by progression, a community’s life.”

The story behind my sculptures1

One day I biked to Randall’s Island and saw the skylines of Manhattan. I wondered, “What kind of people live there, and what kind of lives do they live?”

I went around 110th street, 3rd, 2nd Avenue in East Harlem, then down to 99th Street to see Art Space Apartment. I expected I could find something and meet someone there. But the Art Space building was still under construction. I found a bookstore. I asked the store clerk about books related to the area. The book clerk recommended me two books, and I bought them.

I found a nice cafe. I decided to read the brand new book there. Suddenly, a fortyish woman came up and spoke to me. She said that her friend wrote an introduction to the book. The book was PALANTE 1969-1971, a chronicle of Puerto Rican resistance and activism. During that period, young Puerto Ricans activists gathered together and published a magazine titled PALANTE. I saw photos of them at Randall’s Island.

The Artist

Rica Takashima(b. 1965, Tokyo, Japan)

Rica Takashima's questions towards traditional Japanese patriarchal family values and discrimination against LGBT people motivated her to start conceptual participatory public art and large scale street installations. Since 1995, she expanded her portfolio to Manga (Japanese comic books) as well. Using fun modes of expression, she challenges viewers to rethink their pre-existing social values and customs regarding things like gender, age and race, and to feel more empathy towards different elements of society. Rica was born in Tokyo, Japan. She immigrated to the United States with her family, and currently lives in New York. Rica received a B.A. from Tokyo University of Arts, Japan.

For More Information

Website: aozoraart.com