What Art Means to Me

Chiho at a group exhibition 2013

To put it simply, art for me is freedom of expression.

I had an unusual birth situation and I think my personality was largely influenced by my childhood experiences. As a child, I didn’t show much emotion outside my home. And I quickly realized that there wasn’t anyone around me to whom I could tell how I felt and who would also understand me.

Although I spontaneously started drawing at a very early age, I later realized that I was unconsciously releasing my emotion through art, whether it was drawing, painting, singing or writing poems.

Even after I had grown up, I tended to hide my emotions inside me and hardly ever showed them to anyone. And as I continued to draw, paint or write, that became my habitual way of expressing my feelings and thoughts.

I started travelling and working around the world in my early twenties. As I did this alone, I was again in a situation that required self-reliance and I had to deal with my emotions myself. Although I enjoyed my travels and living in different cities very much, adjusting myself to new cultures and languages created a great amount of emotional frustration in everyday life, especially with basic survival and communicating with the people around me. And throughout those periods, painting or writing poetry was the way of emptying what was inside me.

For me, art or creating art has been always the place where I can truly be myself and speak to myself in the clearest mindset. It was originally done for my own sake and to get on with my life. However, as I saw things more and experienced more, my expression in the form of art started to take another role, that of addressing a statement and exposing my inner voice to the outside world.

I feel the need to put my work out into the public rather intuitively as I think it is because art is the way I communicate with the external world.

I feel art has grown inside me and it has developed to the point where it has its own life. To me, art is something bigger than me and my own life.