Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: The Colourful, Embroidered World Of Winnipeg’s Takashi Iwasaki
July 5, 2014
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LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts.

Name: Takashi Iwasaki

Born: Hokkaido, Japan, 1982

Lives and works: Winnipeg

His work: You may not be able to tell at first glance, but both the works above are actually embroideries, not drawings or paintings — although Takashi Iwasaki does those too. He told Strombo.com that he started embroidering for a “decorative work” assignment in a drawing class at the University of Manitoba. "I liked how the first piece turned out, and since then I’ve been working with needle and thread," he said. "The painstakingly slow and laborious process makes me think differently from painting or drawing, which is a nice brain exercise for me."

Not quite abstract: While many of his pieces appear abstract, Iwasaki describes them as "visual recordings," either of his daily life or his imaginary one. For example, Suieiy, the embroidery on the right, is about swimming at the YCMA: "The sequence of triangles is the flags hanging above the swimming pool. There are swimming goggles, bubbles in the water, swimming pants, and the change room locker key that I keep through my swimming pants string so I don’t lose it. In the title 'suiei' means 'swimming' in Japanese, and the 'y' at the end is from 'YMCA.'"

On moving to Winnipeg for school: "I wanted to study fine arts and English language at the same time, but it seemed to be difficult to study both of them at the same time to the level that I desired in Japan," Iwasaki told Strombo.com. "I like the multi-cultural environment in Canada, and Winnipeg is a good city to live in and work for artists. Now I call it my hometown." Being in Winnipeg, he added, allows him to live within a supportive art community without the high living expenses of bigger cities. "With the internet and ease of communication nowadays, living in the art hot spots may not be as important as it used to be."

Another Canadian artist he admires: "I like works by Diana Thorneycroft [previously on Strombo.com] and Tristram Lansdowne. Not only are their works are visually accomplished, but you can also easily identify their works just by looking at them," Iwasaki said. "For visual artists it’s important to have such a visual identity. Also, Diana Thorneycroft was one of my teachers at the university."

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