Prints: giclee print with wash, and sumi ink on rice paper, 18” W x 12” H
Linda created this body of work to discover what motivates us to keep living day to day, even though life may seem to be comprised of mostly suffering. What survival trait did we as humans develop to get us out of bed each day and face the challenges and triumphs we’ll encounter? What makes us choose life over death over and over, again and again?
It’s not rational thought that motivates us but emotional thought. In the myriad emotions we experience, Linda crystallized them into two that can answer the questions she posed: hope and fear. Linda theorizes those two emotions are the driving forces that keep us greeting each new day. Hope is a catalyst to optimism, opportunity, and the unlimited potential we have within us. Fear is the anchor that urges self-discipline, caution, and convinces us to realize our limits.
To test this theory, Linda took ordinary things, small things, and broke each down into our hope and fear. When she did this, she realized that in every case, the hope was the same as the fear, that these two opposing emotions are in actuality the same thing. For example, love: The hope is that I will become one with this person, that we will be stronger as two, that we will weave our lives so closely together, we will experience “us.” The fear is I will become one with this person, that I will no longer be strong as one, that we will weave our lives so closely together, neither one of us will be able to experience “me.” Linda chose 122 small things and derived the hope and fear we might feel for it, and she abbreviated these two emotions with one phrase.
When working on this project, Linda was reminded of Pandora’s box, in which was kept all the world’s fears. She’d always thought Pandora released all of these fears, forever dooming man to live a life of fear, but she learned that after releasing all our fears, one thing was left in the box: hope. Hope was the one thing left that could get man through his life of fear. At that time, Linda was working on a method for dividing the paper for each piece into workable segments. She played around with the beginning folds of an origami box, and the method was derived (thank you, Pandora, for the idea). Each piece folds into itself, only revealing the image and its title (or name of the small thing). As the paper unfolds, the hope and fear are revealed.
The sketch book belongs to Zack, the main character in Oh! A Mystery of “Mono no Aware.” Linda created the sketches to symbolize Zack’s physical world, what he sees, the evidence (as opposed to the emotion) of his life. One sketch corresponds to each chapter of the book, a captured image of something Zack sees in the story. Linda peppered these sketches throughout the book, a metaphor for the bread crumbs Zack is following in his search for a meaningful life.
The sketch style mimics Zack’s emotional state: starting out simple, bland, safely staying within his emotional limits and lines; progressing to show more emotion to the lines, less fully filling in, less tidy; and as he discovers his range of emotions, more interpretive and less literal; and finally toward the end, overwhelmed and frantic with his emotional findings. It is a diary of how emotions and deeply feeling them can alter our perceptions of the real world.
Biography: Linda Shimoda, of Hawaii, is an accomplished artist, illustrator and book designer. She was the art curator for shows at the Kaua’i Museum Contemporary Art Gallery in Hawaii. Her illustrations and artwork have appeared in her husband Todd’s novels. She is the author of the book Glyphix for Visual Journaling: Drawing Out the Words Within (Stone Bridge Press).
Born in Texas, she has also lived in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, California, England and Japan. Her degree in commercial design was from the University of Texas. She has also worked in commercial design, teaching and association management. While in Japan and California, she studied classical Japanese shodo (calligraphy). Using the techniques, she developed a unique style of expressionistic Japanese brush art. Her one-artist and group art shows have been in Colorado, Texas, California and Hawaii. Her art is available for viewing at Shimodaworks.
Contact Linda by email: ljc(at)shimodaworks.com