Last Sunday, the first day of February, I took the kids down to the Loop A gallery in America-Mura, under the fly-over near Yotsubashi, to see the work of James Baker (James B), who, of course, works with me at the British Council, and whom some of you might know quite well.
The gallery is quite a small space, but very intimate, and James’ sculpture exhibition looked fantastic. When we arrived, he was showing a group of visitors how to carve wood and letting them have a go themselves.
The group included three young children, and this really impressed me. It was immediately clear that James has a strong passion for his art, and enormous enthusiasm to encourage others. It was wonderful to see young kids so keen to listen to his words and try to carve the wood themselves, using what looked like, potentially, very dangerous cutting tools.
During the hour and a half or so that we spent there, the kids were encouragd to touch the sculptures and feel the stone with their hands, both by James and his wife, Natsuko, and by the gallery owner, who seemed very happy with James’ show.
Quite a few visitors popped into the Loop A space while we were there, and all were welcomed with a big smile and encouraged to interact with the work and ask questions.
During a quiet moment, I asked James to tell us a little about himself: how he became interested in his art and what influences his work. If you click on the link below James’ photo, which was taken by Hugo (a budding photographer), you can hear our short conversation. I will try and produce a transcript in the next few days. 🙂
LISTEN TO JAMES DISCUSSING HIS WORK AND HIS INFLUENCES
After chatting with James, I asked him to briefly describe 6 of his pieces and you can try and match his descriptions to the 6 photos in the box below. Listen as many times as you want and don’t worry about understanding everything, listen for the key words. Again, I will produce some transcripts in the next couple of days
In the interview, James talks about a daruma he once found in a shop in the UK, and describes how he created his own daruma, which was displayed in Japanese shrine in London, before he had ever come to Japan. Below you can see a couple of photos of another daruma which James has created, much more recently. This work is made out of clay, and the first photo, again, was taken by Hugo, the five-year old photographer!
BIGGER SIZE PHOTOS OF THE WORKS DESCRIBED IN THE AUDIO TEXTS, AND SOME OTHER WORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION