Pop-Up Art Event Features Tape Artist Chiho Harazaki
By Genie Davis
LA-based contemporary tape-artist Chiho Harazaki created live murals – and invited audiences to participate in them – at a three-day pop-up event in Venice last weekend.
Marking a celebration for SOVO magazine’s “half issue” event – commemorating the print magazine’s release of it’s second limited edition issue, Harazaki was the main component of a lively art party.
The Japanese-born Harazaki shapes work that evokes wood block prints, both precise and perfect. Her medium is fragments of electrical tape, one she originally adopted for her college thesis work. Her tools of creation are scissors and precision knives, and her subjects shift between Los Angeles and Japan. Having worked exclusively in this medium since 2014, the artist tackles images as varied as Union Station or a Japanese businessman’s lunch counter. She was previously commissioned by SOVO to create a piece titled “Bookends,” in which she uses busts of former President Obama and the current president at either end of a row of books, with the titles between them depicting each man’s philosophy.The black and white image, highly detailed, seems almost impossible to have created with this medium.
At the event, Harazaki created large scale art work on site over the course of a three day period. She also designed a limited-edition T-shirt that was available for sale. When worn, with the wearer positioned in front of the artist’s work, the shirt created an Instagram-ready illusion that the wearer was a part of the artwork itself.
Along with watching Harazaki at work, attendees enjoyed a vibrant dance performance put on by the DIVAS of Compton. DIVAS is known for a television appearance on Bring It where they performed a majorette-style dance, only one of the many dance styles that the organization teaches, including classical ballet. At the SOVO event, DIVAS performed an exciting, unique Double Dutch act that had attendees and Harazaki cheering. Also on tap: a meditative sound experience by Alex Dawson, Matt Piper and John von Seggern.
Watching Harazaki create her meticulous work was the focus of the event. Seeing viewers revel in becoming participants in the work was a part of the process. Clad in the custom shirt, they posed at a specified position to become a perfect illusion within the artwork.
Harazaki’s work, both literally and figuratively is “cutting edge,” and it is a pleasure to watch her fleet but careful fingers utilize tiny scraps of tape to shape a mosaic-like work. “The refuse of tape: tiny, useless, leftover scraps; can become perfect components of an artwork. I found the beauty of imperfection in tape art,” she attests.
Large-scale recreations of previous black and white works dominated one wall; on the other was her made-for-the-event work, a goddess-figure in day glow colors against a black background that popped from the wall.
Magazine publisher Allen Sovory says of the event, and the magazine itself, that his goal is to see people “Work toward a world full of awakened hearts, full of people of all races, cultures, and identities living love-based lives together. We each possess the opportunity and the power to move our world in this direction.”
The multi-cultural pop-up was one way to start that achievement.