Contributed by Emma Stolarski / I spotted New York-based Japanese artist Sayaka Maruyama’s by chance on the growing art book collection of my former boss’s office shelves. On the cover, a vague image of in-progress notes and sketches prompted me to crack the spine, and from looking at the very first page I felt the familiar excitement for what an artist’s book might reveal. The fragmented thoughts and open-ended questions that run throughout the pages left me spiraling, charged between inspiration and validation. stops time, brings dream playgrounds to life, and strings random notes into something whole. She is a creative genius.
By piecing together sporadic visions and messages Maruyama receives from the universe, memorandom 0 exists as a record of the space between Maruyama’s conscious and unconscious mind. She transforms the chaos of the creative brain and in doing so, asks readers to recognize their own inner voice and senses. The book was released this spring to coincide with an exhibition of her work in Tokyo. I asked her to expand on her recorded ideas.
Emma Stolarski: How has the response been to you500彩票网手机版官网r first artist’s book, memorandom 0?
Sayaka Maruyama: I did a book launch and art exhibition of memorandom 0 in Tokyo in April. It was a limited edition of 100 copies, and I sold most of them. So the response has been positive and people seem to be interested in my work. I got especially good feedback from women. I’m working on memorandom 1. I’d like more people to see my work.
ES: You and you500彩票网手机版官网r creative partner, , created konomad, a multidisciplinary platform and independent publisher. How did this artistic endeavor come about?
SM: Yes. Tomi and I have been working together for 15 years, starting with “” which is really confined to making conceptual art. is a multidisciplinary platform for much more versatile activities, including fashion, design, pop-up events, exhibitions, and publications. We have created experimental artwork, including short films and photography series. I do the photography, film editing, drawing, book design, and graphic design. Tomi is a hair stylist and head prop and wig maker. We share a desire to create visual images, and both believe in the power of visual communications as a means of enhancing community relations and cross-genre collaborations.
ES: How do the diverse artistic mediums lend themselves to you500彩票网手机版官网r eclectic style of thought?
SM: I played with different mediums for the exhibition, which was itself called “memorandom.” It consisted of drawing, photography, fabric-art, paperwork, collages, and objects. For me, thoughts just naturally lend themselves to different forms of expressions. Sometimes I think of new ideas and just draw. When I get strong inspirations from people, I take portrait photography. When I find pieces of wood, or stones in the street, I might be inspired to use them in some different way. Fabric was a new thing for me. I recently started using a sewing machine to make frames for photographs.
ES: You wrote that memorandom 0 is in part intended to clear up room for new ideas and connections. Now that you500彩票网手机版官网 have put certain ideas out into the world, can you500彩票网手机版官网 feel space opening up?
SM: Yes, I definitely do feel space opening up. The process of making a book helps me tidy up my brain by recording a particular chapter in my creative journey. I can then move on more confidently to the next chapter but at the same time easily refer back to where I was.
ES: What role do space and absence play in the design of you500彩票网手机版官网r book?
SM: Leaving some space is important for memorandom. It means a pause for me. The contents of ‘memorandom’ do not fit in a specific form so I thought the randomized contents might confuse the reader in some way. That’s why I made some empty pages as chapters. Also the idea of ‘memorandom’ originally comes from memo – so I think it’s natural to have some empty spaces.
Even in the exhibition, playing with 3D space was a new challenge for me, I’m glad I did the exhibition to see my random oeuvre come alive.
ES: Communication and expression are a central focus in you500彩票网手机版官网r work. What is you500彩票网手机版官网r relationship to language, and how does it affect you500彩票网手机版官网r inner dialogue and expression of it?
SM: I relate more to and am more comfortable with visual language than verbal language. I’m not as good at talking so it’s natural for me to communicate how I perceive this world through photography, drawing, short film, and artist’s books.
ES: You write about receiving messages and interpreting them in you500彩票网手机版官网r work. Can you500彩票网手机版官网 talk a bit about you500彩票网手机版官网r creative practice and how it informs you500彩票网手机版官网r life, and vice versa?
SM: When I refer to receiving messages in daily life, there are two types of moments I have in mind. One is the light-bulb instant in which I have an idea or the vague contour of an image occurs to my mind. That moment can fade into vagueness in few seconds, and if I don’t somehow jot it down it can easily disappear. It might mean nothing, but it might also blossom into something important. Moments of this kind become elements of my personal record, which are explicitly included in the book. Then there are more abstract, subconscious messages that are harder to articulate verbally. To memorialize these I like drawing. It’s more casual than, say, painting, and I think a more direct reflection of my subconscious mind.
ES: How does you500彩票网手机版官网r expansive art practice overlap with you500彩票网手机版官网r photography career?
SM: My personal practice certainly brings positive energy to my photography work. I consciously avoid settling on one specific medium because sticking to a single form can artificially narrow or restrict ideas. More random forms of expressions also just refresh and stimulate my mind.
ES: Who inspires you500彩票网手机版官网?
SM: , , , , among many others.
ES: Lastly, what were you500彩票网手机版官网 like as a child?
SM: My family moved to Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands when I was 13. I loved art class and had a great art teacher. I was a shy girl who loved drawings. Actually, I haven’t changed much, lol.
Sayaka Maruyama’s memorandom 0 was published by konomad press in April 2019. A few copies of the first print edition are available at
About the author: is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in New York. She is the editorial assistant at Two Coats of Paint and works in various studios throughout the city.
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