Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for the sun to set on this edition, the fourth chapter, of Visual Satiation.
Before saying goodbye, I’d like to thank all the amazing artists who donated their time, the Livetrigger crew, my dear friend and proofreader, Marc Smollin, and you — dear Reader — for coming along on this journey with us.
Last, but not least, we have one more artist we’d like to introduce you to…
Despite its fragile look, the textile work of Tennessee-based artist Rima Day is as resilient as nature itself.
Inspired by the Japanese culture she was raised in, her intricate embroidery contemplates and investigates the connection between human emotions and the entangled patterns that shape this world and our bodies.
Let’s have a chat with her!
Hello Rima, and welcome to Visual Satiation!
Let’s start off with an introduction: can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the background that shaped the person and the artist you became?
Thank you for inviting me!
I was born and raised in Japan, but I came to the US hoping to continue studying fashion design but I ended up working as a freelance costume designer instead.
While I was working at a costume shop, I made 18th century dresses with used jeans for fun and started to show them as art rather than something to wear. From there, my journey to make art with sewing skills started. Currently, I´m mainly working with red thread.
What triggers your creativity, and what kind of themes do you find yourself returning to your art?
For me, making art is to connect with the past.
I´m very fond of art history – I get inspiration from just looking at artworks from the past and reading about those time periods.\
I’m drawn to the similarity between nature and the human body. This is why I make structures that resemble blood vessels or root systems.
I also wonder if that’s what emotions would look like if we could see them. So, I come back to the idea of strong emotions – such as love, desire, dreams – trying to visualize them with my stitching.
How do you usually work, and how long does it take to complete one of your pieces?
I work whenever I can – I probably would be able to work all day without taking a break if I could. I’m a workaholic according to people around me, but I am just having fun.
However, there are other obligations I must spend my time on, so I work whenever I have 2-3 hours of spare time.
I usually have several projects going on at the same time, so it’s difficult to say how long an artwork needs to get done – if I’m really inspired to finish a piece, I tend to work on it more intensively but it usually takes 2-4 weeks to complete one.
How have the last couple of years been for you, and how is your life nowadays? Do you have any projects coming up?
It’s been like a very long artist residency for me.
I’ve been experimenting with many techniques and ideas. Making art was the only thing that was surely available for me to do. I learned what I like and what direction I want to take my art.
But I have to admit that the feeling of being confined during the pandemic has started to lift away… I find myself being more pulled to different things other than just art like planning a trip, looking at online clothing stores and so on.
I have a project that got canceled at the beginning of the pandemic and reinstated recently, so I’m working on that.
But it’s about the series I was doing before the pandemic, therefore it’s very different from what I do now. I feel like I went back in time.
However, it’s interesting to go back to an old project from a different place, and I’m hoping I’ll look at my current theme with a new perspective when I finish it.
Who are your favorite artists?
It kind of changes from time to time depending on what I get exposed to.
I have my all-time favorite artists from the past like Beato Angelico (Fra Angelico), Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Jean-Honoré Fragonard as a background.
Currently, I’m drawn to Louise Bourgeois’s textile work (I wish I could have gone to her exhibition in London!). I´m amazed by her sewing and pattern making techniques as well as her creativity. I’m also really into artist Maria Lai – her fabric books are so beautiful and playful. They definitely are my source of inspiration.
“Ratto di Proserpina” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1621-1622
“L´Escarpolette” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1767
“Cell XXVI” by Louise Bourgeois, 2003
Maria Lai, 1991
Name three books that you love so much you could read them over and over again.
“Little Women” – I fell in love with this series as a child in Japan.
Although I can read English now, it must be the Japanese version with a certain translator from the 1940’s. Her language is very old fashioned and I enjoy it.
“Revolution in Fashion: 1715-1815” – It’s more for looking at the clothes of my favorite era of fashion history. I have many books about the costumes from the period, but this is the oldest and most cherished book in my collection.\
“Just Kids” by Patti Smith – I rarely read a memoir, but I read this one because I was interested in Mapplethorpe. I can’t find words to describe how touching this book was. I completely fell in love with Patti.
Who are your all-time favorite fashion icons?
Ever since I decided to study fashion design as a teenager, my favorite icon has been Gabrielle Chanel.
Back then, in Tokyo, people in their 20’s or even in their teens were carrying Chanel bags since the economy was booming. I despised it.
But when I learned that Chanel used a gold chain on a strap to prevent it from falling from the shoulder, I started to learn more about her and found out so many small details that she included in her designs to make women more comfortable to be active. I admire that.
I also loved how confident she was as a designer. I clipped a picture of her and put it in a frame. It’s been with me for decades in my sewing area.
The other one has to be Marie Antoinette… I just love that era of fashion. Also her life story is so interesting. It can be evil, tragic, innocent, naïve – depending on your perspective. I literally consumed everything I could read or watch that contained her name, from nonfiction to fiction stories and movies!
“Portrait of Marie Antoinette” by Martin van Meytens, 1767
If you could be reincarnated as anything you want, what would it be? Why?
A ballet dancer.
I’m very bad at dancing or at any sports and I’d love to be able to use my own body to express myself in beautiful costumes.
What’s a lesser-known talent of yours; how do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
I am passionate about cooking. To be honest with you I love to eat so I end up cooking. It requires lots of preparation and cleaning after. I think I would have more time for myself if I didn’t cook this much but I can’t give up!
Please show us one of your oldest creations.
Finally, let’s give you a few minutes to draw a caricature of yourself and see how it goes! Ready, set, go!
Thank you so much for being with us Rima!
We wish you all the best!