Tell us about yourself!
I am Kazuki Takizawa. I am a Japanese glass artist based out of Los Angeles, California. Becoming an artist was something I did not have in mind until I went to University of Hawaii at Manoa. I got introduced to glassblowing there 12 years ago, and was instantly captivated by this molten material. Growing up, I was a very shy kid, mostly because I was self-conscious and not confident in myself. Despite my lack of general confidence, I remember feeling very comfortable and confident in my art classes. Other kids would come and talk to me about what I created and give me compliments. This remains one of my favorite childhood memories. I never dreamt of becoming an artist until I saw glassblowing for the first time.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
Through my sculptural glass and installations, I speak about variety of topics related to mental illness such as my diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder and my experience in caring for a family member who struggles with mental illness. I reflect on topics that are still considered taboo in this world today such as suicide, mental disorders and depression. However, beauty of human emotion is almost always stressed.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
Besides the fact that molten glass is such an intriguing material to work with, I use glass as a medium for my expression for its versatile properties. What other material can be transparent, opaque, fluid, rigid, fragile and broken? I use all of these things as part of my creative vocabulary. Also, glass has historically been used as a medium for vessels. Whether it be core-formed perfume bottle, ornate Venetian stemware or stained glass, they all share the purpose of containing something precious and protecting it. When I create, I look at glass in a historical context and often think about what my glass objects contain.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I think most people don’t know the fact that I am Japanese but am really from Hong Kong. People also don’t know that I don’t speak Cantonese at all, even though I was born there and lived there until I was 16 years old. I have yet to live in Japan even though all my relatives are there. I went to high school in Bangkok, so I used to be able to speak a little Thai.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
When I was a high school senior in Thailand, I told my school counselor that I wanted to become a farmer. I really love nature and animals. So if I weren’t an artist, perhaps I would’ve been driving a tractor on a farm right now.
To learn more about Kazuki, or to see more of his work, visit his GAS member profile page.