In today’s conversion, we will touch on subjects of dysphoria, assimilation and imperialism with Amy Yoshitsu. Amy is an accomplished sculptor, designer, and socially engaged artist that deconstructs the interconnections between power, economics, labor, and race to illuminate their foundational impact on personal schemas and interpersonal relationships. In 2020, Amy co-founded Converge Collaborative, a BIPOC and art-led workers coop and creative collective and if you want to know more about it I will leave the link in the description below.
Sound artist Annabelle Galea https://soundcloud.com/c_h_i_l_d
I am a sculptor, designer, and socially engaged artist deconstructing the interconnections between power, economics, labor, and race to illuminate their foundational impact on personal schemas and interpersonal relationships.
My art practice is driven by my journey to heal—and help others heal—from lineages of trauma and anger. I seek to build a culture of self-compassion and awareness by reframing experiences and conditions within historical, political, financial, and colonial contexts. I interrogate my perspective, circumstances and heritage—defined by multi-generational struggle and isolation incurred from ambitious striving within gas-lighting white supremacist patriarchal capitalism—in relationship to systemic patterns, myths and power. As an Asian-American contending with inherited, conflicting duties and narratives of care-giving and achievement, I am especially interested in the conscious and unconscious positions and conditions of those whose lineages are entangled with diaspora, assimilation and imperialism.
Infrastructure—encompassing the act of supporting, the undergirding for creation, and the workforce maintaining our unsustainable global practices—informs the concepts, imagery and materials of my work. The objects I make embody that systemic forces, driven by the constellation of economic and emotional incentives in power structures, play greater than acknowledged roles in our individual material, cognitive and emotional conditions. The intersecting histories and consequences of omnipresent apparatuses—from taxation to electrical grids to the maintenance of racecraft (Fields and Fields)—are foundational to the tapestry of human existence. I employ sewing and textiles as methods and materials to interweave the effects that our entrenched systems have on the body, the delicate, the intimate. In the US especially, government, corporate and social norms are deeply influenced by technocracy, the interplay between private and public power and the cycles of consumption. To surface and visualize these complex layers, my creations amalgamate industrial and refuse materials and are built from layers of manual and digital approaches.
In 2020, I co-founded Converge Collaborative, a BIPOC and art-led workers coop and creative collective. I have always recognized that so many knowledgeable and capable creatives do not have the economic, psychological, emotional or environmental resources to fully cultivate their talents and artistic dreams. In working for many years in jobs to support my art and my family and having grown up with artist parents, I intimately know the challenges of economic insecurity, time scarcity, being marginalized and racialized, and the resources required to facilitate the creative process. At Converge, we are dedicated to creating a labor environment in which we can meet our financial needs, maintain our autonomy as artists, and actively support each other's well-being. One of our creative pursuits is Bring Your Full Self, a podcast in which we invite laborers and artists of color to safely step away from the myth of professionalism and embrace the reality that all of our experiences, learnings and challenges intertwine, merge and make us the multitudes that we are. Converge allows me to socially and materially address the conditions of creativity, labor, economics, and emotions for other people.
"Since 2015 I have been working on 20XX, a series of sculptures, and their resulting images, that contort our shared, built environments, which are embedded with histories of society-building through cycles of demolition and consumption. These 3D collages—built through sewing photographs I took in locations in which I lived and visited— visualize the variances in the materials, aesthetics and definitions of shelter; corrosion and states of disrepair; office buildings, factories and mom-and-pop storefronts as markers of personal means of survival and the shells of capitalism's many engines/victims. For many years, I then photograph these sculptures in (mostly) public locations in my hometown area, and thus, create my own psychogeographic maps that synthesize and literally locate my advantages and concerns within our mazes of power structures."