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Meet Kana Harada

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kana Harada.

Kana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Tokyo and raised in Japan and the US. I am now based in Dallas, TX and I have been here about 20 years.

I started drawing when I was a year old, and at four years old, declared to my mother that I was “born to draw”. Since then, I’ve worked in different medias, until the late 90’s, when my husband was transferred to Dallas. When we moved here, I was blessed with a big space and high vaulted ceilings. The environment naturally got me into making bigger, sculptural works. I started working with corrugated cardboard, making larger scale semi-3D wall-mount pieces.

In 2002, I found a children’s craft material called foam sheets at a local art supply store. I had never seen them before, and I was fascinated. That was the start of my suspended birdcage-inspired 3D pieces. Foam sheets are very soft, light, pliable, durable, UV-ray resistant and very easy to cut and work with.

At the end of 2004, The Dallas Center For Contemporary Art gave me my first solo show here in Dallas. I continued making both suspended and tabletop 3D pieces using foam sheets. After my first show, I had solo shows at The MAC, The Old Jail Art Center, UALR, Fort Worth Community Center and so on. I was included in group shows at The Trammel & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum, Galveston Art Center, CADD Art Lab, SAMFA, Valley House Gallery, a two-person show at UTA, tours and special events at Nasher Sculpture Center. I am also included in various publications like “Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still Life Tradition”, by Dr. Michael Petry, published by Thames & Hudson, and “THE BOOK” – March issue 2009 by Neiman Marcus.

In 2012, I was contacted by Talley Dunn and joined their gallery.

Talley Dunn Gallery:

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It might have taken me a while to get to where I am now, but I don’t think the road has been all that rough for me, thankfully. If I had “struggles” along the way, it was about my own spiritual growth – how I looked at things, the level of my positivity or the technical challenges I had to deal with in executing the pieces, working with a fairly new, unknown material like foam sheets.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kana Harada story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a dyed-in-the-wool artist. I draw and paint as well as make sculptures using different materials like foam sheets and driftwood.

My work is the embodiment of my wish for peace and love of humanity, mother earth and the universe.

I express this through what inspires me: the ever-changing sky, the spirit of the trees and the wondrous flowers I have encountered in the lush forests at the foot of Mt. Fuji and across the U.S.… their peaceful, serene embrace, their extreme playfulness as if there are no rules, and the awe I have felt in their presence.

I have worked with different materials over the years, but at this point, I am mostly known for suspended sculptural pieces using foam sheets, especially in the US. In Japan, I am more known for my watercolor works.

Working with foam sheets, which I hand-cut with scissors, enables me to create the kinds of lines and shapes I want. With the series of black 3D suspended pieces, the pliable softness and lightness of the material creates an unexpected contrast to the hard, iron-like appearance. The white series enables me to add hints of warm color, and the soft, marshmallow-like texture creates an even lighter, almost transparent appearance when light hits them.

My watercolor series are my interpretation of what inspires me and want to convey with my art.

Attention to detail and the way my ideas come to me organically are very important to me. I try to continuously grow as a person in order to better convey my ideas. I believe my love for great craftsmanship comes from my mother and Japanese background, and is another important tool that can bring viewers out of their daily lives and into my world.

My pieces are always happy, peaceful and playful. I guess you can say I specialize in “happy”, because it’s what truly liberates me and keeps me going. The never-ending pursuit of it, as a way of life, is probably what makes me unique.

My goal is to keep growing and delivering happiness and peace all over the world through art museums where people go to be inspired, and the homes where everyone unplugs at the end of the day.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
An absolutely positive mind and a belief in myself. No matter what anyone says or how things turn out, I always remind myself why I was born, and what I want to express with my calling. Always having the passion and guts to grow, change, and let things go. I make it a rule not to live in a world of “comparison” – not just to other people, but with my past work. To always follow your instinct and what makes your heart dance is the very key to high quality work that touches the viewers’ hearts. To me, that is my success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mak Takemura

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