There are over 8 million different faces in New York City and artist Noboo Kawaguchi is intrigued by them all. Her work aims to capture the diversity and feelings of the people that live in New York City and who make it so unique. Using vivid colors, special images, and catchy titles, Kawaguchi works to address the gamut of human emotion.
Kawaguchi’s work is on display at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza. The next time you visit the library to check out a book, be sure to take some time to view the “I ♥ NEW YORK” collection now through April 3.
Born in Osaka, Japan, Kawaguchi worked as a graphic designer and art director for an advertising agency Tokyo. Stifled by the inability to express herself creatively in the corporate world, she left her job and moved to New York to pursue a full-time career as an artist.
The two works above, titled “BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY, Central Library (L)” and “BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY, Central Library (R)” are examples of the detailed process Kawaguchi uses to weave emotion and the New York people into her work.
The background is covered in hearts from library patrons who penned what they love on each one. The faces in the pictures are those of the librarians, students, a visitor at BPL, and are printed on pages from the library’s catalogs. The drawings of the sculptures are from the library’s grand front entrance and are covered with lightly printed words and phrases from classic literature.
We recently spoke with Kawaguchi and she told us more about her art background, style, and process.
PSS: What is your art background and education?
Noboo Kawaguchi: I am a graduate of both the Nakanoshima Art School and the Visual Design Department of the Tokyo Designer Gakuin College in Japan. I have also received a Certificate of Fine Arts from Parsons The New School for Design in U.S.A.
Has your style and approach been influenced by the neighborhood?
Brooklyn and the New York area have fascinated me from the day I came to the United States. I had never seen so many different people from all over the world. Their faces and mannerisms were all so unique, and that is what inspired me to start using the faces of New Yorkers from all different ethnic backgrounds.
How would you define/describe your art and style?
I do not put a specific label on my style of artwork; rather, I prefer to focus on the emotional aspect of my art. My goal is to have each piece display a unique mixture of intense passion and sensation. I attempt to capture the human character in all its levels of intensity and absurdities.
What inspires you to create your art?
What inspires me is to try to reflect special happiness of various New Yorkers who have very different lives, but each love a city that encourages them to be different. “I ♥ NEW YORK ” is a tribute to New York’s special identity as a multinational Metropolis of freethinking people.
How do you create — what is the process?
I use a combination of silkscreen and mixed-media (hand-drawing on paper, painting on paper, and silkscreen on paper) in a collage format.
How long have you been working on the art you’ll be featuring at the Brooklyn Public Library?
Some of the pieces in the exhibition were created in 2011 and some pieces were created for my show in Tokyo in 2014. The newest pieces were created late 2015 to early 2016 which included specific faces of people who work and visit the Brooklyn Public Library.
Have you worked with Brooklyn Public Library before?
No, I was lucky to be chosen for their exhibition, but they have been very organized and extremely helpful in my preparation for the show.
What’s unique about putting together an exhibition in this particular space?
The Brooklyn Public Library was kind enough to give me enough space to present all my prints. Some of my past work is quite large and they were able to find space so I could have a full presentation of my exhibits.
They also were able to coordinate with a extremely talented photographer named Gregg Richards to create a storyboard which is in the front of my expedition which helps explains the process in which all my pieces were created. He photographed each step including the initial drawings and the numerous steps involved at the print studio.
My entire experience with the Brooklyn Public Library exhibition has been positive; and I hope, after I create new art pieces in the future, that I might be chosen to have another exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library.
The Exhibition Rundown: I ♥ NEW YORK by Noboo Kawaguchi
Where: Central Library | Brooklyn Public Library , 10 Grand Army Plaza. (Foyer Gallery Cases)
When: Through April 3 during regular library hours.
Artist’s website: Noboo Kawaguchi’s website is available here.
‘A Tree Falls In Brooklyn’: Local Wood Carver And Sculptor Eric Pesso is also featured at the exhibition. You may read more about it here.