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Maya Sato

Nominated by DePaul University

I grew up in a multiracial family with exposure to diverse cultures and ideas. My family travelled often to visit relatives/friends in other countries, and we regularly hosted refugees, international students, and others in need. I feel this upbringing normalized difference in all aspects of life, forming my focus as an artist: how and why people’s worldviews and perspectives differ, and what informs their identities.

Conceptually, I tend draw on lived experiences, especially from my childhood/home. The construction and deconstruction of the whole is a ubiquitous theme in my work, in part because I grew up constantly examining and re-examining my mixed cultural/racial identity. This, combined with having exposure to a range of cultures and worldviews, conditioned me to expect and examine the complexities of all ideas and people I encounter.

Aesthetically, my work involves concentrated care in mark-making and detail, and often employs multiples. I work primarily in drawing and printmaking, as those media allow me to control texture, detail, and/or produce multiples. Many pieces are based on representation—either tangentially or explicitly—of imagery related to my identity/upbringing, or examining the individual and the collective. Within this focus, I move between manipulating scale or perspective, at times encouraging the viewer to look closer at how a feeling or idea is conveyed, or, conversely, to consider the construction/deconstruction of a work with many discernable parts. In this way, I want to prompt the viewer to think of how parts inform the whole and vice versa.

Image: Working Hands, 2017

Resident year: 
2017
Cohort Group: 
Artist Resident