Tacoma artist unveils GTCF award project

Tacoma artist Lisa Kinoshita recently unveiled artwork she created as a result of a $7,500 award from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF). The project, entitled ‘What You Own, Owns You,’ consists of three fiberglass purses that loosely correspond to one’s relationship with the self, the community and the world.

“Embedded in the ‘baggage’ that each of us carries is our stance toward possessions, culture, nature and politics,” Kinoshita wrote in an e-mail to the Tacoma Daily Index. “That which we touch with our thoughts, we must own, and be owned by. The objects inside the purses reflect the human impulses to vanity, self-centeredness and consumerism — but also to altruism, aesthetics, and environmental stewardship. This sculpture begs the question, ‘What’s in your bag?'”

The purses (pictured) are loaded with Tacoma symbols such as T-town tokens, a hand-cut sterling T charm, and even Almond Roca.

According to Kinoshita, the first purse is about self-interest on the surface level: eye shadow; keys; and a lipstick wrapped in the obituary of a Tacoman who lived a rich life. But the hand-made silver cuff is stamped with the title, ‘What You Own, Owns You,’ and is mounted with a tiny clay skull. It also contains a butterfly and a red, coral-like branch reaching from the surface — irrepressible symbols of the natural world.

In the second purse, the jewelry begins to look like red prayer beads, and the eyeglasses denote the need for vision. There is a gnarly seed pod embedded with pearls, a religious medal, and a ticket stub: ‘Your number: 37. When your number is called, it’s your turn for service.’ This piece expands the concept outward toward the idea of community service and again, environmental stewardship.

The third purse is misted over. An American flag is attached to a steel pencil sharpener on the side, and denotes one’s relationship to American society and the world. According to Kinoshita, some of the objects seen in the first purse are repeated because the individual becomes obscured again at this level. Inside, there is a carved wooden cuff with a silver tag marked with the word ‘Miracle.’ On a piece of paper are scribbled Voltaire’s words, ‘God is a circle whose center is everywhere, and circumference nowhere.’

The GTCF award recognizes Kinoshita’s talent and his commitment to the creative community of Pierce County, said GTCF officials in a statement on their Web site. This annual program was established by GTCF to honor professional artists living and working in Pierce County. The award is possible thanks to a fund created at the Community Foundation to support the Pierce County art community.

This year’s nominees included Kinoshita, Neil Andersson, Victoria Bjorklund, Kyle Dillehay, Jeremy Gregory, Lance Kagey, Dan Parker, James Porter, and Toot Reid. The selection committee included Amy McBride, Arts Administrator, City of Tacoma; Jp Avila, Professor of Art, Pacific Lutheran University; Rock Hushka of the Tacoma Art Museum; Susie Russell Hall, Local Artist; Kit Severson, Community Representative and Community Foundation Board Member; Rose Lincoln Hamilton, President and CEO, the Community Foundation; and Jim McDonald, Panel Moderator.

For more information about Kinoshita’s work, visit http://www.lisakinoshita.com/ .