Izumi Yokoyama At Magpie

Before I left Taos for a week on the Northern California Coast, I dropped by Magpie at the Overland Ranch Complex.

Georgia had just hung a new show and was excited about sharing it here on taoStyle.

Izumi Yokoyama’s show, Dreamer On The Mesa is captivating, thought-provoking and extremely powerful. I was so taken with the work I decided to contact Izumi by email and ask if she’d answer a few questions. She generously responded with the answers you’ll read here. Her beautiful show opens this Saturday and if you happen to be in Taos, don’t miss it!

For one thing, her work is truly extraordinary and unique, and for another, Georgia’s openings are great fun, bringing together artists, writers, art lovers and other elusive Taosenos who all seem to emerge at Magpie!

That goes for Izumi as well.

1) Could you tell us about the recurring animal and  bird motifs in these works?

I lived in a quite isolated neighborhood on the mesa where I drove 7 miles on a dirt road to get to. There were encounters with wild animals, such as coyotes, rattle snakes, other snakes, sheep, ravens, horses, humming birds etc. Some were frequent visitors and others I only saw them every once in a while. I was also raising many numbers of hens and roosters taking care of broody and her chicks. Coyotes, who I only heard them at evening and night, showed their appearances repeatedly in the last year of my mesa life. I began to feel spiritual relationship with them. That is when these images in my drawings developed.

2) Please tell my readers about your life here in Taos and how it has informed your work…and where you came here from?

I moved to Taos from California when I was pregnant with my son 7 years ago. Life in California was quite a busy one and I was more than ready to focus on being a mother and slow down a little bit. I am grateful that I made that decision to move here. I have two children who are 6 years old and 15 months old. I work at Taos International School as an art teacher teaching Kindergarten through 8th grade. I truly enjoy working with children. I also taught Japanese calligraphy at elementary schools in Taos and painted a mural of coyote for Del Norte Elementary school gym in the past few years.

3) Can you please share a little of your creative process?

3) For my ink pen drawings, I start with small sketches to visualize my ideas. I often write words and sentence that come to me with the sketch. Once I have clear vision on what the drawing will be, I draw with pencil on the paper to get the right composition. I draw details with pencils only when I am working with the animal faces. When they are trees or woods, pencil lines are very abstract just to remember where they go and I often don’t even follow the lines later with ink. Once I start drawing with pen, it is intense because there is no option of erasing the lines, but once I get in the groove, it is also meditative.

Thank you Izumi for taking the time to respond, and thanks to Georgia Gersh for continuing to showcase lesser known artists here in Taos.

Izumi Yokoyama’s show Dreamer On The Mesa opens at Magpie this Saturday May 6th from 5-7pm.

For more information please visit Magpie’s website linked below this post.


All images c/o Izumi Yokoyama and Magpie