Gaku Tsutaja

Gaku Tsutaja was born and grew up in Japan; she obtained BFA with honors from Tokyo Zokei University of Art and Designs, Tokyo, Japan in 1998. In the same year, she was granted Research Fellowship at Center for Contemporary Art Kitayusyu (CCA), Fukuoka, Japan, and spent a year as a residency artist there. CCA is renowned for its interdisciplinary program for emerging and established international artists; Tsutaja’s care and attention to community and her genuine interests in an artistic dialogue that goes beyond nationalities and borders were first developed here. In 2006, she moved to New York in hopes of finding a base to pursue her career as an artist. She has lived and worked in NY for last 11 years and is currently a MFA candidate at SUNY Purchase College, year of 2018.

Tsutaja’s works have been shown in numerous exhibitions including; Make a World, Nitehiworks, Kanazawa, Japan (2012); First Look 2010 Emerging Artist Series New Tale for Our Age, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ (2009); Independent Drawing Gig 3, Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives Exhibition Space, Hague, Holland (2007); Password, Center for Contemporary Graphic Art, Fukushima, Japan (2004); Blind Date, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark (2002). She was also a part of an artists collaborative unit Gansomaeda, and exhibited works at Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan (2005), CHANNEL_0, Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Yamaguchi, Japan (2004), and other exhibition projects.

Tsutaja is represented by Ulterior Gallery in New York, NY, and her first solo show with the gallery will open on September 16th, 2017.

My work resides in the space between reality and fantasy. Events that have influenced my sense of security such as disaster and the hardship of being an immigrant, are the triggers for the work. My protagonists and storytellers are often animals and objects. The world I create consists of many layers, and I've found a way to travel (warp) between these layers. I consider them multiple parallel universes which are becoming greater and more complex as the work evolves. It will still take time for me to find the answers I seek within it.

Gaku in his studio.

Gaku in his studio.

Q&A with Gaku Tsutaja

Questions by Emily Burns