• Home
  • Program Activities
  • Library
  • Publications
  • Calendar of Events


US-Japan Creative Artists Program Facebook Page

2016 Artists


LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Interdisciplinary Poet, Vocalist, Curator

May 1 – September 1, 2016

A native Harlem resident, much of LaTasha Diggs’ poetry is embedded with the risks involved with locating social histories in different cultures. In her work she examines Black English, appropriation, code-switching, and language as a source of cultural expression, developing her own global lexicon through the splicing together of multiple languages. In Japan, Diggs will research and develop a collection of flash prose – part memoir and part travelogue – entitled Tuna Melt, which will explore themes and topics relating to the Japanese appropriation of hip-hop culture and house music, misconceptions of identities, the food additive monosodium glutamate, as well as Japanese anime, cinema, photography, and music. She plans to interview poets and musicians, and to also study butoh and taiko drumming.

Photo: Varni

Alex Dodge, Visual Artist

October 1 - December 31, 2016

Alex Dodge is a visual artist from Brooklyn, New York, whose work has been known to combine computer code and digital fabrication methods with more traditional media and art making techniques. In recent years, his drawings, works on canvas, and wood sculpture have used computation and computer-assisted tools in combination with the traditional forms, materials, and techniques such as those used by practitioners of miyadaiku, a form of traditional Japanese carpentry involving the use of elaborate wooden joints to construct temples and shrines. In Japan, Dodge plans to travel to Hyogo Prefecture to study with miyadaiku artisans and craftsmen, as well as to visit sites in Kyoto and Nara that are exemplary structures of miyadaiku construction. He plans to later establish a temporary studio in Tokyo to begin working with the materials and tools available to him locally.


Graham Kolbeins, Filmmaker

April 1 - September 1, 2016

Graham Kolbeins is a queer filmmaker, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles. Over the last few years, his work has engaged in the study and celebration of Japanese LGBTQ art through a variety of media including film, books, and a line of clothing featuring the artworks of gay Japanese artists. He has made three short documentary films on the subject, the latest of which is titled The House of Gay Art. He now plans to develop a feature-length documentary regarding both contemporary and historical manifestations of Japanese LGBTQ life and culture, a project that will also take shape in the form of an online series, gallery exhibitions, and a book of photography including extended interviews. He plans to visit with and document interviews with a wide range of people, including community leaders and activists, artists, politicians, and historians.


marksearch (Bruce Douglas & Sue Mark), Interdisciplinary Artists

May 1 - October 1, 2016

Based in Oakland, California, Bruce Douglas and Sue Mark of marksearch refer to themselves as conversation artists, and as such, they “engage people in collaborative expressions of nearly extinct local history as a way to expose and deepen multi-faceted bonds between people and their environments.” Their art practice is deeply research-based, community-based, and interactive – much of their output is in the form of public projects that intimately engage with the personal histories of the people of a specific community. In Japan, they plan to investigate both the formal and informal methods used to support and sustain the creation of social memory – the collective knowledge of a group over time. Springboarding off of their interest in the mingei (Folk Crafts) movement, they will visit small cities and rural villages to study the ways in which traditional art and life practices have been preserved, or have adapted to change, as well as the effects of rural depopulation, artist-in-residence programs, and the consideration of audiences on the local and global level for such material.


Piper Shepard, Textile Artist

May 1 - August 1, 2016

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Piper Shepard cuts whole cloth into lace-like filigree patterns by hand, creating patterns in the textiles that are at times highly structural and at others, more freely designed. Her work investigates the physical tolerance and qualities of cloth, considering cloth as a skin or membrane, while also considering its ability to sustain, absorb, and hold history and memory. Her large-scale textiles reference architectural elements that act as screens, curtain walls and veils. In Japan, Shepard will study the multiple steps in the creation of a patterned and printed textile, with particular focus on katagami (pattern cutting) and katazome (pattern dyeing) techniques. She plans to travel to Mie prefecture to observe master stencil carvers, Shikoku to study papermaking, indigo dyeing and katazome, and Kyoto to experience dyeing and yuzen (paste resist). In addition to experiencing the various techniques involved, Shepard’s research will also address the history and cultural contexts of these traditional arts.

For profiles and photos of previous artists, please click on the year | 2015 | | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | | 1978-1998 | Artists' Profiles TOP |  JAPANESE

2015 Artists

Julian Barnett, Choreographer

October, 2015

Julian_Barnett_SJulian Barnett is a dancer, choreographer, and “an artist creating performance-based works” – which is to say that even while operating primarily in dance communities, his approach to the art is unbound by convention, and open to a rigorous, collaborative, and empathetic consideration of how to perform with and through the human body. During his residency, he plans to explore several facets of dance and movement in Japan – including butoh through the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio, specifically examining the form’s evolution through female practitioners, contemporary dance with Yamazaki Kota and Nishimura Mina, and kendo at the Tokyo Kyumeikan Dojo. Barnett is of half-Japanese descent, and thus also hopes to get better acquainted with his own heritage through this process.

Katie Cercone, Interdisciplinary Visual Artist

February, 2015

Katie_Cercone_SKatie Cercone is an interdisciplinary artist who creates hip hop feminist performative video sculpture. The “embodied feminism” in these works reflects a cross-pollination of hip hop spirituality, Goddess archetypes, and pop culture mythmaking. Cercone, with a background in gender studies, connects hip hop to feminism through its counter-hegemonic discourse, Neo-Jungian notions of “cultural dreaming,” and emphasis on the posse, or crew, arguing that these are all relevant to a transnational feminist agenda. These goals are also shared with the Go! Push Pop Collective, for which she is Co-Director. In Japan, she plans to research the appropriation of American hip hop culture as manifest in blackface, or the “ganguro” phenomenon, and “identifying the very culturally specific ways Japanese youth are adopting hip hop and ‘black’ cool.” In addition to research, her plans also include the creation of a collaborative video and performance, including Japanese members of the hip hop and ganguro scenes.
Photo: Marie Tomanoval

George Ferrandi, Visual and Performance Artist

June, 2015

George_Ferrandi_SThough performance, installation, and sculpture figure largely in her work, the wide range of media employed by George Ferrandi is resonant with her open and conceptual approach to art – one that is deeply responsive to the various sites and situations that call for it. Her projects, often communal and participatory, have fashioned new approaches to spectacle, narrative, ritual, and collaboration. Ferrandi’s current project is a large-scale interdisciplinary festival celebrating the phenomenon of Axial Precession, which will incorporate “illuminated sculpture, a celestial choir, choreographed processional dancers and a league of women drummers.” In Japan, Ferrandi plans to reside in Aomori Prefecture to witness and participate in preparations for the Nebuta Festival, where she hopes to witness the fabrication, wiring, and painting of the illuminated floats used in the festival, as well as engaging with experts and craftspeople of the tradition.

Paul Kikuchi, Composer

April, 2015

Paul_kikuchi_SPaul Kikuchi is a percussionist, composer, and sound artist whose work explores a wide range of styles – from chamber music to experimental jazz – while also considering specificity of site and material, differences in awareness and intention, along with aspects of history, experience, and perception. His current project is a song-cycle based on the written memoir and 78 rpm record collection of his great-grandfather, Zenkichi Kikuchi. This project involves aspects of Japanese history, music (gagaku and enka), and papermaking (washi), and will involve in-depth research of the time and place during which Zenkichi lived. The works include original compositions as well as “re-imaginations” that integrate songs from his great-grandfather’s collection with new material based on his excavations and explorations.
Photo: Liz Tunnel

Monique Truong, Novelist

March, 2015

Monique_Truong_SMonique Truong is a Vietnamese American novelist and essayist whose previous books have featured characters who traverse cultures, including a Vietnamese cook in the Paris home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and a Vietnamese adoptee in the American South. Her current project is a novel based on the life of Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), as told through the voices of the four most important women in his cross-cultural life. In Japan, Truong plans to spend her time in Tokyo, while also visiting Matsue, Kumamoto Prefecture, where the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum is housed in the building that was once home to Hearn and his Japanese wife, Setsuko. For Truong, Hearn’s life is of particular interest because of the “mixing of cultures, family abandonment, travel, [and] search for home.” Her novel, The Book of Salt, has also been published in Japanese translation (with the same title).
Photo: Michele Panduri Metalli

For profiles and photos of previous artists, please click on the year
| 2015 |
| 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 |
| 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 |
| 1978-1998 | Artists' Profiles TOP |  JAPANESE