Yukari Kaihori Interview

By August 27, 2014Artist Interviews

Yukari Kaihori Studio

Yukari Kaihori

In her studio in Wellington, New Zealand

Based in Wellington, New Zealand is an artist whose vibrant paintings capture the fluidity and fleetingness of ‘ordinary’ landscapes. I wanted to find out more…

You’ve lived in Japan, Brazil, USA, UK and now New Zealand. How has living in such different environments impacted your work?

I believe living in different cultures and cultures made me self aware of my identity since I was little. I am not sure if that has any obvious impact on my work. One great thing is I have been to museums and galleries in many countries. It is my love of nature that made me move to NZ. But, I am more interested in the universality of ordinary landscapes. Sometimes, when you are in the woods, you cannot really tell which country you are in and I like that feeling.

Under the Sky, Above the Sea I

Yukari Kaihori – Under the Sky, Above the Sea I

2012. 23.4 H x 33.1 W x 0.2 in. Oil and Acrylics on Primed Panel.

Do you paint on location or use photographs as a starting point in your studio?

Yes, I usually have a camera with me. I take pictures of the sites that appears/speak to me. I never paint on site. That is not my intention.

You often work with acrylic and oils on the same piece – can you talk a little about how you use each medium?

I use both control and uncontrolled techniques when painting. Acrylic paints are easy to control. Then I dilute oil paints on paper so it runs on the surface to make the uncontrolled parts of the paintings.

Yukari Kaihori Interview - Painting in the Studio

Yukari’s painting process up close in the studio.

Do you do a lot of sketching and preparatory studies or do you jump straight into your paintings?

I jump into the painting directly. I change the compositions – the whole picture depends on how the paints run on the surface.

Any advice for someone just starting out as an artist or considering going to college?

I am not in any place to give anyone advice. But I would say to myself, in one’s early twenties – work, work, work and produce more work. It’s the only way to actually get somewhere rather than gaining a degree.

Yukari Kaihori Interview - Studio

Surrounded by nature and light – the perfect birthplace for Yukari’s paintings.

Is the process of painting a joy, a struggle or somewhere in between?

Either. It’s the only challenge I don’t mind doing for good.

Your work moves seamlessly between rural landscapes, paths and roads and suburban scenes. What’s your process for settling on a location to paint?

I like walking. I take a camera daily when going grocery shopping or when I go tramping for weeks. When I find a scene, which is ordinary but somehow speaks to me, I take photos. My work is not realistic but my interpretation of what I saw and a reconstruction of memories. Sometimes the photos aren’t that great as I often take photos when running or from moving car.


Paint goes on a dotted wander around the exhibition walls.

Can you describe a typical working day for you?

Get up around 7am, work in the studio until after noon. (have countless coffees and tea). Have lunch. Depending on how wet the surfaces are, I do paper works (admin stuff) and go back to paint until 4 or 5pm. Then, go for trail running. Some days I mostly do errands like going to framers, suppliers, etc. I try to maintain a regular schedule just as if I had a regular job.

Traditional Japanese art has often celebrated the beauty of nature through landscape. Is that something you feel particularly connected to?

I was not aware of this until my friend pointed that out to me, “you are working on Mono no Aware, right?” ( literally “the pathos of things”). Yes, I think I am connected to something similar to Shintoism how I view the world.

Yukari Kaihori - Tree Painting

A fitting red dot sits beside a sold Yukari Kaihori painting.

Our Yukari Kaihori interview concludes with a big thanks to Yukari for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing the studio and exhibition images.

To see more of Yukari’s work check out our Yukari Kaihori page.