Japanese Artists Who Call Bushwick Home Appreciate its Freedom by Miyuki Inoue

If you were born amongst the blossoming cherry trees of Japan where sculpture, ink painting and calligraphy traditions go all the way back to 10th millennium BC, would you ever consider moving to …Bushwick? Well, several Japanese artists did, and we spoke with three of them about their Bushwick beginnings, and about finding home in the neighborhood of pigeon flocks, bodegas, warehouses, and freedom, as they all say. Despite getting mugged here and there, it’s worth it, they say….

Sophia Chizuco has been living in New York since 2000, and Bushwick is the neighborhood she calls her home. In her artistic practice, she creates paper lampshades with eggshell and abstract patterns in delicate colors. When she moved to the neighborhood five years ago, Bushwick was “so dangerous,” she said. She was mugged and her iPhone was stolen. But she still likes it here. “I like Bushwick’s cutting-edge and raw art,” she said. “The art we cannot distinguish from garbage on the street also gives me a free mindset for my work.”

Bushwick’s well-established support system for artists also helps her a lot, she said. Chizuco found a mentor and learned how to apply for competitions and get more chances to exhibit. She is now a mentor to younger artists.

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