Entry #39 – 「Mov{ve}ment」Releases Tomorrow

You must be here with me
You are one part of me
You won’t let go
I won’t let go
So every night you hear me say
You are one part of me
But I won’t be you

– HYDE, 「TWO FACE」
lyrics from Genius

Hey folks, it’s Kohaku. I hope you’re doing okay in these particularly rough times.

Tomorrow I will be publishing a new work called 「Mo{ve}ment」. This is a poetry mini-compilation that I’ve been conceptualizing and writing for the past few weeks. Please look forward to it and let me know what you think!

Recently I have been focused on redirecting the flow and purpose of my works… to not just convey a specific, concrete emotion or idea, but to share, to reach and envelop people with a thought or a feeling, even if that thought or feeling is vague and indescribable. Art always is, after all, a mutual, interrelational experience, and some of the best artworks, I think, are those that make audiences think or feel something even if they don’t know how, don’t know why, don’t even know what. Ideas about this started to take form with the paired stories Synchronicity and Affinity, and this concept will be one of my main focuses on the short-term going forward.

I had a bit of a hard time writing this week. I really for some reason had remarkably low inspiration and motivation. But these things come and go, like everything – and I have just come off a high point, I think, since I’ve finished a lot of projects in the past few weeks. So for this week I’ll try to rest and recover and get some new projects started soon.

Is everyone taking care of their loved ones? Reach out to people you know, even if you haven’t talked to them in a long time. Check in frequently on your friends, your family, people around you. It’s important for us – always, but particularly in times of increased danger and stress – to make active efforts to look after those we love. And don’t just say it – do it. When it comes to love, the stakes are high. You never know whose life you might save. Go right now and give someone a call, and make sure you ask how they are feeling and what they may need or want from you. In this world we’ve made, we can’t make it alone.

Take care of yourselves.

KT

Drawing Cover Art [Sketches]

Hey all!

Given the completion of Taiga yesterday, I thought it’s a fair time to share a new side project I will be working on. I’m going to get back to drawing and sketch some character art/cover art for my writing projects. I haven’t done any serious drawing in a long time, so there’s gonna be a learning or re-learning curve here, but let’s just see how it goes.

The following are the first two panels of me working out ideas for Taiga‘s cover art (big jump from #1 to #2, hey!):

preliminary sketch, panel 1: shadowy figure in rain, wreathed in lines of sheet music and ribbon coming from nearby knife
preliminary sketch, panel 2: viewer-facing figure with mouth covered by lines of music, knife dripping blood that becomes ribbon around the figure's arm, book title and author's name

The next few panels will probably be pretty similar to #2, just cleaning it up and maybe adding a thing or two; don’t know if I’ll share those if they end up being basically the finished product. I’ve never been very good at drawing, it’s just kind of a fun thing and entertaining to sometimes publish things I do that aren’t writing. Final artworks will be used as featured images on all published parts of the book as well as thumbnails for the longer works page – noticed I need more images on the blog, loads of writing can get pretty bland!

Well, that’s all for now. You all take care of yourselves.

~KT

Entry #31 – Feeling Normal; Recent Music and Art Projects

移り行く世界は 片隅の君に会えて嬉しい
溢れそうな思いを 言葉にできなかったよ
いつかまた会えたら もっとうまく伝えられるかな
遥かな虹を越えて
GOOD LUCK MY WAY
信じる道へ

– L’Arc~en~Ciel, 「GOOD LUCK MY WAY」
lyrics from JpopAsia

Hi everyone, it’s Kohaku. Hope you’re all doing well.

A few days ago, one of my dear friends got back in touch with me. They aren’t always around working internet nowadays, so it had been a while since we really talked; I’m incredibly happy. Simply put, they make me feel normal again. They make me feel like myself, and once we had both poured out onto each other all of our recent activities and hardships, I had a sudden sense of relief and a lot of the emotional burdens that had been making me feel not like myself just vanished. So, I’m glad to say that I’m feeling a lot better compared to the past few weeks. What about you all? Who, or what, makes you feel like you – and have you connected with them recently?

Right now, I’m listening to LUNA SEA’s newest album, CROSS. I listened to it once soon after it came out, but honestly didn’t pay all that much attention; I’ve never been a huge fan of LUNA SEA, so I was just casually checking it out rather than really taking in the art. However, this time I’m listening to it much more closely, and I have to say that it’s growing on me! Some tracks are really very nice, and as far as my limited experience with the band goes, the whole album has a very typical calm, dreamy LUNA SEA vibe. My favorite tracks are probably「THE BEYOND」and 「悲壮美」.

Also, it’s pretty unrelated, but one of my friends has been having me listen to BTS’s new album lately, since they’re a fan of the band. It’s not my kind of music, for sure, and I’ve never listened to much K-pop before… I guess I’m broadening my musical experience though, which is always good!

In the past week or so, I’ve been exploring ways to actually use my art, connect with other artists, and put my creations out into the world. I’m thinking of sending my paper cranes to an organization I’ve recently come across called Tsuru for Solidarity. Built on the memories and lessons of Japanese American WWII internment, Tsuru for Solidarity is a social justice project that brings strings of thousands of cranes to protests across the United States to peacefully stand against the detention of immigrants and refugees and related issues. I think their intentions and achievements have been incredible, and since I keep making cranes but have nothing better to do with them, I’ll probably string them and send them along to this org!

As for my writing, I saw a flyer some days back calling for QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) submissions to an art reception at my local Cross-Cultural Center. The deadline for submissions is in three weeks. I’m planning on sending in Love Letters to the World We Made – once it’s fully completed, of course. Hopefully I’ll have it done by then. The writing itself isn’t that hard, and each part of the collection is pretty short, but it’s emotionally heavy and I don’t always want to work on it. It’ll be really exciting if I can get it in for this event though, so I’ll do my best.

Alright, that’s pretty much all I had to say. Have you all been doing anything interesting lately? I feel a little more secure now that I’m moving forward, and I’d love to hear what you are going through, too.

Take care of yourselves and see you next time.

KT

Everything is a Symbol [Crafts]

Hi all,

Here’s a wood ornament I painted and drew yesterday. My dear friend K and I have been doing a lot of crafts like these recently.

Here’s a question: who do you think the two people on the ornament are? It’s completely subjective, like most things. Every person will interpret it differently. As for me, well, who can say? Let’s save that story for another day.

Thanksgiving is approaching. Everyone be safe traveling home.

KT

Entry #13 – 「C.U. Again」 Reflection, Art and Artists

Hey everyone! Kohaku here. I hope you all had a great week. How’s October coming along?

「C.U. Again」 was released this past Monday. How was it? Even though they were equally personal, I feel like the theme in this compilation was more obvious, or at least more tangible, than the theme in 「HIRAETH」. I didn’t really explain the personal aspects of 「HIRAETH」 all that much, but I decided I’d talk about 「C.U. Again」 for a little bit in this week’s journal entry.

Put simply, 「C.U. Again」 is about a person who is the main reason I’m still alive.

I haven’t discussed my journey with depression much on this blog, even though I’ve been open about it from the start. I consider depression as one of the major aspects of my life – it influences the things I do and how I see the world, and this bleeds into my artwork and writing. Anyway, it’s been a wild ride, and I’m not going to go into all of it, just enough to give some context to this compilation.

I was suicidal in middle school and had been going through a bad time since late elementary school, and this person in 「C.U. Again」 saved my life. Without him, I am fairly certain I would not be here today. I also probably wouldn’t be writing. He did a lot for me, and he is no longer here, and so the poems in 「C.U. Again」 are about him in a general sense.

I’m glad I wrote this compilation, even though it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. Looking forward, I don’t really have any big writing projects right now. I’m still (slowly) working on the serial pieces like Taiga and Chasing Life With You, but life is getting busier and busier, so I can’t be sure when I’ll finish them. In the meantime, as I said before, I’ll probably mainly be turning out tanka. I also have some visual and musical projects coming up – eventually.

Seriously, why does life get so busy? I wish we all had more time for art. I think the world would be better if there were more artists of all kinds. More art, less war, that’s my policy.

This week, make time for art. It can be anything. Start learning a musical instrument. Do some arts and crafts with your child. Go outside and take some photos of the sunset. Or sit down and write a poem. Really, anything… it will make the world (and your life) better!

Take care of yourselves,

KT

Paper Cranes Progress Update

Hi, everyone.

As we near the end of summer, I’m just about finished with this bag of paper cranes. These are all the color patterns within the red and orange stacks, minus a few that will be coming along soon. I haven’t counted, but there’s probably a few hundred in there! Now, what to do with them…?

I mentioned last time that I want to do a world peace project with my cranes, but I’m still not sure what it’s going to look like. Suggestions, anyone? Let me know in the comments or leave an email!

Take care. Everyone go make some art.

KT