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EIKO SOGA / ARTIST, RESEARCHER AND TUTOR


Please tell us a bit about yourself.


Living and working in England and Japan, I work with moving image, photography, poetry, and installation to explore how our sensory knowledge-based engagement contributes to a diverse ecosystem of the more-than-human world. My work uses storytelling as a way to observe and document how ephemeral and intangible aspects of everyday processes can lead to bigger phenomena such as collectiveness and the development of culture.


What made you choose this career?


I have always enjoyed drawing, making, observing, and imagining different stories. It was a natural path to choose art as something I wanted to do in my life. I enjoy being around creative people and they introduce world to me that is exciting and magical. Through workshops, artist talks, and learning and teaching environment, I can exchange knowledge with variety of people which I find exciting. I also find it rewarding to engage with social issues through a perspective of an artist which can support gentler, slower, and thoughtful approaches.



Did you go through formal education? If so, what did you study and where? If not please explain your journey.


Yes. I studied at Chelsea College of Art (BA), The Slade School of Art (MFA), and The Ruskin School of Art (PhD). All schools offered different experiences and I enjoyed them in different ways. Doing foundation course at Central Saint Martins was one of the most fun times. I learnt most from having friends who have interesting ideas and experimental approaches to their work.


Did this have a positive or negative impact on your chosen career?


I don’t know another career properly, so it’s hard to say. I’m grateful for the work opportunities I’ve been fortunate to have so far. People often say it is hard to live as an artist which I think is true. But, if you can meet people and make friends with people who can share support and passion for each other, there are many different ways to pursue a creative career.



Who inspires you?

My friends, natural environment, social injustice and inequality, artists such as a female film maker Agnes Varda, and Ainu elder called Ms Kane Kumagai in Hokkaido Japan… I’m inspired by people who know how to have fun and be mischievous while understanding the hardship of life. I think they are all feminists.


What’s the scariest thing about your job and how have you overcome it?

My work requires slowness, paying attention to details, and research which take time and do not see results in obvious way – I find it exciting when my work can touch people’s imagination. We live in a world where being fast and making money is core part of the society. Current government’s priorities in profit making business do not align with a way I would like to work. It can feel threatening to work in a way that I do.



What do you want to change about your industry?


Not only the industries I engage with, but I wish the world to be free from any discrimination against race, gender, age, or non-human beings.


What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your field?


I don’t feel I can give any good advice. But I find my everyday more fruitful if I listen to what my body tells me rather than listening to societal or cultural prejudice. Make friends who can share joy and curiosity. Sleep and eat well.

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