Episode 20: What Are You? (w/ Shohei Katayama)

On this episode, I visited Shohei Katayama’s studio in Pittsburgh. Shohei received his B.A. in Studio Art from Bellarmine University in 2010 and is currently working towards his Master of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. His work includes line drawings, sculpture, and conceptual installation art. Shohei writes that the Great East Earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant leak and meltdown led to a major turning point in his artistic practice. His work began to examine anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including issues related to sustainability, pollution, and natural disasters. Shohei wants his work to point us towards and insert us in a world where there is still hope—and activate a future where there are still dreams.

Although I graduated before Shohei began his MFA, our times did overlap as I stayed a year to teach in Pittsburgh. It has been wonderful to follow how Shohei has developed as an artist and I was excited to chat with him as he neared the end of his program. At the time of our interview, Shohei just got back from the Arctic Circle, which we talk about at length. More recently, that particular work Shohei created from that residency won the MTV RE:DEFINE Art Award, which came with a cash prize and solo exhibition in Dallas. I am looking forward to seeing where Shohei goes to next with his art. In any case, I hope you enjoy this.

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