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Kazuki Takizawa Uses Glass Art to Address Mental Health Issues

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 03/07/2024

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Kazuki Takizawa’s 2015 installation entitled Breaking the Silence represents the artist’s interpretation of a person’s breaking point and the juxtaposition of balancing inner struggles with oppressive external forces. The installation incorporated performance aspects and sound, where slanted vessels filled with water until submitting to the liquid’s weight, falling over onto a table. Takizawa’s work provided a new perspective for interacting with glass, going beyond form and technique to provoke a deeper level of engagement. Impressed by how humble and open Takizawa was...

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Kazuki Takizawa’s 2015 installation entitled Breaking the Silence represents the artist’s interpretation of a person’s breaking point and the juxtaposition of balancing inner struggles with oppressive external forces. The installation incorporated performance aspects and sound, where slanted vessels filled with water until submitting to the liquid’s weight, falling over onto a table. Takizawa’s work provided a new perspective for interacting with glass, going beyond form and technique to provoke a deeper level of engagement.

Impressed by how humble and open Takizawa was when discussing the deeply personal experiences reflected within his art, Emily Zaiden, director and curator at Craft In America Center, Los Angeles, offered the artist a solo exhibition. She states: “I was drawn in by Takizawa’s metaphorical use of the material to articulate new themes through new forms and new applications. He is dealing with subject matter that has been untouched and under-represented, particularly in his medium, and sharing this vital message through compelling sculptural works of beauty is perfectly in line with our mission.”

For Takizawa’s 2017 Craft in America exhibition, Catharsis Contained, the artist designed and fabricated another unique installation, creating an aural experience produced by suspending colored glass bulbs enclosed in a swaying metal structure. The rocking motion of the work, entitled Breaking the Silence II, caused the blown bulbs to gently bump into one another, producing a soothing, tinkling sound inspired by the artist’s visit to a temple in Thailand. Takizawa combined a sonic atmosphere with the rich visual experience of repeated glass forms in various subdued hues to inspire a conversation about a topic rarely addressed in art – suicide. The work was inspired by the artist’s struggles to support his brother who has wrestled with mental health issues and suicidal ideation. 

https://www.kazukitakizawa.com/breaking-the-silence-2?pgid=j6vrle9h-71bf472c-84df-4a19-b456-59e74a495e43

As an artist who himself lives with bipolar disorder, Takizawa uses glass as a means to explore his inner reality and destigmatize mental illness. With an aim to give the invisible shape, Takizawa crafts elaborate vessels and installations, each with a unique story. Universally rooted in a dialogue around mental health, his series examines broad themes such as attaining minimalism among chaos as well as his personal narratives around the topic of living with Bipolar Disorder and suicide prevention. Takizawa has traveled to numerous communities in and outside the US to share his work and act as an advocate for mental illness. His practice offers an uncommon and inclusive space to increase awareness and start a conversation. 
 
Takizawa is a Japanese glass artist based in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BFA in glass art in 2010 and owns and runs KT Glassworks, LLC in the historic West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Takizawa’s work was exhibited in Monochromatic, which opened at Duncan McClellan Gallery (DMG) in St. Petersburg, Florida, on February 10 and included his latest Minimalist series. A few pieces from his Container series can be seen at Hawk Galleries, Columbus, Ohio, and additional sculptures are on view in an exhibition called The Optics of Now: SoCal Glass at Palos Verdes Art Center, curated by Zaiden from Craft in America Center. The show runs through April 13, 2024. From November 1 through December 25, Takizawa’s work will be exhibited at the Glass Invitational exhibition at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2024, the artist endeavors to offer more artist talks with a focus on his perspective on mental health. 

Says Takizawa: “I started speaking about mental health including my experience living with bipolar disorder and suicide prevention back in 2015, wondering if I would ever regret this decision. But the entire journey since then has been nothing but empowering, and I don’t regret this at all. I just wanted to be someone who could freely speak about things related to mental health without the stigma. And I felt the need to do something about helping someone who had suicidal ideation at the time. Since then, I have continued to make new work to support my story and to continue speaking.”

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Just dial 988.