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My Worker is Working from Home and She is a Painter
Yuko Nishikawa

Yuko Nishikawa is a Japanese designer/contemporary ceramicist based in Brooklyn, NY, specializing in fantastical installations, whimsical lighting and sculptures. With an Interior and Industrial Design background, she handcrafts one-of-a-kind lamps, chandeliers, sculptures, vases and tableware. //(Pre-Covid-19) She also runs a monthly Salon at Forest, a gathering and conversation of creative minds.

We asked her some questions about her quarantine painting project.

BR: You started this project in March. How long did you expect to be creating new paintings every day?


YN: I set out to make one painting everyday of my quarantine not knowing how long it would take for me to return to my ceramic studio. At first four weeks seemed a reasonable time to resume the “normal” activities and pretty soon it became apparent that the virus would stay with us much longer. In the middle of the project I returned to my ceramic studio but I decided I would continue the project until the 100th painting. 

BR: What was the goal of this project? 

YN: The goal of the project was to complete one painting everyday. It helped me structure my day and motivated me to maintain a good eating and sleeping habit. 

BR: Did you have any obstacles to a daily painting practice that you had to overcome?

YN: I don’t think I did. If I did, I don’t remember. Getting new supplies like paper, paints and packaging materials were much slower than what I was used to and I did not know how to properly pack and ship paintings at first, but I figured that out along the way. 

BR: What drove your decisions about materials, color, and design? Did those factors change throughout the project?


YN: Throughout the project I focused on happy, joyful, uplifting and comforting colors and expressions for this series. I also thought about skin, touch and plants.


I would start with an overall feeling I wanted to make in the painting, like, a piece that felt like funny-looking beans dangling from trees, or something like feathery and fuzzy and being snuggled in a blanket, or something comforting like woven fabric, or something fun like board games and chewing gum. Sometimes I would just get excited by new color tubes arriving in the mail and think about how I wanted to show that color. These were only starting points and the designs changed as I painted. I didn’t plan or draw out a final pattern. For some more geometric designs I made guiding marks which can also shift during the painting process. 

BR: What are your other creative practices and interests? Do you find that your paintings are enriched by your other disciplines?


YN: I’ve been intensely working with ceramics for the past 6 years. I designed furniture for about a decade. Before that, I worked in interior design studios. When I was a kid, I made drawings, played the violin and rode a unicycle. I love the ocean and cheese, I enjoy strolling alone, eating and playing the piano, and find plants amusing. All these things creep into my work.  


I really enjoyed seeing colors as I paint and working non-stop until completing a piece. This was a refreshing change from ceramics which I would not see the final results until after many hours of firing after days and weeks of drying. 


This painting project trained me to complete one task at a time and seemed to have a positive effect on my ceramic studio practice. I worked less haphazardly and in a more organized manner.

BR: This project was confined in space and time. How does setting play a role in these works? In this practice?


YN: It made the scope of the project simple and clear. Because of that, I felt free to explore - free in use of color and in expressions.

BR: Now that you've stopped publishing a new painting every day, how do you regard your 100 days of this project?


YN: It was a luxurious time to be able put my creative focus and energy into painting and to be able to make new friends.  I would go for a walk early in the morning, come back to have breakfast, and start painting at 8:30. I would paint for hours until lunch and some days a few more hours after the lunch break. I exchanged messages with people who have seen these paintings. Some of them started painting themselves, being inspired by this project. 


Painting was something I always wanted to do but I never made time for doing it. The pandemic forced me to find a project I could make from home, and gave me the time to spend on things I kept on my wish list. In a way this project serves me as a journal. With each painting I remember where I was sitting, at what point in the painting process I took a lunch break, and if a storm came in the afternoon.


You can find more of Yuko's work at her website as well as the complete collection of her quarantine painting project at

the lady

simon lowe

hand raised


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