The Studio Project: Sequoyah Aono

A Studio in Brooklyn, New York.

I am a sculptor, and my studio is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I came to New York in 2008 and started taking Seiji Saito’s carving class at the League. He became my mentor. Mr. Saito knew the owner of a studio near his place in Brooklyn, which used to be the private art studio of Japanese sculptor, Mr. Toshio Sasaki, who passed away in 2007. (Sasaki was a professor at Aichi University of Arts in Japan at that time). Mr. Sasaki made a lot of gigantic sculptures, monuments, and reliefs, and was known for his public works, particularly The First Symphony of the Sea at the New York Aquarium on Coney Island. So this spacious studio was designed and built for his own use to create his various works. It was an ideal studio, equipped with all the necessary facilities. Mr. Saito’s studio is within walking distance, and I know this area is safe and nice. Mr. Saito introduced me to Mr. Sasaki’s wife and asked her to rent her late husband’s studio to a group of us sculptors. She is very supportive especially to young artists from Asia. At that time, sculptor Kiyomia Daisuke was one of us. She answered “yes,” and I’m here!

This studio is my ideal to create any kind of work, whatever I can think of: I like the high ceiling with a crane — I can hoist and move the heavy stuff easily. And my studiomates are all nice artists and we influence and help each other on current projects and future works. Plus the owner is supportive, introducing or connecting us to other artists. When I’m in the studio, I feel like I can keep working and creating without limit and untiringly. I really don’t know why this studio makes me so, though I like its atmosphere and ethos, which I can’t explain in words. Most of the time I’m in the studio working, but not late at night because I usually make a lot of noise and dust, using a chainsaw, chisels, etc.

When I started living in NYC, I found everything—the people especially—fresh and inspiring. Now in the spacious studio under the high ceiling, I sometimes realize that I and my sculptures are insignificantly small; in those times I go out and stroll around. Park Slope is a part of the Gowanus area where we find many studios of professional and emerging artists—all are inspiring and stimulating.

Special thanks to Ethan Covey for the photos of my studio.

Sequoyah Aono participated in The League Residency at Vyt.

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