We had the good fortune of connecting with Motoko “Gloria” Yasue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Motoko “Gloria”, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
The most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make was leaving my long professional career in the business world of Japan and to move to the U.S. (Houston) to pursue my study of art. I arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport by myself in 2012 with a suitcase in hand and my life-savings. I had spent months considering and making “a pros-and-cons list” for my new life destination, finally deciding to focus and go forward with it. I followed my passion for art and that inner voice saying, “Don’t regret facing life’s challenges.” I had the great fortune to meet extraordinary people – friends and teachers – in Houston who have embraced and helped me in so many ways in my new life. I have studied art as diligently and as focused as possible and always tried to do my best under any circumstances. I earned a Teaching Certificate in painting at the Glassell School of Art, an Associate Degree in Studio Art at Houston Community College with highest honors, and currently, I’m a candidate for an MFA (2021) in painting at Houston Baptist University Graduate School. I have overcome many of the challenges during these hustle and bustle years, always remembering my father’s words “keep studying, learning and growing throughout all of your life”. Unexpected events whether good or bad occur in life at unexpected times. This pandemic is one of them as we artists lose opportunities to show and display our work in public. The hardest moment here in the USA for me was when my father passed away a couple of years ago during my time in Houston. However, I never regret my decision to pursue my passion as my father’s words are still and always will live within me. Also, I do appreciate my friends and mentors in Houston, with their constant encouragement. In particular, I have been strongly and positively influenced by Professor Michael R. Collins at Houston Baptist University and watercolor-artist Arthur Turner who believed in me as an artist providing their patient guidance, instruction and mentorship. I continue to develop my skills and my art portfolio and firmly believe that all I need and desire will come to me at the right time and place. I believe that my most difficult decision in 2012 will pay off, causing me to grow and expand as an artist and, more importantly, as a person.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist, I share my perspective of nature with the community through my art. The core theme of my art explores abstract landscapes with colors seen in my imaginary world. It shares “a moment” as it is reflected in my dreams and memories with the viewer. More importantly, it is my hope that they too may ponder and find their own narratives or memories within the solace of my abstract pieces. Each of my works currently begin with a geometric circular motif whose inspiration comes from a sacred oculus (a circular opening on a wall) in a tea ceremony room of an old temple in Japan. My animistic adoration for nature seen in human society is depicted as nature illuminated inside the circles. These circles often are dissolved into the landscapes within my works. They suggest portals that allow one’s spirit to travel from one person to another beyond time and space in a busy contemporary life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would like to share all my own personal wonderful experiences in Houston with my best friends. Most of my good memories come with the variety of wonderful and diverse restaurants in town. I would choose… Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill for tacos and The French House (5901 Westheimer) for breakfast, Luna Pizza (@ Richmond & Kirby), and Hopdoddy Burger Bar for lunch and Istanbul Grill & Deli for dinner both in Rice Village, and finally, Taste of Texas or Saltgrass Steak House for dinner. For sightseeing, I’d like to take friends to the Menil collection, Rothko Chapel, Eastern Glades in the Memorial Park, Hermann Park, the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park near the Galleria, and the NASA Space Center during the daytime, followed by the Downtown Aquarium at night. Window-shopping and bargain hunting at the Galleria will be for the last day of the trip.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Much appreciation goes to the mentorship, guidance and technique development provided by all of my art professors in the past eight (8) years but in particular, Professors/Artists, Michael Roque Collins and Arthur Turner. In addition, so many of my friends and colleagues that I have met during my life in Houston have provided significant support and encouragement.
Other: Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.
Photos are self-taken with the exception of the photo of me in my HBU studio taken by Michael Tims.