On January 4th, I had the sincere pleasure of interviewing artist and farmer, Nikiko Masumoto and her mother and father in Del Rey, CA. Below are verbatim excerpts and photos from that interview about the intersection of arts, farming, and community.
“Why isn’t someone who moves a shovel full of dirt a sculptor? You are altering your environment, you are giving it meaning - so, why not? I think that’s what every food worker / farmer does - I just don’t think we have built our cultural systems to value, appreciate and take time to acknowledge that work”
"In the new era of national discourse that we find ourselves in, part of me thinks “no the needs are the same” we might just be more awake to the essential work that has to be part of our daily lives - but at the same time I think that the field of arts and creativity has a lot to offer thinking about strategies on how to enact our world visions and I also think we are at this moment where it would behoove any of us who define ourselves anywhere in proximity to the word artists that we really think about developing deep alliances, coalitions, partnerships with unlikely partners."
"I was just having a conversation with someone about “publicness” being manifested in very different forms in rural places than in urban places - so that “public” technically often happens on private land - so our farm is private land, but it becomes public when we gather."
“I’m sure you read about the tragic Oakland fire, to me obviously we take a moment to pause and acknowledge how sad it was, but also to me it’s emblematic of how artists’ lives are mirrors of what we are doing wrong as a social body - there is no affordable housing for people who want to create and live out their imaginations and that is not specific only to artists, it applies to the lack of affordable housing for everyone. If we as artists do the work that creative placemaking is all about, which is not syphoning off a space just for our precious art, but making sure that what we do is integrated into these larger systems at play - that is the calling of the moment”
“One of our neighbors is a huge Trump supporter. There is no easy resolution, but because we are neighbors and he has bailed us out when our tractor breaks down… We are forced and invited to have a much more complicated understanding of the political and the personal, at the same time as having huge problems with his political ideology, we embrace what it means to be a neighbor and that’s something that I think is hard to do in urban spaces.”