CMS Student Chris Elam tells us about his Monochromatic Mosaics Workshop with Toyoharu Kii

August 3, 2018

How/when did you originally find CMS, and what keeps bringing you back? 

I originally found CMS in 2008 and took a Mosaics in Architecture course with Joesph Guyer. I remember immediately having the sense that I had found my tribe and that my work in tile-setting was about to take on a whole new dimension. I keep coming back to CMS to reconnect to that tribe, immersing myself in the flow of creative forces that are alive there and to sharpen my own practice.


How has this visiting artist workshop you’ve taken informed your practice? 

Toyoharu’s class for me was one of those “beginners mind” kind of experiences. His approach is so counter-intuitive to the way I typically work that I felt I was starting all over again. No matter how many year’s we’ve been honing our technical skills as artists, I think it’s really important to subject ourselves to the uncomfortability of “not knowing.” It’s in that space that our creative practice takes on new forms and shapes and we move forward in our work. I have used Toyoharu’s technique in my own studio particularly to showcase translations of my son’s artwork and have found it to be effective in framing or highlighting a focal point in a work.


What do you look forward to in your future learnings at CMS? 

This past year I decided to enter the certificate program at CMS, something I’d put off for a number of years. I’ve been working hard in my studio and have made good progress. I now feel that I need to allow myself to receive critical feedback from an artistic community and more seasoned artists in particular. We have such a narrow perspective on our own work and I think CMS offers much needed insight into how viewers receive our work. It’s painful at times to face our blind spots, but it’s one of the major benefits to being a part of an artistic community.


To take Kii’s upcoming workshop, register here today!

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