New Japanese Folk Artists: Cozy Factory [Interview]
Cozy Factory is the partnership of the Japanese artists, Kana and Koji Higuchi.
Amy from Hello! Good Morning!: I found Cozy Factory on Instagram and instantly loved their aesthetic and every aspect of what they did. And they seemed like really fun people! Several years ago, a friend in Kyoto introduced us when I was traveling in Japan. I bought some art from them and hoped that one day they would do a show in my shop. My dream came true!
I think what they do is inspired in the best way by folk art and nature. I love that they collaborate, carving wood then painting and sometimes adding paper cut art. The natural materials give their work a warm feeling. Even their name, Cozy Factory, is warm and friendly. I feel happy when I see their art. It's peaceful, gentle, and full of their spirit and love.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kana and Koji at our house when they were preparing for their exhibition at Hello! Good Morning!
Where do you live?
We live outside Kobe, Japan in a small countryside town near the mountains. Every other day we hike in the foothills of the mountains. It's beautiful.
Kana, how did you and Koji meet?
We met when we were at university in our 20’s. We were both working a part-time job at a nearby K-12 private art school. Koji was teaching drawing at the high school level and I was teaching art to younger kids. Both of us continue to teach art part-time.
Giant paper ice cream bar workshop at Hello! Good Morning!
Kana, what is the story of Cozy Factory?
At the beginning of my career, I was an independent paper cut artist.
At that time Koji worked as a furniture designer. Koji would frame my work but we weren't working together yet. Then over the course of one year, we traveled all over Japan to visit folk art exhibitions at art museums. Ideas came flooding into me. Through this inspiration, we began Cozy Factory in 2002. I describe the characters from my inspirations to Koji and he cuts the shapes out of wood. We paint them and add paper cut art.
Your latest exhibition at Hello! Good Morning! is called OMAMORI. What does that mean?
In Japan, omamori are objects that provide protection for yourself and bring you good luck in your life. We were inspired by our upcoming trip to Portland. In wishing that our own travels would be successful and safe, we wanted to create beautiful charms of well-being for other people to carry in their homes and in their lives.
Koji, why are Mt. Fuji of Japan and Mt. Hood of Oregon motifs in your work?
I have long been inspired by mountains because I am an experienced climber. I climbed Mt. Fuji when I was twenty-eight. More recently I climbed Mt. Hotakadake, a very treacherous climb in Japan. I am very excited to hike on Mt. Hood!
Kana and Koji hiking around Mt. Hood
What are Cozy Factory's future plans?
This is our first exhibition overseas. Now we want to have exhibitions in many different countries!
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