growing up among the ‘onion fields and big skies’ of rural america, artist jacob hashimoto collected an open and abundant perspective. ‘it makes you see culture and cultural patrimony through an oddly shaped lens,’ he shares with designboom in this exclusive interview. half-japanese and half european american, and the son of an english professor and school administrator/social worker at a small liberal arts college in washington state, hashimoto considers his background hugely influential in terms of the way he thinks about art, its purpose and utility. ‘the work is generous because it is interested in speaking to as broad an audience as possible,’ he shares. ‘I’m always trying to create experiences and objects that cut to the core of all of our experiences of the world. it’s an overly broad and idealized goal, but maybe that’s what you get when all of your world were onion fields and big skies as a kid.’
across a mix of sculpture, painting, and installation, hashimoto creates complex universes from a range of modular components, including bamboo-and-paper kites, model boats, and astroturf-covered blocks. his richly-layered compositions reference technology, video games, and virtual environments, while also remaining firmly rooted in art-historical traditions and craftsmanship. ‘it’s about creating spaces for questions and thought and, when successful, it also reminds us of some fundamental things — the size and power of nature, smallness, sisyphean efforts, the kind cumulative experience of a lifetime. all of those things are built in to the work and I think that we experience those things as a community, often times through artwork, and through the discussion of those artworks. so, if any point my work happens to do that, I think it’s been very successful.’
designboom spoke with jacob hashimoto about how his upbringing has shaped his creative principles, the loss of materiality and traditional ways of making, and relying on the small things in life.