Brooklyn Artist Tells Why Art Is Unlimited With Unlimited Expression

Harumi Ori standing in front of her work in Red Hook

Brooklyn Artist Tells Why Art Is Unlimited With Unlimited Expression

Harumi Ori Talks About How The Beauty of The Universe Is In Every Moment.

Harumi Ori standing in front of her work in Red Hook Harumi Ori in front of one of her construction mesh artwork in Red Hook, Brooklyn, photo by Pascal DuBois

Bridging the Divide is a series of ongoing artist residencies at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments throughout NYC. NYCHA provides affordable housing for 400,000 lower-income New Yorkers. Through this program, artists engage with residents through a variety of workshops and create artworks that amplify the voices of residents.

This is an interview with one of the artist fellows, sculptor, Harumi Ori. Harumi was interviewed by Pascal DuBois, ArtBridge’s Director of Communications and Development.

When did you commit to being an artist?

Since childhood, I’ve made art but I never thought I was going to be an artist, I just really enjoyed making art; it made me happy. I took graphic design because I thought it was more real and practical. After a few years, I went to school for sculpture. Graphic design was good because of the beautiful collaborations with the client but even when I was working, I felt I wanted to make something new and exciting; I needed to find my own style and that’s why I started with mesh.

At the beginning of being an artist, what brought you the most joy?

Art is unlimited with unlimited expression which [took] me to a very different area of my mind. That ability to express that unlimited feeling, I believe is very important to every human, everyone should connect to the very deep inside of them and show the world [their] true feelings.

Artwork by Harumi Ori on Hicks Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Artwork by Harumi Ori on Hicks Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn

 

Do you have moments of doubt in your work?

Yeah, of course, there’s always doubt and confidence. I always try to just make and try not to think too much and let my hands go forward making something. By using my hands, it helps make clear the direction I should go.

Somehow my hands and gut know the truth of what I’m making isn’t what I want to do. [My hands and gut] reach my past experiences and they explain what to create.

Artwork by Harumi Ori on the West 9th intersection.
Artwork by Harumi Ori on the West 9th intersection

I did the same thing twenty years ago, now I have a series of almost forty. I started this series before I graduated. I was looking for my style and a new concept no one has never done before. I called the series, “I am Here” because every space people exist is a miracle, it’s already a gift from the universe. I was taking photos and making sculptures outside my art school and realized we only share a second with people and objects and it changed forever. I wanted to show the beauty of those moments in everyday life. A few years ago, I made a piece two times bigger for DOT [Department of Transportation] and NYC Parks. I try to find opportunities to make public art because art [represents] the community. I want my art to make people feel casual and at ease with art, not like how most people think of art, in the museum. I want people to feel, “Oh, this is my art!”

Group panel of Harumi Ori's art
Artwork by Harumi Ori of a group panel

My final goal is I don’t want people to feel separate from art in everyday life, even a tree is art. Making art makes you see something different and you go, “Ahh, I can make art!” That is the mission of public art.

I could do that, but that would be very boring. I could live as a graphic designer and do art as a hobby. Being in New York, it’s a beautiful place to be an artist, there are many opportunities.

Photo of Harumi Ori. Photo by Pascal DuBois.
Photo of Harumi Ori. Photo by Pascal DuBois

Bridging the Divide is currently engaged in projects at NYCHA developments in the East Village and Chelsea, and will launch in the South Bronx in the coming months. Please help us ensure that we can continue this important initiative by donating today.