I'm interested in what happens when two very talented creative people partner up. It's definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I'm thinking of Hamish Knox and his partner Loretta Child...creating buildings and garden landscapes in harmony with the environment at Christmas Hills. The same could be said of the partnership of Akira Takizawa and Shaaron Smith. When I went to Shaaron's studio over a week ago I didn't know about her partner Aki. Within ten minutes of being with her it was evident that she lives and works in a creative environment which is enhanced by the contribution of her partner. She is very quick to acknowledge that and is very respectful of his contribution. At first the buildings were evidence of his work...the crooked collumns, the cement blocks and the zen simplicity of design. Then over lunch with the two of them, I began to get curious about his sculptures. So another visit, a week later, revealed the following sculptures all around their magical garden.
The sculpture (above) represents the beauty and fullness of a pregnant woman. When showing it to me, Aki patted the tummy and said, "Baby in there."
This is Shaaron's favourite sculpture (above). It sits in the middle of the veggie patch. It's about women's fertility. (I probably didn't need to explain that!)
These sculptures are just a small selection of Aki's work. He has held successful solo and group exhibitions at a number of Galleries around Melbourne, including Robert Lindsay and Reconnaissance. He was educated at Musashino University of Fine Art in Tokyo. He marries his Japanese education and culture with universal principles to create unique works in every area of his creative endeavour.
The Frozen Bookshelves
Aki had lots of fun demonstrating the musical potential of this walkway. When jumped on, each of these half discs makes a different sound. Symphonic Steps! My Godson (a musician and composer) is fascinated by this. He suggested that, "All Aki needs to do is wear some squeaky sneakers (like the ones toddlers wear) and he'll have a wind section to his percussive promenade." Aaah dont you just love creative people!
In addition to landscaping and sculpture, Aki is building another dwelling on their property. It's a work in progress. When I asked if he was working from any drawings, Aki said that he allowed the space to determine the design. The curved walls and bluestone stack help to create the buildings character. I found myself wanting him to build me a house.
The recycled metal below is ready to be used for a large gate.
In addition to all of the above, Aki and Shaaron grow many thousands of Japanese garlic each year. They are grown in a completely chemical free environment. Their 20 acre property is perfect for this type of cultivation. If you're interested in purchasing some, give Shaaron a ring to put in an order. Phone 9719 7366.
I went away from this second visit with several gifts. A bag of Japanese garlic, a lovely bird made by Aki from chicken wire, two more roses from their garden and a joyous heart. Top that!