Fellows Friday: Q&A with Toshi Makihara

Toshi Makihara, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

As part of our “Fellows Friday” web feature, we focus on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges. This week, we speak to 2013 Pew Fellow Toshi Makihara, whose performance work blends percussion with dance-like body movement, exercising a rigorous, systematic, and practiced process of experimentation and repetition.

When did you know you were going to be an artist?

When I was 14, I got my first musical instruments and I began my creative activities.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I wanted to become a scholar, studying the various spiritual traditions of the world. My aspiration was to study the mystical aspects of various religious traditions and to compare the similarities and differences, in depth.

What do you miss most from your childhood?

Spiritual freedom and a playful spirit, without stress.

Do you think about your legacy and, if so, how does your thinking about it affect your practice?

Not expecting any “success” in terms of fame and wealth, but believing in the value and uniqueness of my work, in terms of “nobody has done this before,” i.e. being the pioneer as an artist.

Composer, improviser, and media artist Mike Bullock will join forces with Swedish composers and conceptual artists Leif Elggren, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, and Kent Tankred, and Philadelphia musicians such as Ian Fraser and Bhob Rainey, for a program of electronic music, performance, and installations, expanding Philadelphia’s connection to the international experimental music scene.

Pew Fellow Germaine Ingram talks with us about the responsibilities of creating socially engaged art.

Designer Jenny Sabin’s PolyMorph is on display in France and bandleader Marshall Allen performs at Lincoln Center on October 5, 2013.

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, produced two programs that explored contrasts among Iberian musical cultures in the mid-17th century.

New Paradise Laboratories’ Center-funded production of Freedom Club received media attention after traveling to New York City.

While Jens Hoffmann was in Philadelphia to lecture at the Center in 2011, he made a few “studio” visits with local dance companies and described the experience to us.

We speak to visual artist Tim Portlock, whose current body of work explores the dialogue between place and the formation of identity.

Grants & Grantees

Pablo Colapinto is a media artist and a 2005 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

This production marked the Arden Theatre’s first commission for its children’s series.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and Nothing in Nature is Private, which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize.

Tempesta di Mare performs baroque music on baroque instruments with “a zest and virtuosity that transcends style and instrumentations.”

Philadelphia’s own Pig Iron Theatre Company premieres their Center-funded, Charles Ludlam-inspired piece at the prestigious Humana Festival in Louisville, KY.