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.

Blanka Zizka, Wilma Theater’s Artistic Director, on risk in theater-making.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Kiranavali Vidyasankar is a vocalist, music teacher, and writer who comes from a lineage of legendary Carnatic (South Indian) musicians.

Grants & Grantees

Over the course of its 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons, Tempesta di Mare will present a concert series of French baroque orchestral music played on period-specific instruments.

Discomfort is a sign that one is working with integrity, says poet and Pew Fellow Emily Abendroth (2013).

Through the ongoing Center-funded project re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia, Painted Bride Art Center presents a new work by choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow Reggie Wilson.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Thomas Allen Harris of Chimpanzee Productions is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has been featured internationally on television, at festivals, and in museums and galleries.

Grants & Grantees

Pew Fellow Matthew Suib’s work comes from a deep engagement with moving-image culture and how moving images shape our understanding of culture, history, and politics.

Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night, at the Abrons Art Center through February 23, has received a glowing review from the New York Times.

Grants & Grantees

An outgrowth of the anti-graffiti network, Mural Arts Philadelphia has produced over 3,600 murals since 1984, making it the largest public art program in the United States and earning Philadelphia the nickname “City of Murals.”

A multidisciplinary interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s orchestral score The Firebird that links South African and Russian traditions.

Grants & Grantees

Philadelphia Dance Projects has grown into an organization focused on presenting performances and workshops to challenge and develop local artists.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Kristy Edmunds is the executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. She is recognized for innovation and depth in the presentation of works by contemporary artists.