letasobierajski letasobierajski

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Leta Sobierajski  Art director & graphic designer. Loving & living & working with @wadejeffree.

Portrait of a girl in her studio. Finally back to the grind, finally back to photography, finally back to using a Wacom tablet, and finally back to working regular hours and answering emails in the same time zone. At least I feel a little more comfortable in front of the camera when I’m in my safe zone 😅 I’ve been a little disoriented the whole past week with getting reacquainted with NYC, catching up with familiar faces, and remembering to walk on the right side of the street. Sadly, my skin doesn’t want to cooperate and I’m still dealing with a lot of red, swollen, peeling patches on my face but I’ve camouflaged that with this wonderful jumper from @buffetclothing which I haven’t stopped wearing since I got it last week in Vienna 💙

It’s #worldmentalhealthday so let’s take a moment here to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and tell yourself that “You are going to be fine.” It’s a rough and tough world out there and there are a lot of things that get us down. Above all, we need to take time to take care of ourselves. I hope this mural I painted last year will give you some happy thoughts and encourage you to feel confident about who you are and what you stand for. And if you need to talk, I’m here for you 💙
(Mural painted at @rowdtla in Los Angeles in 2017)

And just like that, 3 months flew by in a flash. With a heavy heart full of friends, experiences, and Sora no Iro ramen, we must acknowledge that it is time to go.
Being here for three months had been a way for me to take a step back from daily routine and the monotony of a place I take for granted in order to give myself a greater challenge that feels deeper and more genuine than anything I’ve done before.
It’s been an incredible three months of self discovery, lesson learning, and friend making. I highly recommend that everyone take a moment to listen to themselves and take a step back from what you’re doing, as we often get caught in the cycle of our daily lives and jobs and it becomes difficult to break from routine. Removing myself from my familiar life is one of the healthiest things I have done for myself in a long time and has helped me make realizations as well as conquer plenty of fears. I know I’ll be back very soon, and thank you all for following me along on this journey.

Last week, we made the trek from Osaka to Awaji-shi (Awaji Island) to visit two very prominent pieces designed by Ando Tadao. The first spot I shared in a previous post, but the second was a much larger, but equally contemplative haven for water, sound, nature and sight.
Yumebutai Awaji is located on a hillside that overlooks the ocean. Built as a memorial near the epicenter of the 1995 Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake, Ando's concrete landscape and gardens replaced the scarred hillside with a maze of pools, botanical gardens, amphitheaters, shops, restaurants, and a hotel. There is also an international conference center.
The space is vast and feels like a concrete labyrinth of hallways, pools, and quiet reflective spaces. Included is Hyakudanen, 100 gardens built on an incline, arranged in grids spread over several levels. The "hundred" refers to the number of mini-gardens and not the steps, as there are 1575 steps and 235 flights.

During our visit to Awaji-shi, we had two goals in mind, and both had to do with Tadao Ando. The first was Shingonshu Honpukuji.

In 1991 Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed this space, a place where nature and contemporary architecture could coincide with one another. The temple is situated in the island of Awaji, Japan and is the residence of Ninnaji Shingon, the oldest sect of Tantric Buddhism in Japan.

While the exterior is cold and concrete, (but in the most positive way I can say possible), the interior below is warm and vermillion wood, allowing natural light to penetrate and acting as the sole source of illumination of the shrine. Pictured here, me basking in the natural light refracted from the water above.

Yesterday we visited the biggest work of Tarō Okamoto, Japanese painter, sculptor, and ultimate art phenomenon. This is the Tower of the Sun, created for the World Expo ‘70, the first world’s fair held in Asia. Okamoto-San is a huge inspiration of ours and his ideas and gestural work feel other-worldly. His contribution to the Japanese artistic landscape is bizarre but beautiful, and because of that, @wadejeffree & I had to visit his most grandiose work.
The 1970 Osaka World Exposition marked an important time in Japan’s history, one of optimism for the future of the country and its role in the progression of technology. It featured the premiere of the first IMAX film, mobile phone prototypes, and introduced the first shinkansen (bullet trains). It also showcased futuristic architecture conceived by the several countries that participated including giant inflatable buildings and neo-modern (yeah maybe I made that term up) towers, but sadly the Tower of the Sun is all that remains today.
The theme of the Expo was “progress and harmony for mankind.” In his interpretation of this idea, Okamoto wished to represent the past, present and future all in one piece of art and did so by placing three distinct faces on his Tower of the Sun. The golden “face” represents the future. The concrete “face” on the stomach represents the present. The black sun on its back represents the past.
We spent the day at the Expo Park observing the tower (the only prominent element that remains from the actual expo) and trekking the grounds. Now, there are gardens, parks, and a lake that comprise the inspirational landscape, as well as a museum devoted to remembering the Expo ‘70 as well as a Museum of Ethnography. It’s such a fun place to visit and consumed our entire day, but we left with wide smiles and full hearts after drinking highballs in the shade of Okamoto-san’s gargantuan tower.

THANK YOU to everyone who came out to say hello and hang out with us during Vogue Fashion’s Night Out last weekend at @omotesandohills_official! @wadejeffree and I had such a fun time taking photos and meeting you all. Thank you for participating! We could not have done this without our dear collaborators @yoshiko_kurata @gas_as_interface and Nochi Masataka. You guys made it happen! Together we built this installation which served as a photospot for the event. We modeled the idea off of Ryoan-ji, the famous rock garden in Kyoto, but focused more on abstraction and the graphic nature of the curves that exist in the garden. We called it “Utopian Zen” 🏁

This night made me extra happy to meet you all and laugh and pose because I woke up with a very undesirable skin situation which I’m still recovering from, and I was really self conscious about being in such a public place with so many people that day. Though it may not be evident in the photos, my face and eyelids were twice their normal size. Thanks to everyone who made me feel great! #fnojp

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (江戸東京たてもの園, Edo Tōkyō Tatemono-en) is an open air museum which exhibits a range of historic buildings from the Tokyo area. The buildings were relocated/reconstructed here in order to preserve a chapter of architectural history which has been almost completely lost in fires, earthquakes, wars and city redevelopment.
Originally, @wadejeffree and I set out to visit a different open air museum but hey, a wrong turn turned into a delightful day and yesterday’s detour became a beautiful and wonderfully informative experience.
This bathhouse called “kodakara-yu” was relocated from Senju-motomachi and built in 1929. Inside it is split into two sides, distinguishing male and female. Each side includes one half of a miraculous hand-painted mural of Mt. Fuji and it’s surrounding landscape, as well as many small hand-painted advertisements ranging from hat and shoe sellers to food and grocery, which you can see behind me.

Excited to share that next week on 9/15, we will be unveiling our installation for Vogue Fashion’s Night Out Tokyo 2018 at Omotesando Hills. It’s been a blast working with such wonderful people and It’s going to be such a fun event! If you are in Tokyo next Saturday 9/15, please swing by and say hi! That’s why I’m smiling so widely 😄
Thank you Omotesando Hills for the lovely interview! Some really great questions were asked involving the crossover between fashion and design and I hope that those of you who read Japanese will enjoy it! You can check it out on their website under their features section.
Photos by @tgwman, writing by @yoshiko_kurata, and the opportunity given by @omotesandohills_official

“ARCHITECTURAL BODY HYPOTHESIS OR SITED AWARENESS HYPOTHESIS: What stems from the body, by way of awareness, should be held to be of it. Any site at which a person deems an X to exist should be considered a contributing segment of her awareness.”
Extremely imbalanced, greatfully challenged, and off guard, just as Arakawa and Gins would have hopefully liked, but I’m extending my body to reach sited awareness (I hope I got that right?). .
Standing inside The Reversible Destiny Office, which was actually the last building to be added to the Reversible Destiny park in April 1997. It houses information about the site, Arakawa's drawings and other works, and screens a documentary about the site's construction.

The most perfect room where you can sit down and practice calligraphy at Okochi-Sanso Villa, a little hidden gem in Arashiyama, Kyoto. @wadejeffree and I visited this villa when we came to Kyoto a few years ago but I think we bypassed this room with its open doors which allow the delicious forest air to waft through the space while you enjoy the space. I believe that this space was built to commemorate the caretaker of the villa but I am not positive.
The villa was owned by the famous silent film era actor, Okochi Denjiro. It is famous for its gardens and boasts a perfectly framed view no matter where you stand when you’re exploring the grounds, whether with pine trees, cherry trees, or maple trees. Ironic that I didn’t photograph that though! I’m a sucker for symmetry, as you can tell here.

I’m pretty behind on sharing my travels and discoveries in Japan but honestly it feels nice to not report every single day! That said, something needs to be said about this architectural beauty.

Mosaic Tile Museum Tajimi is a museum in Kasahara Town, Tajimi City opened in 2016. I thought it would have been a lot older but it’s brand spanking new! Following years of preparation led by organizations representing the local mosaic tile industry, which boasts the country’s largest production volume of mosaic tiles, the museum project is at long last beginning to take concrete shape. The architect commissioned with designing the museum building is Terunobu Fujimori, internationally acclaimed for his highly original creations informed by architectural history. The building is expected to assume a wonderfully unorthodox external appearance inspired by clay quarries where clay and silica sand are extracted for use in tile production. .
The museum houses over 10,000 artifacts and other materials. Most have been collected over the years by local volunteers and kept at a facility.
This was essentially a three hour side trip from my quest to get to Yōrō but it was all worth it. Plus, bringing a bento and picnicking outside after the visit was a pleasant way to take in the scenery, though I will say that this building was quite difficult to photograph without the right lens! Note to self, invest in extreme wide angle lens...

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