One of my favorite first year assignments at MHCCIM was this music visualization project. Its purpose was to explore the relationship between the senses. Creating an image from a non-visual subject, using music as our source of inspiration, we chose a song (I chose two) to graphically represent in a black and white format. Using an idea web, we wrote down characteristics and emotions, examined the rhythm and melodies of the song then developed our image using lines, shapes, textures, patterns and theories to create balance and unity.
My image quickly turned into a momento dedicated to one of my best friends from junior high, Denise Okino Etherington. The illustrations I created for this piece came from the memories of our good times together. I refer to this as our “Japanese American Friendship Quilt” in honor of her Japanese heritage and both of our American-style upbringing.
My first music inspiration was “China Latina” by Hiroshima. The melody of this piece stirs up happiness, gratitude, honor, celebration, elegance and freedom — everything we experienced growing up in Sacramento, California.
My second song choice was “Kototsu-han (San Kyoku)”, also by Hiroshima. I think more of Denise’s parents when I hear this due to the song’s more reverent, historical layer which underscores the depth of japanese culture, traditions, respect and discipline.
I remember how proud the Okino family was when Roy Okino, age 73, was finally able to acquire his high school diploma. He and his wife Marie were in internment camps during their high school years, so Roy never had the opportunity to finish his education. This illustration was completed just prior to the family’s celebration of Roy and Marie’s 50th wedding anniversary. Sadly, Roy passed just 6 months later.