ALUM SPOTLIGHT : JEFF KUROSAKI

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BFA alulm Jeff Kurosaki has found his place within the New York art scene. After leaving the University of Hawai’i Jeff attained his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art. It was at Cranbrook that Jeff met Tara Pelletier which lead to collaborations in many fronts. Their creative duo, the Friendly Falcons, has exhibited and performed at various events around New York as well as a European tour. Jeff and Tara also has a thriving artisanal business called Meow Meow Tweet (named after their bird and 2 cats), a natural apothecary. Based in Brooklyn, they support their work by producing small-batch, natural, vegan apothecary items like soaps, personal care and soy candles, all made by hand with whole ingredients.

Jeff took a minute from his busy schedule to give us a sneak peek into what he’s up to now and how his time and UH helped him find his niche.

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ART: What are you doing at the moment professionally?
JK: I’m currently participating in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program with Tara. Concurrently, we are preparing for the opening of our show, Urban Heat Island, at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as a group show, Art into Music, at BRIC House in Brooklyn. All the while Tara and I do our best to keep up with Meow Meow Tweet.

ART: How has majoring in Art/Art History helped you the most?
JK: In the studio and the business, I am constantly negotiating how best to represent an experience. My art degree enables me with the technical skills and strategies to explore processes for communicating these ephemeral ideas though object based and/or conceptual projects.

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ART: If applicable, what internships or extra-curricular activities have you pursued while in college have been the most valuable to you personally and professionally?  Why?
JK: Toward the end of my undergraduate experience, I started working as an artist assistant.  It was an amazing opportunity which influenced my perspective on becoming a professional artist in a positive and “unidealized” way. It reinforced the importance of having a good work ethic while remaining true to one’s vision.

ART: Are there any “optional” elements of the undergraduate experience that you recommend students explore?
JK: I recommend that students take advantage of all the resources the department has to offer. Some of the best dialogue and challenges I encountered came from professors and peers outside of my area of specialization, which was in sculpture.

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