May 20, 2020
Tomoko Sawada,  Early Days #31 , 1997

Tomoko Sawada, Early Days #31, 1997

How are you? What have you been up to lately?
I am fine. I am enjoying “stay home.” I am working from home same as usual, but I also am reading books, watching Japanese anime and movies from the US and UK in English. I am currently reading a book by Nobuyori Ohshima, a psychologist. 



In the mornings I don’t usually make breakfast — I love to eat breakfast only when I travel — but I have been cooking a lot of Japanese and Korean food.
In the afternoons, I have been working on a new series. I have been staying home since the spread of COVID-19 began, but after some time I realized that my lifestyle has not changed much since even when I am busy I do "stay home" all the time. So, I continue to work as usual.


What anime and US/UK movies are you watching? Do you have a favorite anime or movie that you have watched recently?
Actually, most movies I watch are from Disney, because I was told that Disney movies are great for learning and hearing English and I am trying to keep up my English. I also watched The King's Speech several times... English English is more difficult than American English for me, so usually I watched the same movie again and again if it's in English (from England). I also love the Japanese anime "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,” which is super popular in Japan now.


Have you been able to make photographs during this time of 'quarantine'?
Actually I had already begun to make a new series long before the spread of COVID-19 began and the government announced a nationwide state of emergency. I am making this new series for my upcoming solo exhibition at the Tokyo Photographic Museum, which is set for Spring 2021.  
As my fans know, my future work is always secret, so I cannot share new images. However, I will share my "Tiny face challenge" pictures. This is first time I have tried this makeup challenge.


Have you found any inspiration to help you through this time?
I’m not good at social networks nor am I a big fan of them, however during this COVID-19 time I am doing online workshops on Instagram week by week with special guests, who are my friends and are successful in their specialties.




My online workshop is the same workshop that I would do at a museum. The difference is that participants are anonymous to the public. In the workshop, my guest chooses a photograph from my work and then the guest and participants imagine a fictional name, job, age, family, personality, etc. from this photograph. The guests and I read the participants’ fictional story on Instagram-Live then we talk about what we think about the participants’ fictional story. 
I started online workshops because one of my good friends, who is very famous singer in Japan and Taiwan, asked me to do something together online for "stay home” for our fans.
I thought I would never ever do Instagram Live so I was surprised at myself. I think the only thing that COVID-19 changed for me is that I started Instagram Live. I’m not sure I have found inspiration during this "stay home" time or not, but I think starting Instagram Live has changed something in me.


What are you looking forward to past this time?
I’m looking forward to seeing the new ROSEGALLERY, meeting friends, having a exhibition (which is postponed because of COVID-19), going to see theater-plays and movies, visiting shrines and temples, etc... I just really hope for no more COVID-19!


Tomoko Sawada,  Early Days #21 , 1996

Tomoko Sawada, Early Days #21, 1996


Interview by Zoe Lemelson.

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