Michael Henry HAYDEN

Residency Program

Exchange Residency Program (International creators from abroad)

update: 2024.3.26

Michael Henry HAYDEN

Participating ProjectExchange Residency Program (Creators from abroad)
Activity BasedLos Angeles
City / Place stayedTokyo
Period2023.09 - 2023.11
Purpose of the residency

To concentrate my efforts for three months in Tokyo will provide invaluable time to further works in progress and to conceive of new works. I will research the intersection of art and nature in contemporary and historical Japanese art. I will explore the urban and rural environments, and hope to make silicone rubber molds directly from the landscape, from architecture, or from natural objects as source material to incorporate into new work.

Plan during the residency
  • Create paintings and sculptures furthering my explorations of natural forms
  • Create works on paper as compositional development and research
  • Find objects to mold in silicone rubber as source material for new works
  • Research historical and contemporary interpretations of natural forms in Japanese art
  • Travel through Japan to explore diverse landscapes, make drawings, and collect materials
Activities during the residency

I focused on creating new works, planning future works, and traveling for artistic inspiration.
I created a large painting on canvas based on the designs of cone shells, native to southern Japan, which bear marks reminiscent of Japanese landscape paintings. I made a large silicone rubber mold of a wall adjacent to the studios, which I will incorporate into a new relief sculpture at my Los Angeles studio. I also gathered traditional Japanese papers. I utilized these papers in collages which reflect both my interest in natural forms and the gridded city planning and architecture of Tokyo. I’m excited to continue working with these papers in Los Angeles, and to create new works inspired by my experiences in Japan.
I spent several weeks traveling through Kyushu and the southernmost Okinawa islands. My work tackles the contrasts between the natural world and cultural representations of nature, and so it is equally important for me to immerse myself in natural places as in cultural spaces. I visited natural landscapes with active volcanoes such as Aso San and Sakura-jima, and the untouched forests of Iriomote Island. On Iriomote Island, I discovered more of the same shells from their natural habitat which had inspired the painting I made at TOKAS.

Outcome of the residency

I am currently developing a new body of work that will balance a dialogue between painted images and sculptural reliefs. I am grateful for the extended time this residency afforded to focus on painting, which is an activity that I have been eager to reintroduce into my practice for some time. In addition to creating and starting new works at TOKAS, the art and landscapes I witnessed in Japan will serve as inspirations for new work that I will continue in Los Angeles.
One of the most memorable things I saw were two separate crysanthemum festivals in Kagoshima and in Tokyo. These displays showcased individual flowers cultivated for different extremes possible in the flowers. One example was a single plant, cultivated into the form of a perfectly round mountain, dotted with a perfect grid of blooming flowers. This centuries-old tradition synthesizes nature and high artifice in ways that I find deeply inspiring.

Creator Information