#TheTALKS – Miya Ando . The Artist with the Metal Sword

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Artist Miya Ando, photo by Roy Ritchie

Miya Ando is an American artist who is known for her unique metal canvases and her intriguing sword making. Her metal sculptures articulate themes of contradiction and juxtaposition of ideas. Somewhat sounds like a cold surface, but the artist has her very own calmness, embracing the spirituality she got from Buddhism.


When and how did your “art” story start?

I started showing works in 2003, all black steel paintings.

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What triggered you to study Buddhist iconology?

I lived in a Buddhist temple in Japan, my grandfather was the head priest. I grew up surrounded by religious iconography and I was always very interested in visual communication. I was drawn to the study of religious symbols and imagery which communicated abstract notions found in religion. My interest is in language that transcends verbal communication and is accessible to anyone.

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Have you implement this study into any of your works? 

In my work I examine subtraction of visual vocabulary to the point of simplicity, purity and refinement.

You have a close linkage with swords. What is the first thing you relate them to? 

The link to my heritage initially attracted me to swords and metals. I’m Eurasian and as a mixed ethnicity person it was important for me to comprehend my identity by looking to the past. Also materials are intrinsic to my art practice, I am interested especially in the transformation of elements.

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For your metalworks, which tool in your studio would you say is the most important one? 

This is  a difficult question for me because I use a number of tools in my practice, I’m heavily process-oriented so there is a lot of sanding, polishing, drawing, fire, chemicals. If I were to have to choose one tool it would be sandpaper because there is an immediacy to the transformation of a surface that can occur.

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Inside Miya’s studio

If you were to take this one tool and move to another place , where would it be? 

I can work anywhere, my physical location has never really mattered to me.  If I were not living in New York City, I’d most like to be in the country. Somewhere like Santa Cruz or Northern California, where I also used to live as a child – with 300 foot redwood trees and the coast. This is my favorite environment, forest and ocean together.

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The artist’s tools

What is your thoughts on “quality” of life?

Quality of life is related to freedom for me. Free to do what one likes, go where one likes, make what one likes.

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Describe yourself in three words.

focused, contemplative, spiritual


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Miya’s installation “Emptiness The Sky” is currently exhibited at:

56th Venice Biennale’s “Frontiers Reimagined” Exhibiton, Museo di Palazzo Grimani

9 May 2015 – 22 Nov 2015


Follow her for updates:

IG @miyaando

Website: www.miyaando.com




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As a daughter of an entrepreneur and being one herself, Grace has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as 7 years of crafting content to G Edition, her very own edition of experience sharing in work and travel. She is a full-time bag designer and manufacturer, part-time traveler, and a lover of creative crafts.

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