Interview 4

It is the year 2021. It will be almost one year since I was first introduced to Gardiner and our online conversation started. What a year to be sharing moments together. I am so grateful for all the time and input she shared with me. To begin Kokono with a new page, I wanted to ask her how she is feeling, welcoming and looking to the coming year. Here is the response I received!


Photo of favorite thing

It is year 2021 and time is already slipping away… I received an email from Gardiner with a photo of a mug. It is actually in response to an email I wrote last year asking what her favorite thing around the house is.



Photos from Texas

When I last spoke with Gardiner, she was settling back into Chicago life after her one month long california trip. She told me she was already preparing for another road trip to Texas. A few weeks later I received photos from Texas. Lots of outdoor time where it is sunny in Texas unlike the cold Chicago winter.


Continue reading “Photos from Texas”




Interview 3

When I think of an artist, I imagine someone who as a child was natural either with hands or spent lots of time around creative people. Quite a cliche I know… How did Gardiner get into art? What role does Japan play in her creative expression? Over the next few interviews I will delve into the history and making of the artist Gardiner a little deeper.


Interview 2

When Gardiner talks about her Japanese connection, she often mentions her stepmother, Japanese Canadian Connie. It seems that Gardiner’s interests in Japan became stronger around the time she was first introduced to Connie which is also when she moved to the west coast. I started my second interview by asking her about Connie.





Photos from California 2

A month long trip to California is coming to an end for Gardiner. She emails me with some images taken at her final destination on the itinerary. It is the National Park in California called Manzanar National Historic Site. I look up to find that it is one of the camp sites in the United States where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. Looking at the pictures I cannot help but wonder “what kept the hopes of Japanese Americans alive?”

ガーディナーのカリフォルニアでの滞在も 終わりに近づき、シカゴへと帰路に就く。旅の最後の目的地から写真が送られてくる。今回の旅の中でもガーディナーにとって大きな位置を占めている場所、マンザナー国定史跡。第二次世界大戦で1万2千人以上の日系アメリカ人が収容されたマンザナー強制収容所の跡地。カラカラの大地、来る日も来る日もひたすら耐える、何を心の頼りにして生活していたのかなどを想像してしまう。





Interview 1

There is a recurring theme in my email exchange with Gardiner.
A theme that is present in her work and something she thinks about often; a sense of identity.  What was it like growing up with the Japanese identity? How has her sense of identity changed? What has the journey been like for her?
The initial interview question came out of the storefront images she took in San Jose.