The first Friday of each month my fledgling publishing company releases a new book. Once my mother was released from her Earthly life I was working with ghosts instead of documenting spirit.
The Spirit of Japan Art and MyKu Collection by Tanya Richey was her final collective work and it succeeded at what she did best- capturing moments in time and sharing her vision via brush and pen strokes. Her work became my project in 2016 with a plan to publish Tanya’s brilliance in books for browsing beginning my arduous journey converting vibrant paintings to printed pages.
Her life concluded in June and I was left to carry her spirit forward through the books we had designed together. I was left to release the six remaining books of her artist journey through Japan without the benefit of her last minute notes and changes. Those changes had always been frustrating and she often asked for tiny tweaks of impossibility. Unrestrained by what the book industry expects manifesting her vision and blending it with my functional reality pushed every detail of the Spirit of Japan MyKu & Zengo books in directions I would not have imagined.
Her life has ended but the work continues and now, I travel this path making choices from memory. Listening for her spirit instead of walking into the next room to ask a question.
Copious notes clutter digital and physical surfaces throughout my workspace. Quotes, expressed thoughts, notes on how and where each art piece evolved but there is always space between words of documentation- in that space are the moments she experienced now replaced by the moments we experience.
Leaving for a two year adventure in Japan she learned that ancient haiku masters believed women are too emotional to construct proper haiku so, in an appropriate emotional outburst, she wrote hundreds of haiku style poems.
“These are MyKu,” she would say. “No one can say they are wrong; they are mine.”
Finishing the publication of her twelve book Spirit of Japan series I take those words to heart. The space between her art and interpretation of visualizations is now solidly in the perception of the viewer. The conversation between artist and audience has migrated to viewer response and her philosophy on the importance of artist intend is being played out in real time.
She has lain her visions out for you to take them as they come to you. No one can say your interpretation is wrong. Everyone sees things differently. This part of her spirit nudges me through self-doubt as I work through the remaining MyKu volumes.
Art was Tanya’s way to center herself. Perhaps these books will pass a bit of that meditative experience along.