DG Q&A: Artist Kana Harada

KanaportraitKana Harada says she was born an artist. "I started drawing when I was a year old, and my mother still tells me that when I was four, I announced, ‘I was born to draw.’ Ever since then, art is what I’ve lived,” she says.

Born and raised in Tokyo, with a short stint in Long Island due to her father’s job, Harada had formal training in art in Tokyo. Her husband’s Texas Instruments job brought her to Dallas in 1995 and it was there that she started to create birdcage-inspired pieces out of hand-cut foam sheets.

As she told Artistic Network in 2005, “You may never see any birds in my cages, as I imagine them to be like fairies, coming and going when no one is looking, but I hope you'll feel their joy, their songs of freedom, and the sense of enriched peace in each and every perch I have created.”

She then used the foam to create her series of hand mirrors with empty centers and intricate hand work, which evoke the magic and mystery of dark fairy tales or a woman’s hope for beauty reflecting back at her.

Crescent“I’ve always loved hand mirrors,” she says. “Their shapes, sizes, and how we look into them just to see our own faces.”

Her pieces are feminine and whimsical. Harada says she tries to convey a sense of freedom in just being yourself, “a celebration of life.”

“I’d like to convey the calming, peaceful, deep joy of being a part of the universe,” she says.

Harada, who has exhibited in the U.S. and Japan, had shows earlier this year at Mighty Fine Arts in Dallas and the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas' CADD Art Lab. Her next exhibitions will be in May 2010 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (MAC) and HCG Gallery.

DG: With your mirrors, is the shape of the mirror the magical/glamorous part to you, or is it the idea of the gaze? why?

Kana Harada: It's both. I see them in a theatrical sense, because they were initially inspired by Sleeping Beauty and vintage pictures of women looking into hand mirrors. I hope they're a door to other wonderful dimensions within the viewer... their stories.

DG: Some studies have said we are more narcissistic today than ever before. Do you feel that way?

KH: Not at all.In this economy, our values are definitely changing. We're relating more with others, sharing similar experiences and supporting one another. To me, this is the beginning of finding true luxury and "glamour." Enriching and deepening the beauty within us.

DG: How do you define glamour?

KH: Grace, elegance and kindness. I believe it’s a state of mind, knowing exactly who you are, being in tune with your inner-self.

DG: Who or what is your glamorous icon?

KH: The craftsmanship and design of American plastic handbags from the 50’s, and Audrey Hepburn in her later years.

DG: Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

KH: Both.

DG: Favorite glamorous movie?

KH: Diva (1981), Roman Holiday (1953)

DG: What was your most glamorous moment?

KH: Every time I finish one of my pieces.

Kanaharada2 DG: Favorite glamorous object?

KH: The one-of-a-kind eye glasses I get in Tokyo.

DG: Most glamorous place?

KH: Home - where my husband is.

DG: Most glamorous job?

KH: Full-time artist!

DG: Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't.

KH: “Glamour” when defined too materialistically.

DG: Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized.

KH: The kindness of strangers. This is always SO classy.

DG: Can glamour survive?

KH: As a power that comes from a positive state of mind and kindness, of course. One of these days, it’ll be THE “bling” everyone wants.

DG: Is glamour something you're born with?

KH: In some cases yes, but it can be acquired as well. It’s never too late.

Kana harada mirrors


1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Cate Blanchett

2) Paris or Venice? Venice

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York (Long Island)

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto. (I’m from Tokyo, so Kyoto is a dream place for me.)

6) Boots or stilettos? Christian Louboutin's black spiked heels

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Art Nouveau

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Both but only if vintage

9) Armani or Versace? John Galliano’s runway fashion

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Diana Vreeland

11) Champagne or single malt? Champagne

12) 1960s or 1980s? 50’s and before

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Linda Evangelista

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean Connery