The Coastal Star

10 Questions: Michiko Kurisu (Delray Beach)

Meet Your Neighbor

Michiko Kurisu is committed to the idea of substantial, provocative art in public spaces. A 10-year resident of coastal Delray Beach, she has built a career in art, photography and design. Most recently she unveiled a permanent light-based art installation at the southeast corner of Veterans Park in Delray Beach — under the Atlantic Avenue Bridge. Michiko is a graduate of Brown University with coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has lived and traveled in 16 countries.

Q. Where did you grow up, and how do you think that has influenced you?
A. I grew up on a ranch in Oregon. Growing up in open space with woods and creeks and ponies definitely makes TV pretty dull. Because so much of my growing up happened in relatively wild nature, places that I would return to throughout the seasons, a sense of connection to place, and place as narrative became second nature to me.
Q. What inspired your light project under the Atlantic Avenue Bridge?
A. I have always been attracted to creating site-specific work. The call to artists was for a site-specific installation, and I liked that. It was about creating not just an object, but a complete experience. Q. Are you involved in other artistic projects?
A. Yes. I photograph all the time, and am working on more light-based art.
Q. What is your favorite thing about working in the arts?
A. For me, making art is a response to life, to what living seems to require. What I love about the realm of public art is its utterly physically and psychologically democratic nature: Public art has the potential to reach audiences who may or may not give a hoot about art per se, and to transform their experience. I think the public realm is one of the most challenging places for art to exist.
Q. What advice do you have for a young person who wants to get into the arts today?
A. I am a young person! Carpe diem.
Q. Why did you select to live in coastal Delray Beach?
A. It was by accident, really. I came here to work on a one-and-a-half-year contract. That was about 10 years ago. There were no live/work loft spaces at that time, so I figured the beach would keep me sane.
Q. If your life story were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
A. I don’t know, but I’ve been accused of acting like that squirrel in Over the Hedge. Occasionally I get mistaken for Lucy Liu and Pocahontas.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A. Argentine tango, classical Indian, João Gilberto
Q. What book are you reading now?
A. The BMW 3 Series Service Manual, 1984-1990, out of necessity.
Q. Who/what makes you laugh?
A. People falling out of chairs and Japanese candid camera.

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