Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Japanese Art Toys (Sofubi) Mentorship Project

Over the last 9 months, I have been busy organising a very ambitious project. In many ways, it has been in development for years. At the start of the year, I got an email mentioning upcoming grant opportunities that were available through Arts SA. One instantly caught my eye:

‘Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Japan Travel Fund’

“ The grant is open to independent artists based in South Australia who want to acquire or study traditional or contemporary Japanese artistic skills to develop their contemporary arts practice or to develop their projects through a Japanese connection. “

Through further investigation, it seemed I was already trying to achieve the specified outcomes on my own accord. I applied with my grant proposal: Japanese Art Toys (Sofubi) Mentorship Project - To travel to Japan and develop new sofubi works while being influenced and mentored by talented Japanese artists and craftsmen.

I enjoy continuously learning about the processes involved in art toy design but feel that without face to face interactions it is no longer possible to develop my work further. The grant allows me a unique opportunity by financially supporting my development through face to face communications.

I first started developing this project with the hope of being mentored by a few people I have previously worked with but through the excitement and support of my initial contacts, I have reached many more fantastic designers and it has turned into a project beyond my expectations. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the response.

After applying and waiting two months, I got a big letter with ‘Arts SA’ written on the envelope. I thought to myself - "This is the moment you have been waiting for, stay calm and open it with care. Read it slowly and carefully, don’t skim".........

"I am pleased to advise that, on the recommendation of Arts SA's peer assessment panel, I have approved your project"


The hardest part about applying for the grant was to completely organise the whole project as if I had already got the grant. It put extreme pressure on me and made me feel really anxious, so when I found out, I was totally blown away!! I was shaking from the excitement and the adrenaline kick stayed in my body for the whole day. I still get very excited talking about it!!

Through development of the project and compiling the grant application, I felt very honoured at the amount of support received from everyone involved. I would like to personally thank: Dan McLean, Tovi Vo, Mark Nagata, Kirby Kerr, Kiel Hummel, Gino Joukar and Nathan Jurevicius for your kind support letters and encouragement.

I would like to give a very big thank you to Teresa Chiba, to whom I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this project without, I am very humbled by all of your support. Teresa will be one of my mentors too, more information will be announced soon.

For now, I will not mention any other mentor names as I will announce people bit by bit over the coming month but a HUGE thanks to everyone that has agreed to be part of my project. I am thrilled to work with every single one of you.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents, my brother Darren, my mate Jason and another shout out to Tovi for helping me in the last few days leading up to submitting the grant. Don’t know how you all put up with me but I love you all for it!

Besides developing and nurturing my skills, the project is aimed at promoting awareness in Australia of Sofubi, their creators and their relevance as an art form. The art toy scene is relatively unknown in Australia and I am not intending to change the art world over night but hope to give it a good push – successfully being awarded the grant is the first step.

Please follow me over the coming months for an interesting journey in the ups and downs of this project. My blog will be updated regularly every Saturday as part of the project.

Kind Regards,
Shane Haddy


bleideritz said...

congrats mr, shall be watching your adventure :)

Shane Haddy said...

Thank you!!