I have never been someone who consciously looks back on my life to see where I was before, and where I am now. Maybe because I know the “now” is temporary, transitional; lasting anywhere from seconds, to days, to weeks, and even then, replete with many variations. However Issue 44 of Uppercase magazine, which I am featured in, has made me rethink rethinking–or at least, “reflecting” if I am to take baby steps.

Uppercase Magazine Issue 44, Cover

Writing for the recurring column, Beginnings, publisher, Janine Vangool shares her thoughts on seeing “20/20: The Past 20 Years and Future 20 Years,” as a publishing powerhouse delivering how artists and creatives do and think. True to form, she brought in some of those artists and creatives to comment on what significance, in their lives, hindsight has revealed to them; asking readers’ response of the same to include how their past may affect their future. Published answers mentioned the Internet (Jennifer Farrell), childrearing (Kelly Frederick Mizer) and climate change (Vangool), which can broadly be summarized as, how we exist with one another–importantly, with care–and what caring looks like (Little Shiva).

But isn’t being an artist naturally about being both? To constantly adapt and create as society undergoes change? To show, identify and reflect on the ideas and impressions that seem to matter so much they must be made known to a greater public: the same public undergoing change? Of course it is, and that is because, like the theme of Issue 44–volume and geometric shapes–so long as we are the matter, taking up the space, we are responsible. Whether at a slow or steady crawl like the climate, or in leaps and bounds as technology, responsibility must always take a step, if as an artist or as a society, we are to move forward.

Uppercase Magazine Issue 44, Inset

Come to “rethink” about it, this is another reason why I’m reluctant to look back on my past: if I am not taking any steps, ever, then I am not going anywhere am I? Whether the destination is good or bad, successful or a failure, beneficial or harmful can only be determined at that time. A time that is just like the “now,” temporary, and perhaps transforming from one extreme to another. Responsibility though ensures that regardless of the outcome, every effort was made to go on with care, past, present, or future. Change within society or ourselves comes when those efforts are needed the most–for the next generations of artists, creatives, kids, innovation, earth, and publications that make you think, have the chance to exist as well.

What my hope is, like Vangool, fellow Issue-44 artists Sophie Smallhorn and Anna Mac, or previously profiled favorites Matt Shlian and Jordan Buschur, is that while I ensure, I also endure, and am enduring. That I can keep making art of matter, that matters, using matter that is essential to the survival, culture, ecology and prosperity of Japanese papermakers and traditions of handmade Japanese-papermaking. That with every work, I become better–artistically and perceptively –and in turn, what I want to convey–be it collections Cosmos, Meta-Chroma and Genarcha pictured in the magazine–is realized better too. That the steps I take, baby or big, somehow all add up to “representing” qualities that hold great esteem to any entity–art, artists, society and with much joy, Uppercase–the one exception I will always make in reflecting upon the special moments in my life before now.

Issue 44 of Uppercase is available at most major newsstands from January to March 2020. Copies can be ordered directly through, or through subscription services.

With many thanks to Janine and Correy Baldwin who might be surprised to know that your past had been steps forward-taking, future-minded, all along.

Uppercase Magazine Issue 44, Back

No comments found.