It has been my pleasure to be a member of JIAS (Japan International Artists Society) since 1981. Over the years my works have been included in exhibitions throughout the world, notably: University of Notre Dame (1979); Midwest Museum of American Art (1981); JIAS (1981); XV Grand Prix Intl. D-Arte Contemporain de Monte Carlo (1982); XVIII Mostra Internazionale di Scultura all’Aperto, Milano (1982); Fort Wayne Museum of Art, two man show with photographer Jerry Uelsmann (1983); 3a Mostra Intl’ de Piccola Scultura, Milan (1987); American States Insurance (1991); Tokyo Central Museum 1993); Gallery Mido 1995); Sedona Sculpture Walk (1997); CSCC (2001); National Museum Tianjin, China (2006); CAEA, Tokyo, (2006).

In looking at the idea to present my life and work in printed form, it was necessary to look back over the past thirty years, and define what it means to be an artist. Throughout the years the purpose for creating has held different meanings, and the reasons have changed as my life and wisdom have evolved.

Art can generally be seen from a technical perspective, by examining the underlying technology, materials, and engineering an artist uses. Art can also be defined by content, iconography and meaning. While the medium is important, acting as the carrier of the information an artist hopes to record, I have always held a firm conviction that content and meaning take precedence over technique.

The primary focus of my work has been sculpture, requiring an understanding of how materials work. The interrelatedness of mass has always been important. In the case of metal casting, and in ceramic, compounding of the material is critical. The alchemy of the initial compound forms the basis for the resulting molecular chain. Additionally, the process of heating and cooling plays an important role with the fire acting as the catalyst for the molecular integration taking place while the ceramic is in the kiln, or while the metal becomes fluid, and is poured into a mold. The cooling process contributes important elements to the resulting form as well (crystallization).

Throughout much of the history on this planet humans have created forms for expression. Art historians talk clearly about the underlying purposes of certain artists who desire to express their own emotional and intellectual quest. Artists also work outside their personal belief system to create works directed to society at large. Perhaps the most obvious application of this concept is in architecture where materials are organized in a fashion to create usable environments.

JIAS has at its base the desire to promote international cultural exchange. Perhaps this concept represents the highest form of communication currently at work on our planet. In our contemporary world, we find a great deal of anxiety, pressure, and tension between nations, and within specific countries. Class distinctions and educational disparities exist resulting in a struggle between those who are in a position of power and those who lack such power. Also, there are political, social, religious and economic agendas at work around the globe. International communication is paramount in order to help resolve difficulties in the world. Dialogue is at the heart of all human interaction. When we look back in time to various art works, such as: Lascaux and Chauvet in France; Altamira in Spain; Hongshan and Liangzhu in China; Jomon and Yayoi in Japan; Aborigines in Australia, and many others, we see the early days of human interest to record information about life, expressing aspects of the human imagination. Through history we can see how humans have developed art and language to its present form. Throughout time it is possible to see, in the art forms of a particular era, the diversity, genius, and expansive (limitless) capacity for human imagination.

I am proud to have been a member of JIAS for more than twenty years. Throughout my life, the purpose of my work has always been to concentrate knowledge into forms, offering this concentrated knowledge to those who experience the work. Perhaps more than any other form, the dogu stands as a symbol to man’s ultimate creation. The dogu can be interpreted on many levels, having a historical base that runs through history for millennia. The form of the dogu can be found in nearly every culture throughout human history. The dogu as a representation of the being, the stick figure a child draws, or perhaps the sculptures of Rodin, all contain the same base, the desire to understand and represent what it is to be human.

In addition to creating art forms, my life is dedicated to teaching. Through the expressive medium of teaching it is possible to open new vistas in the mind of students.

David Kastner

2006