The Project

The Japantown Mural Project is a celebration of the vibrancy of San Jose's historic Japantown neighborhood through artworks by 50 local artists. The environment is a barren, undeveloped plot of land that once served as the City of San Jose's Maintenance Yard. Chain-link fencing is now covered with more than 60 large mesh panels of color. It stretches a quarter of a city block along 6th and Jackson Streets in the heart of Japantown.

The subject matter is highly interpretive, including personal and commissioned works, and encompasses a wide variety of mediums and aesthetics. It also includes references to the site's former life; 100 years ago, it was one of San Jose's very first Chinatown settlements known as 'Heinlenville.' A majority of the artists maintain art studios in Japantown, have displayed their artwork in neighborhood galleries, or consider this wonderful place their home.

The Japantown Mural Project is truly representative of its own unique community and will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

Correspondences and Elevation

Correspondences and Elevation

by Michele Guieu

Michele Guieu

The Artwork
'Correspondences and Elevation' is part of an ensemble of large paintings celebrating nature and also questioning the ever changing relationship between nature and human beings (fear, exploitation, conservation of nature). In 'Correspondences and Elevation', people walk in empty landscapes where no constructed structures are visible. I chose this painting in the series because of the water. I was born in a port city on the Mediteranean sea and water has always been important to me. When I think about Japan, I see a unique relationship between the people, the island and the Pacific ocean, the forces of nature at work and the continuous ingenuity of the people to overcome them.

Michele Guieu was born in southern France, lived her teenage years in Senegal (Africa), travelled and moved often. She is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris (MA Graphic Design), Paris, France.

She has been a graphic designer for many years when she lived in Paris, where she worked for non-profit organizations and museums. She also exhibited her work in Paris and Copenhagen, before moving to the US in 2000. She is a San Diego Art Prize 2009 nominee in the Emerging Artists Category. Guieu had solo exhibitions at Art Produce Gallery, The San Diego Art Institute and Project X Art in San Diego. She participated in shows at the California Center for the Arts, the Oceanside Museum of Art and the William Cannon Art Gallery. She was invited to the "Summer Salon Series" at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2010.

Michele Guieu lived and worked in San Diego for six years and moved to the bay area in 2010. She is one of the artists of Kaleid Gallery, has participated in the SubZERO festival in 2012 and the Phantom Gallery program in San Jose. She participated in 'Currents 2012: the Santa Fe International New Media Festival' in 2012.

The “notes” she takes on a daily basis - photos and video footage – and then transforms digitally and paints or edits, constitute the base of her work. Through her installations, her work weaves personal events (the landscapes where she lived and that she visited, her family, are recurrent themes) with much larger ones (her take on biodiversity, ongoing wars, Evolution).

In her installations Guieu uses both traditional and nontraditional medium: murals and paintings, drawings, video, and photography. Also prints, furniture, decals, and found objects. Some parts of the installations, like the murals, are ephemeral. Drawings and paintings go usually by series that she re-organizes and develops through time.

Sponsored By

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · Office of the Consulate General of Japan · Wesley United Methodist Church
Jack's Bar & Lounge · Dr. Stephani Nguyen of Japantown Dental · Kay's Shiseido · Dr. Jerrold Hiura & Lucia Cha

Contemporary Asian Theater Scene · Japantown Neighborhood Association · Union Bank of California · Chris & Minako Tsuji

Japanese American Museum of San Jose · Yu Ai Kai Senior Center · Banana Crepe · Halcrow Partners · Pan Pacific Bank · Alex Alsorady & Darcie Kiyan
Sophie Horiuchi Forrester · Helen Hayashi · Roy & PJ Hirabayashi · Aggie Idemoto · Reiko Iwanaga · Jeanne Katsuro · Tamon Norimoto · Kristin Okimoto
Jeffrey Oldham · John Ristow · Rev. Gerald & Kathy Sakamoto · Victoria Taketa · Leah Toeniskoetter · Joe Yasutake

With Thanks

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · The City of San Jose Arts Commission · Dr. Jerrold Hiura · The Rast Family
Corinne Okada Takara · Ruth Tunstall-Grant · Cherri Lakey · DJ Ashford
Empire Seven Studios · The Arsenal · Sign-a-Rama of Downtown San Jose

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