Yokonori Stone may have started out as a "dumb kid," who performed poorly on exams and was constantly chided for never paying attention, but today she's attracting the attention of curators in Asia and Europe as a young feminist artist who has a cunning ability to distill images of raw debasement. This summer, she'll have her American debut at Ever Gold Gallery with a suite of works that simultaneously embrace and ridicule her new hometown, San Francisco.
This spring I visited "Nori," as her friends call her, in her small apartment in the Western Addition neighborhood to talk about how she's been settling in and what's behind this new body of work. We sat on the floor of her living room and ate red bean mochi while we spoke. -Chad Calhoun
I have been here for just over a year.
Absolutely. The generosity of this city constantly surprises me and all the great artists working here is very inspiring.
I am not using art for anything except my own personal enjoyment and to gain a better understanding of myself. I wish I had the courage to tackle such important topics like sweatshop labor and gender equality but I am just a simple artist, and no one really cares what I think about such topics. They'd rather listen to Hilary Clinton or Reverend Al Sharpton.
I'd like to make monuments but they won't fit in my apartment, so I am not sure how I would be able to work on such things. Videos require a lot of technical skill that I do not have. I can't even figure out how to set up a facebook page. As for photos, there are just too many out in the world right now. I just don't think I have anything to add in terms of taking pictures of things.
I take a lot of comfort from just working on things I like, but if I do not like the subject I can not enjoy the process. Like monkeys, I hate monkeys, especially baby monkeys. If someone told me that I had to make a picture of a baby monkey I would want to die. I try and only do what I enjoy, so I sit and make funny pictures all day except when I have to go to my job.
You can find me working behind the scenes at the Trader Joe's over on Masonic. I stock shelves and keep the back store room tidy. I get an apron and don't have to wear those awful Hawaiian shirts.
Oh Yes! You should also try the frozen tamales, they are pretty good.
What is "smutty"?
I don't think my work would ever turn anybody on, even in San Francisco, but I do think that they are kind of like jokes. It is fun to say things that aren't polite, and I think it is fun to hear such things as well.
Welcome to the Tenderloin
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 5th, 6-10 PM
@Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco
Exhibition runs until April 26th
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