Honolulu artist Kris Goto’s pieces are stimulating, emotional manifestations of characters in flux. Her lines seek to illustrate the psychological forces that motivate, burden, inspire and destroy us: human relationships, inner battles, vices of torment and longing, things that enable or inhibit us from finding ourselves.
Born and raised in the sequestered rice fields of Japan, Kris moved to Hong Kong at the age of 9 and learned that there is more to art than manga. Before she graduated, however, Kris spent two years abroad in New Zealand, and it was during this time that she realized her talent: she would doodle on her hands to the envy of her classmates who, upon seeing Kris’s body art, would request it for themselves. Her illustrations on their arms were imitations of Maori tattoo symbols, but these ideas permeate through her early works in Honolulu. Maori art took her into the world of lines, and she has expanded upon its themes.
Kris thinks art should ask more questions of ourselves than answer them. It’s a huge compliment when people stand in front of her artwork and just think. She tries to illustrate the things that make us question ourselves—intangible things that cannot easily be pictured, but are what we experience every day. To Kris, it’s very important that we each know ourselves.
She often works between the many canvases spread around the floor of her studio in the artists lofts of Chinatown, many of which can be seen on First Fridays when the studio residents hold open house mini exhibitions within their spaces.