meet the artist
owner // artist
Hi! My name is Tomoko Suzuki, an artist and the owner of Bosatsu Factory Art Studio located near Seattle Washington. My home country is Japan. The US became my second home when I moved to Peoria Illinois in 1995 to live with my uncle’s family to learn English. I would say the big part of me grew up in the US. I discovered my passion for art and lean to be an artist in this country. I have a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts with concentration in Printmaking from California State University in Long Beach. I started making clay art in the past few years but I still draw and make prints. I have felt making art is my mission in life. I am so fortunate to have been able to acquire the knowledge and skill as an artist. There have been plenty of challenges along the way. As a mom of two daughters, I feel even more responsible to show the importance of determination, grit, perseverance in order to go for big dreams and continue to keep pursuing my passion.
In most of my work, you will recognize chubby and full of life figures as the main subject in my sculpture and prints. These figures and their environment are inspired by my Buddhist practice.
Here is my artist statement:
In Buddhism, the Lotus Flower is a symbol of enlightenment. It grows and blossoms out of a muddy pond. While the Lotus symbolizes enlightenment, the muddy pond represents a symbol of earthly desires. In my artistic endeavor, I intend to express a metaphoric diagram of the muddy pond of earthly desires. It embodies the drama of converting suffering into a state of absolute happiness.
Bosatsu is a Japanese word for “Bodhisattva” which originated as a Sanskrit word for a “being who aspires to Buddhahood.” Bosatsu carry out altruistic practices to achieve enlightenment and are compassionate beings who postpone their own entry into Nirvana in order to lead others toward enlightenment. The plump figures, which I call “Chubbies”, are the predominant icons in my art and my visual interpretation of the Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas are struggling and suffering in order to advance to enlightenment while helping others to do the same, in the muddy pond of earthly desires.
I have established a solid identity as a Buddhist, and recognize this as a core heritage of my life. This permeates deep within me; deeper than my nationality, ethnicity, or gender. Through my artistic endeavor, I wish to manifest the true nature of my life: Buddhahood. Ultimately, the purpose of my art is to deliver a positive message that each ordinary being possesses the power to transform one’s life and environment for the better, regardless of external circumstances.