Mindful in the making: spotlight on paper artist Reina Takahashi
February 23, 2022
We asked California-based paper artist and illustrator Reina Takahashi to create a series of three stop-motion pieces to illustrate the HiRoad model of insurance-for-good.
Her artwork appeared on our social channels, but we wanted to share Reina’s lively and energetic creations here, plus ask her a few questions about being a mindful and observant artist.
Good for savings, communities and the world
Also known as the ripple effect, our HiRoad take on being mindful puts the emphasis on a positive approach to driving. Check out Reina’s interpretations in this trio:
Three questions for Reina
1. We’re drawn to the mindful aspects of your art. How do you describe it?
Mindful is such a nice way of describing my art. Thank you! I'd say that the mindful part must come in when I get to be really enveloped in the process of making. When I'm prototyping the forms and just trying things out, there's an engagement with exploration that's really joyful and fun. When there are elements of spontaneity and improvisation, I get very involved in the process. I'd even go as far as to say that the mindful bit is closely tied to the idea of play. Play is something I've actively been trying to incorporate into my process and day to day practice for the past year.
2. What keeps you focused on a busy work day?
This can be really hard! Sometimes I am really scattered and find it hard to focus. Tactically-speaking, when it's a packed day, I do really well with lists. I list to-do's down to the tiniest detail. Breaking down tasks into their smallest unit makes them feel more approachable. Also, podcasts! My brain has somehow been trained to associate podcasts with getting things done, so I'll put one on if my tasks require very little critical thinking. Aside from that—and this is kind of embarrassing to admit—I straight up hide my phone. If I'm in a mode where I'm prone to be scattered, then I'm also prone towant to distract myself, so the phone needs to not be within sight.
Those are practical things I do. As far as the mental space, a New Year's resolution that a friend shared is, "do what you're doing," meaning if you've set out to tackle email, only tackle email during that time. If you've decided to hang out with your partner, only focus on that. This is something I'm trying to practice, and the phrase "do what you're doing" is a short-hand way for me to remember that. Being conscious of it has really made me aware of how often I try to multitask. It's all definitely a work in progress.
3. What’s your current inspiration—either from books, streaming content, art, nature or another source?
I've been taking a lot more walks in my neighborhood, which, architecturally, is a stark mix of ornate 1900s homes and concrete apartment buildings from the 1970s. I used to think that the apartment buildings weren't very nice, visually—many have modifications that cover up their original design—but I've come to notice and appreciate the details in them: globe lamps, geometric patterns in the tiling, floating steps, cantilevered rooftops, etc. So those details have been a source of inspiration, alongside my usual fascination with nature.
Extra credit? Behind-the-scenes footage of the process
It didn’t surprise us that Reina went above and beyond the assignment and took the time to document her creative process. Watch her inspiring and focused approach in our behind-the-scenes video. And please check outher work—we’ll be doing that too, and of course, taking the high road!
Photo by: Scott Doorley
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