Steven and Ximena have spent more than 20 years creating works of art in Japan and around the world. Together, with a community of participants, they have developed a series of both temporary and permanent public art projects.
Throughout all of Ximena and Steven’s work, it is the tenacity of collective human effort over months and years of working together that make these projects stand out. For these artists, art work is an intimate process of interaction, both personal and social, cultural and humanistic.
Steven and Ximena continue to develop their work with earth and multi media. They design and engage communities in the creative and sustainable development of public spaces. As opposed to commissioning an artist for a work and delivering it to the site, Ximena and Steven propose that public art grow from the site, with community participation.
Since 2000, Steven Ward and Ximena Elgueda have been working on numerous outdoor art projects involving earth/clay, people and time. These projects are social sculptures, with a focus on how a community works together over a period of time to construct a space for public use. These projects all begin with a physical place. Previous sites have ranged from a public park and a university campus to a 100 year old home turned artist residency. Each site’s specific characteristics, both geologic and social, offer key insights into how the ultimate form takes shape.
Most notable to date has been "The Mountain Plaza", or 山の広場 (Yama No Hiroba in Japanese) in central main island Japan. Over the past 16 years this site has been developed into an amphitheater and surrounding park. Ximena and Steven continue with their work on this project. The artists’ goal have always been to create works of art of spatial experience without charging any viewing fees. All of the costs are overcome by the artists independent income, donated equipment, recycled materials and community networks.
question ⇄ investigate ⇄ design ⇄ plan ⇄ predict ⇄ make
Our approach to artistic creation is simple: we ask from the inside out, as well as from the outside in.
Inside out is when we have an image, an idea, inspiration for a piece, whether it be non permanent or permanent. This image / idea resonates within us, becoming part of our life for a couple of days, months, sometimes even years until it is developed and realized.
Another way that we create is that we formulate an enquire and ask questions, we wonder from an external view and delve in to produce an artistic solution.
When an artistic idea / inspiration, enquire emerges we question it and define a context for it. The context is defined by the poetic relation between us, the collaboration between community members, our shared vision, its value and its transcendence.
I was born in Chile (1964) and raised in Venezuela. From the Andes to the Orinoco, the raw geographic influence of my countries was introduced to me at a young age by my topographer father. After traveling to Japan with a scholarship to research architectural ceramics in 1994, I graduated with a Masters from The Nagoya University of Art and Design. Soon after I established a studio and collaboration work with my partner and fellow artist Steven Ward.
A native San Franciscan (born 1970), raised in Northern California, I grew up the son of a painter, my single mom. My earliest memories are of making, painting and working with my hands. Once I was old enough to travel, I set out to see the world. Amongst other life altering experiences, the year spent as an assistant to a Japanese artist branded me with the confidence to establish a studio with partner and artists Ximena Elgueda.
Articles & Interviews
Links to select publications