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Toby Kobayashi '10

Sculpting A Life

Rodin said, "Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated." This receptivity to the rich waverings of existence necessitates an awareness of and appreciation for environment and the tangled forms it takes. Senior fine arts major Toby Kobayashi is concerned with wrangling these forms into new interpretations.

The most ephemeral of these forms is identity. Born in Nara, an ancient capital of Japan and its first urban center, Toby is a twin and one of three daughters of an American mother and Japanese father. She grew up from Japan to Canada and Maine, existing in the tension between West and East. She says, “In Japan they call people like me half, like I was half-Japanese and half-American and not fully either. I struggled with that.”

Running the gamut from drawing to painting, photography to sculpture, Toby’s art has evolved through many mediums, and was greatly informed by the massive scale and intricate detail of the ancient temples of Nara. “My parents often brought me to look at the old temples, and I revisit them every time I go back to pay them respect,” she says. She was at first an environmental studies major active on the College’s Cerridwen Farm, but slowly migrated to fine art courses. She took her fondness for the farm with her, and livestock figure prominently in her work. “The cow’s anatomy is facinating,” she says with a wide-eyed smile.

Conscious of her impending graduation, Toby feels all the movement in her childhood has transferred into an adult restlessness, and is still figuring out where her studies will take her. “I feel like I can’t settle down. I want to keep going on. It’s kind of haunting me,” she says, pulling at her sleeve. “But I love Vermont.”

By Ryan Dixon '11



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