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At Home With Chiai Tajima

At Home With Chiai Tajima

This week on the journal we visit artist Chiai Tajima. Currently residing in a Spanish style home from the 1920s in Los Angeles, California. Here we talk about Chiai's calm and restful space, creativity, downtime and daily life. 

PB: Where are you originally from and where are you residing currently? 
TC: I generally neglect to answer this question properly because I moved around a lot as a kid. But to sum it up, I was born in Japan, raised in Singapore and moved to the US in middle school. I lived in New York for 6 years and am currently residing in Los Angeles, California.
PB: Do you have a morning / evening routine?
TC: I typically wake up and walk my dog first thing in the morning. Recently, I’ve been enjoying practicing a more intentional form of walking by listening to a meditation podcast that guides me through my walking process. This is usually followed by dumping greens and fruits into a blender for breakfast. But my favorite part of the morning is brewing my own cup of coffee. Grinding the beans by hand is key, although tedious at times; something about the mindless act of turning that handle gives me time to slowly wake up.
PB: What is a normal week day / weekend like for you?
TC: As a professional violinist, I perform on most weekends. A typical weekend will consist of a rehearsal followed by 2 performances. An average week day for me usually consist of practicing the violin, commuting (which unfortunately takes up more time than I would like), rehearsing for upcoming performances, and spending time winding down by walking on short trails by the ocean with my husband and my dog.
PB: Can you tell us about your space, do you have a favourite area(s) within it?
TC: My husband and I moved into our current home about a year ago. It is a Spanish-style home from the 1920s with a lot of original details like curved doorways, built-in shelving, and stucco walls. My favorite area of the house would have to be the dining room because of the natural light. It floods the room throughout the day and as the sun moves, the reflection of the trees outside our dining room window reflect on our bare walls, creating beautiful shadows.
PB: We love how you have curated your space. What is your approach to styling your home space?
TC: I have always valued having a peaceful environment in my home. My approach to creating a  calming atmosphere consist of a few elements: creating negative space, choosing indirect or diffused lighting, lighting a candle or burning an incense, and having a neutral color palette. As an introvert spending a lot of time on stage in the spotlight, coming home to a relaxing space is pretty much a necessity. 
PB: How do you like to spend your downtime?
TC: I love watching movies, cooking with a glass of wine, or walking on trails by the ocean. 
PB: Do you have a favourite object / piece of furniture; is there a story behind it?
TC: My favorite piece of furniture would have to be our Jeanneret-inspired file rack that my husband and I made during the pandemic. It brings back memories of when our performance career came to a halt which encouraged us to find an entirely new creative outlet. I also treasure my collection of matcha bowls that belonged to my late great-grandfather. Though I never met him, he is one of the few people in my family that had a passion for the arts- I’d imagine we would have gotten along very well. 
PB: How do you like to spark creativity?
TC: I go outside, preferably someplace surrounded by nature. It almost always leaves me feeling uplifted.
PB: How do you like to practice self-care?
TC: Lately, I have been enjoying meditation, reading, and self-reflection because what ultimately makes me happy is knowing myself in order to grow, at times accept, and become closer each day to someone I love.
PB: Do you have a favourite go-to recipe?
TC: Typically, it involves pasta. Recently, I’ve been loving adding ricotta, zucchini, shallots and lemon to a rigatoni pasta. Fresh and summery. But also, anything simple with wholesome ingredients goes. 
PB: When you are feeling flat, what’s something that brings you back to yourself?
TC: Talking with my friends and family. Always.
PB: Who are your favourite artists?
TC: Anyone who pursues their passion with integrity. 
PB: Can you tell us about your favourite medium?
TC: My favorite medium has always been photography because I feel it has the ability to capture fleeting moments and emotions in a tangible manner. I think the best photography evoke feelings or moods in ways words cannot express. 
PB: How is your space informed by your environment?
TC: Living in California where sunlight is bountiful, I like having bare walls to allow space for light and shadow play.
PB: What lead you to what you are doing now?
TC: I have always been a creative person for as long as I can remember since I was a little girl so it comes as no surprise that my career and hobbies are driven by creative pursuits. As far as my life goes though, I owe everything to the people in my life. I have always been blessed in my relationships and I never take that for granted. 
Words and photography by Chiai Tajima 
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