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Kasumi 

Artist

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Ken Blaze

There are few better ways to describe a modern artist who explores all types of artistic mediums and fields, from film and drawing to performance art and theater, than as a modern renaissance woman. And it's just about the best way to characterize Cleveland Heights-based artist Kasumi, who sort of defies and explicitly works against classifications.

Recently, Kasumi has been focused on what she calls her Perpetual Loops, which are a series of one or more images spliced together to create a sort of infinite GIF. (A collection of her loops was recently featured on the Eric Andre Show on Comedy Central.) In addition to the GIFs, she's created an immersive virtual reality, 360-degree piece called "Pizzaland 360," which is just as cool as it sounds. Her media art has been displayed on the exterior of the Cleveland Museum of Art and inside the DC Tower in Vienna, Austria.

The loops find their origins in Kasumi's 2015 feature-length film Shockwaves, which consisted of gestures used in place of words, with the gestures and clips turned into a full narrative. Kasumi used close to 25,000 clips in the movie, or about 10 times the number of clips an average film will use. Looking for a project after the film, but being exhausted from the film, led her to the idea of the loops, something she could finish in a week.

"They're instant gratification. Total instant gratification," she says.

Perpetual Loops, of course, aren't all she's focused on these days. "I try to find whatever medium fits the concept. If it's a still image, I'll do a print or a photo," she says. "I started also playing around with collage recently. It all sort of starts with 'what if', and then you just sort of go."

She uses Instagram to present her work now — it was Tumblr, before that kind of died — and believes that it's only a matter of time before another platform takes its place. She's also in the process of developing an app that incorporates art, music and entertainment with a sort of create-your-own adventure, mix and match program. "My mother was an artist, and my father was a rocket scientist, so technology doesn't daunt me and prevent me from using new high-tech tools," Kasumi says.

Kasumi, a prestigious Guggenheim Fellow in 2011 who also happens to have classical baroque musical training in her artistic toolbox, doesn't like to talk about her personal life and would rather focus on her work. "My background — like most of ours — is a mixture of many cultures and influences. I'm trying to get away from the characterization of, 'we're this ethnicity' or 'that category' of artist," she explains.

You can see her film Shockwaves, her Infinite Series, her TEDx talk and more of her work at Kasumifilms.com. — Brett Zelman

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