I was inspired to write Yoko Ono: Collector Skies because I wanted to know more about Yoko’s life and work. A pioneering boundary-crossing artist who somehow manages to reinvent art along the way–how does she do it? What was her childhood like? I knew she felt like an outsider, unsure of her identity or where she belonged, but how did that affect her art ? And I’ve always loved her Zen-like instruction poems, (like, “Earth Piece: Listen to the sounds of the earth turning”) completed in the mind of the reader. I was curious to know how they evolved. What was going on in her life at the time?
Writing the book gave me some insights. I learned that Yoko came from an emotionally distant, aristocratic Japanese family and was raised primarily in Tokyo, mostly by nannies. Her father left a career in classical music to become a banker, and her mother, a beautiful socialite, was a painter who stopped painting . When she got older, Yoko saw her parents as artists who gave up their dreams. At age four, she was enrolled in a top music school in Japan where she was not only encouraged to listen to sounds in her environment (like traffic, or bird song ), but to try to turn the sounds into musical notes. By the time she was in high school, she was creating visual art, music, and poetry, as well as writing, directing and starring in her own plays . Looking back at those days, she said, “I knew about making art from the word go.”~ read more ~