Interview x Satsuki Shibuya

Inspiring Women Satsuki Shibuya by Ashley Neese6

A couple of years ago I came across Satsuki Shibuya’s artwork and immediately felt a connection to what she was sharing. Her ethereal watercolor paintings feel very current while speaking about the ancient wisdom we all hold within. Satsuki works from an intuitive place and her paintings evoke deeper levels of consciousness to the energy that takes place in our everyday lives.

In addition to being a remarkable artist, Satsuki has a way with words that blows me away. I love her quotes and am often amazed at how I come across them online at the exact right time. Satsuki shared from an authentic place in this interview giving us so many gems to learn from. She is passionate about showing us a way to live feeling more grounded to the earth, connected to ourselves, and appreciative of the amazing journey we get to share together. Satsuki is definitely made for our times.


Do you have a morning or evening ritual? If so, tell us about it.
A sudden illness in 2011 began an ever continuing exploration of the inner self. Through this, a morning ritual emerged, consisting of meditation with crystals, mind expanding reading, journaling and exercising or gardening. At times, a light evening ritual of meditation under the night sky is incorporated, especially for extra busy days when the body is yearning for re-grounding.

Is connecting to nature something that you value?
Definitely. Not only do I value connection with nature, but feel that it fuels my being. Nature allows for the self to remember oneness; that we are all part of an Universal whole.

My husband and I used to live in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, in a converted, red brick, historical high-rise before moving to where we are now. I remember looking out the window every morning down at a single, scraggly-looking tree, whose roots were surrounded by concrete, when feeling the need to connect with nature. As much as city living was vibrant and exploding with creative energy, my soul yearned for a slower pace of life that allowed for one to fully immerse in nature’s rhythm with all five senses. I also acknowledge the crucial role that nature plays in how I create and would most likely not be able to do what I do right now without the power and love that nature graciously shares everyday.


What is your favorite way to relax?
At home, during the late afternoon, when all is quiet, still, and the only sounds audible are those heard between the noise. The sunlight peeks through the window, indirectly inviting itself into the space just enough to share its warm embrace. Sinking into the sofa, face up, lying still, all seems at peace and yet my inner world is amplified many times over. A release of any and all expectations, should’s, have-to’s, and just being present in the moment. Clouds slowly float by creating whimsical shapes that conjure up magical fairy tales.

It is a moment when heavy energies fall away allowing for one to breathe in all that the world has to offer. You feel alive, excited and peaceful all that the same time. Although these moments are becoming increasingly difficult to find, I definitely know how important it is, not only for relaxation, but to remind myself what is truly important in life. A moment of reflection, of connection.

Share three of your biggest inspirations right now.
Akihiro Miwa — for the way in which he views life. How he integrates the spiritual realm with human life and translates it into his performances. Truly an inspirational individual.

Kusama Yayoi — for her devotion to her art. To be so engulfed, so entranced with what one does, I find it rare to meet anyone as focused and yet mesmerized by the very thing they are creating. It feels as though she is creating art not only for others, but first for her self, for her sanity. I can relate as it feels art can communicate the depths of my soul more directly than any word choice I make for the experience I am wanting to share.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama — my spiritual turning point came when I read the biography of the Dalai Lama. The thought that someone could dedicate their entire life to world peace, even beyond their own trials and tribulations, is immensely inspiring. As much as I would like to believe deep down, all humans desire world peace, he has proven this collective thought to be possible by becoming a living example.

Inspiring Women Satsuki Shibuya by Ashley Neese

How do you create balance between your personal and professional life?
As my studio is located in our home, work and personal life seem to coexist and intermingle. Before, I felt that perhaps such a situation might not be favorable for cultivating creativity and mental sanity, but found it to be the most ideal situation for myself. I believe this stems from the realization that there has never been a line of separation between who I am and what I do and therefore, feel that I am an artist, as much as I am human or a woman or Japanese American. It is another part of who I am. If digging deeper, one might say that even those things in itself are just labels and not truly who we are, but I’ll leave that for another discussion.

To keep things simple, in order to find balance, I make it a point to always remember why I do what I do, what the purpose is for my existence and allow for my personal and professional life to expand from there.

I have found that if I humbly flow along with the Universe, it always leads towards the balance I seek.

Tell us one thing you haven’t done yet that you really want to do.
I would love to go on our honeymoon. Although It has been 5 wonderful years with my husband, since I became ill shortly after our wedding, our trip has been on hold as we have not been able to travel. Although not fully well, yet, I am finally able to do a bit of traveling and would love to experience this world as we had envisioned when embarking on our life together.

Inspiring Women Satsuki Shibuya by Ashley Neese

Have you ever struggled with self care in your life? How did you navigate that?
Ever since I was a child, I felt a disconnect from what I was experiencing with how others viewed the world. I would share with my mother the energies I sensed or would tell people what I experienced internally, but all would ask me to not say ‘strange things’ or be ‘too sensitive’. Adults would be shocked when they found out about the thoughts that filled my mind and would tell my mother how ‘abnormal’ it was for a young girl to know such things. From these experiences, I quickly figured out that in order to fit in, I would need to hide this part of myself.

This disconnect from the soul would cause a mask to emerge which I would wear when trying to integrate with the outside world. As time passed, the gap between the soul and outer self grew, creating a large hole, internally.

The charade lasted for almost 25 years before I finally connected the emptiness I felt inside, which I desperately tried to fill with fame, recognition and praise, to the disconnect created when a portion of my soul was locked away during childhood. Through the illness, it re-awakened what I had almost forgotten and showed me the importance of self care, self love and self acceptance. I now truly believe that many of the maladies that plague our world, whether physical or mental, could be healed if we connected back to our souls.

How do you strengthen your intuition?
To believe in the intuitive messages that come, without hesitation, with full trust. The more I let go and believe, the stronger it becomes.

Inspiring Women Satsuki Shibuya by Ashley Neese

Best advice you’ve ever taken.

It is a Japanese saying which means “Eat until you are 80% full”.

In a world where consumerism, doing more, is rewarded and nothing seems to ever be good enough, believing such thoughts was what made me sick in the first place.

Although I heard this saying while growing up from my parents and elders, it struck a deep cord inside when hearing it again as an adult — that balance and abundance is available in our lives if all is experienced in moderation.

What are you most grateful for?
Life. Every night while lying in bed, the last words I say before falling asleep are, “Thank you, Universe, for another day here on Earth, to be able to spend it with those I love and the opportunity to do what I am here to do — to share love, peace and harmony.

If you’re in LA be sure to check out Satsuki’s solo show FLOW at Poketo opening September 18th, 2015.


  • Emmie Rae

    This is a deeply beautiful interview. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you Ashley. Thank you Satsuki. xo

    • ashley

      Thank you for being here Emmie. I really appreciate you taking the time to share and be with us. May your week be filled with courage, hope and love. Always. xoa

  • Ashley Hallmark

    This is such a beautiful interview and resonated deeply with me. Ripe with wisdom and beautiful insights. Thank you for sharing!

    • ashley

      Hello Ashley! It is lovely to hear from you. I am so glad you enjoyed this interview. I know I’ll be tuning into her wisdom for a long while. Thinking of you and sending love. xoa

  • Corina

    So inspiring, so true! I need to keep that 80% rule in my mind and to remember it not only for eating but also for any activity. It`s so simple but I am sure can be very helpful. Thank you! :-)

    • ashley

      Hello Corina! Thanks for taking the time to share. I love the 80 % rule of any activity – that is brilliant. Going to implement that this week. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday. xoa

  • Jess

    What a beautiful interview! It fed my soul in a deep way.
    Thank you!

    • ashley

      Hi there Jess! Really happy you enjoyed this interview. Satsuki is such a humble and wise woman. I have the same experience as you every time I read this. Wishing you a beautiful night, thanks for being here. xoa

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