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Japanese artist turns 400 pounds of salt into art at LMU gallery

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 1

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Return to the Sea: Seaworks by Motoi Yamamoto, will be in display at the Laband art gallery in Loyola Marymount University from September 8 to December 8, 2012. On the last day of the exhibit, the public will be invited to help collect the sand and return it to the Pacific Ocean.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 9

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Yamamoto works on his saltscape as visitors take a glance at the piece. Yamamoto says that when he draws, it's like he is meditating.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 11

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Yamamoto's sandals, supplies and template sit on the floor of the Laband art gallery.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 7

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Yamamoto fills up his plastic squeeze bottle with more salt. He will use up to 400 pounds of salt to complete his piece.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 6

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The exhibition will also feature drawings and photographs done by Yamamoto.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 5

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Students watch as Yamamoto works on his Saltscape art piece at the Laband Art Gallery in Loyola Marymount University. The public is welcomed to view Yamamoto work on his art before it is complete.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 4

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Carolyn Peter (right), Laband art gallery director, is responsible for bringing Motoi Yamamoto (left) to Loyola Marymount University because she wants to expose people to an "incredible artist and his work."

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 10

Andres Aguila/KPCC

A close up look at Motoi Yamamoto's saltscape art piece.

Southern California residents will have the opportunity to view 400 pounds of salt turn into a piece of art.

The Laband art gallery at Loyola Marymount University will feature the Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto exhibit.

Motoi Yamamoto is a Japanese artist who creates large-scale salt landscapes, or saltscapes, using pounds of salt, patience and his talent. He started using salt after his sister died from a brain tumor in 1994 and creating these intricate sculptures served as a coping mechanism for this personal devastation.

Yamamoto started creating large scale salt landscapes in 2002 and this will be his first installation in the Los Angeles Area.

“Bringing a very important Japanese artist from Japan to L.A. to expose his work will hopefully touch the Japanese community, as well as the rest of the community.” said Carolyn Peter, Laband art gallery director.

Peter was the person responsible for bringing Yamamoto to the west coast after searching for something that was different and beautiful.

Yamamoto is enjoying his time in LMU because it is very calm, it’s not too noisy and the people are very kind.

The artist’s saltscape will take up to two weeks to create and the public is invited to view him work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 to 31 and Sept. 4 to 6.

When Yamamoto is finished with a piece, he said it is like climbing a mountain and finally reaching its peak.

The exhibit will open on Sept. 8 and will run through Dec. 8, when the public can also participate in collecting the pounds of salt and return it to the Pacific Ocean.