Vermont Arts Council

I am a Vermont Artist: Sachiko Yoshida

Sachiko Yoshida, originally from Hiigata, Japan, met Burton Zahler in Honduras more than two decades ago. Her love affair with Vermont began when he showed her a book of photographs of his cherished Vermont. She also fell in love with Burt, and in 1998 they moved to the Northeast Kingdom to begin a new life. Sachiko has been creating watercolor paintings ever since.

Sachiko shared her thoughts about being a Vermont artist.

How has living as an artist in Vermont affected your creative process?

Having enough space and time is precious to me. Living in rural Vermont has brought me vast freedom from the stresses of a more urban life. I am surrounded by many great people. We inspire each other and support each other with mutual respect. How can I ask for anything more? I just need to keep pursuing my own work. Also, needless to say, I am deeply connected to the environment. As I value the beauty of this world, I’d like to contribute something if I could.
What is something about your art that has changed over time?

I am aware of being influenced by a college professor who taught me Nihon-ga (Japanese pigment painting). Even though I was not a good student back then, as I became older, I felt the urge to practice again. I am using watercolor for now, planning to regain those methods I once learned.

Also I am aware of my heritage of Japanese aesthetics. It runs deep within me. I am also open to a more global sense of beauty. I’d like to enrich my world of artistic expression. Over years of life experience I have observed how my awareness of my own ethnicity has become clearer. This clarity has also made it possible for me to respect others and seek the possibilities that coexist with different points of view.
What is your vision for the next several years?

My beloved husband, Burt, passed away in 2016. I am still in the grieving process. Losing a loved one will never heal. That important life lesson has made me ponder on a daily basis the questions of “absolute truth” and how “what is permanent is everything is impermanent.”

Sometimes I feel I am looking at the world through his eyes. He has joined me or I have merged with him.

Never lose curiosity, savor all kinds of beauty, enjoy books, movies, music . . . this world is so beautiful, keep working.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Sachiko Yoshida is one of nineteen artists featured in Looking North: Catamount Artists Connect at the Vermont Arts Council Spotlight Gallery.

The “I am a Vermont Artist” series explores how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age. Covering all artistic disciplines, and a range of backgrounds—from New Americans to the state’s first residents—we hope to amplify voices that deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Vermont artist.

Visit the series archive.