"Money Honey". Painting Juni Shimata

Phone rang. Sunday. That would be mom. Talk? Heavy blackness unrolls. The ‘where to’ question. To say, “feel so bad,” and not have her change the subject. Rock me in your arms. Help.

Help? “My psychiatrist says you’re just after my money.”

Gulp. Juni never spoke of money again.

19 years later, two days before Azure died, she called again. Barely audible now. “I – have – a – very – important – decision…”


“I’m worried I didn’t give you enough.”

Juni, who had been focusing on how she could be a good death doula and gently help her mother into the hereafter, cried and said, “Don’t worry. I have what I need.”

But did she?

In the end, although Azure had made gestures along the way, she never did give Juni what she needed.

It wouldn’t have mattered, but that Juni had cried so much and with all her heart wanted to help Azure.

This text, as all Juni Shimata texts, is fiction.


The text and paintings in Money Honey play with the tension arising as mother Azure tries to bait her daughter Juni with a monetary taunt into loving her. Her attempt fails, because her daughter already loves her; but sadly, materialistic Azure never discerns this, and her blindness haunts her daughter. Thus 'honey' alludes to Azure's sweet lure to bait her trap, but the actual lure is 'money'. Honey also stands for a term of endearment that the two women are unable to express to each other, separated as they are by the money.

An approximate correspondence between text and images can be experienced here.

'Making of': My classmates inquired how I produced the last painting, Death (Ashes to Ashes). I applied a thick ribbon of black carbon acrylic paint to the template I used for the other pictures, then lay the template onto thick unprimed stone paper. (The template is a mirror image from the preceding picture, Heavy Blackness Unrolls, to indicate how the death and cremation of the mother removed much of the 'heavy blackness' of the protagonist's spirit in the text.) When I removed the template, a fat outline remained. When that was dry, I applied clear dispersion binder thickly on and around the outline, then lay a thin layer of paper towels on top. After a couple of days, I first trimmed the paper towel, then burned off the remaining, using matches and a candle. The paper seemed too white to me, so I poured a layer of thin, light shellac onto it and let it dry overnight. The background still seemed too white and empty to me, so I wrote the word 'death' in white oil pastel on it, rubbed off the pastel, and applied a second layer of shellac. The second layer bound the paper with burnt edges well and, of course, didn't completely cover the words, which remain as quasi palimpsests legible in cross lighting. ;-)

See also my Blog note on Exiconic Painting.