Artist Statement


My paintings are founded on Japanese brush painting methods called nihonga and sumi-e. Nihonga is produced from a meticulous draft and requires diligent steps over many days to complete. While sumi-e requires trials and training prior to the execution of a piece which progresses swiftly once it has started. To me they are both equally expressive and are my most preferred methods. The traditional brush used in nihonga and sumi-e is organic and simple, and is a very attractive tool for its boundless ways of expression limited only by its user. I really like the sensation when I pull the loaded brush across the paper. The brush can become something like an extension of artist’s body through much training.  While sumi-e and nihonga both have time consuming aspects such as skills mastery and tasks, I view the production process as my meditation and a joyous journey, and that is one of my goals in creating art. It is an art form created by soul and body together. More recently I utilize a combination of sumi-e and nihonga methods in one painting.

I am fascinated by the birth and passing of life by all creatures in the universe, their coexistence, infinite cycle of life energy and ecosystems.  I resonate with the Eastern thought of  “All creatures in heaven and on earth come from the same root as myself” and “ All things and I are of one substance.”  I imagine that the memory and consciousness of living things from a distant past are in a cycle, similar to an ecosystem.  Perhaps my strange memories from dreams or reality are coming from my deepest consciousness. It is curious to imagine that my deepest consciousness is connected to karma from my parents and prior generations, and to consciousness/unconsciousness of other people around me, as well as to the memory shared by this natural world. If such shared memory exists, I wonder in what shape or color? I ponder these thoughts while applying ink and paint on the paper surface.  What spreads before me is a nearly random pattern, and I might see something that stirs the imagination. It may be an abstract shape or line, or perhaps a specific form that appears in my mind. That form is projected in my artwork. After such creative process, I find pleasure in imagining that my artwork will occupy a corner in a viewer’s memory and become a piece of that person’s deeper consciousness. In this way, I feel my artwork can be shared even unknowingly among people and perhaps appear in their dreams.  



Fumiyo Yoshikawa