A few people have asked me about my inspirations, so I thought I’d share one with you!
Kawase Hasui (1883 – 1957) was a Japanese printmaker, who worked within a “new print” movement in which 20th Century artists sought to reignite the old ukiyo-e printmaking process. The result is an amazing mix between old and modern (well, modern for the early 1900s) that to me has such a magical quality.
I think in these works, you can see where the backgrounds for stuff like the Ghibli films came from. They’re so graphic and bold, but highly detailed and atmospheric. To me, that was what transfixed me when I first saw a Hasui print. For a long time I struggled and was frustrated by the fact that no matter how I painted, it didn’t look right. Something about moving from lines to colour always stymied me and I didn’t understand what it was.
Then I found these, and everything clicked. I’m not a painter. Technically, I’m not a printmaker either, but I’m much closer to that ideal than anything else. I don’t need depth and shading and ultra realism. To me, the end goal is not to make something look real. I need lines. I need colours. I need gradients and bold shadows. I don’t think in paint. I think in print. I saw Hasui’s work and I was so indescribably attracted to it that it made me understand so much about who I am as an artist.