I like to find the in-between realm that exists within the abstract through sumi ink. The slow meditational space created through the painting process allows me to find another world between the abstract and super-real. I also attempt to explore and experiment new boundaries of this traditional medium to reinvent its possibilities.
Through the flowing pools of intangible shapes in the ink, I like to find the ephemeral and mystical moments found similarly in wilderness, where we encounter animals or breath-taking sceneries. I see the fragility of the world through these many short glimpses of interactions. Through a process called “suminagashi” I layer ink in different tones and then go in to add intricate details with a small brush using acrylic, gouache, and mineral pigments.
I believe everything is connected in this world like the butterfly effect. The sumi ink application process reminds me that these aspects are very close to me. It is also the whole history and philosophy attached to this mystical medium. Sumi ink has been around since the 7th century, being used for Asian paintings and calligraphy. Every time I use it, it reminds me of those slow childhood days in Japan when we sat in our humid summer classrooms with no air conditioning. The whole class stayed silent as we all concentrated on our brush strokes, trying to perfect the same word over and over again. The loud noises of the cicada bugs outside pierced through the classroom, and we felt our sweats slowly dripping down our backs. “Really pay attention to how you influence the ink through subtle decisions. It’s so sensitive to the body and environment.” That attention brings you to a meditative state where your body pays attention with the full senses. The ancient philosophy to Asian paintings with sumi ink was, “The goal is not simply to reproduce the appearance of the subject, but to capture its soul.” That sense of focusing on what is there beyond instant appearance is something I try to portray through my paintings.