My cultural background has affected my art immensely. Being half-Japanese and having spent my childhood in Japan, I have always been drawn to the Japanese notion of simple, pristine, and elegant aestheticism. Visual beauty, or order, is something that I have always been in tune with, and partly as a consequence, I am also drawn to exactness and precision.
It is with this artistic mindset that I approach Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji. As an iconic symbol of Japanese history and culture, even the Japanese word for Mt. Fuji reflects the emblematic prestige with which it is regarded; an unintentional play on words, the suffix –san, meaning ‘mountain,’ in Fujisan is reminiscent of the honorific –san that is added to a name when addressing someone of higher status. Mt. Fuji inspires a sense of pride and honor towards my heritage that I hope to represent in my work.
The western half of my heritage inspires my rendering of Hokusai’s prints. By recreating his work in a more naturalistic style, my hope is to create an updated, western version of the nearly-200 year old series. The composition and dimensions of my pieces are identical to the original. I also painted on homemade wooden panels to reflect the material that Hokusai himself utilized. The coherence of the pieces, which preserve the integrity of the original while infusing modern perspectives, can be interpreted as an allegorical self-portrait; my mixed, and at times conflicting, background has offered a unique insight into not only art and beauty, but into the world around me, as well.
Mt. Fuji, oil painting, Hokusai, Japan, art