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"What is the Appeal of Sumi ink in Painting?" Interview with Yukio Awano

The third interview with the writer is Yukio Awano. Awano's work may not be noticed at first glance, but it is painted in Sumi ink. The artist who won the semi-grand prize at the Japan Sumi Ink Painting Exhibition 2018, and his meticulously drawn works are truly beautiful and attractive. He talked about the production process and hobby plants.

"絵画における墨の魅力とは" 阿波野由起夫インタビュー

by 菱田篤司

September 20, 2019

-First of all, could you briefly introduce yourself and give us a profile?

My name is Yukio Awano. Born in Osaka. I studied painting at Kyoto University of Arts and Works and is now a writer mainly working on Sumi ink works.

-When I first saw Mr. Awano's work, I was surprised at the beauty and detailed depiction of the entire work. Could you tell us how you decided to draw your work with Sumi ink, and what you can only express in Sumi ink?

I've liked to draw on paper, and I used pencils, pen charcoal, and other drawings to make works, but when I used Sumi ink, I felt very comfortable making uniform color faces and gradients, so I've been using them mainly since then.

What is the expression that can only be done with Sumi ink? When I make a piece of paper in monotone, I think that I have a way of drawing that suppresses the expressive power of ink just by feeling that "Sumi ink on Japanese paper" is the most simple and reliable. Because I only use "blur" mostly.

However, I think that the sense of speed from one action to the image is one of the charms of the expression of the Sumi ink is a sense of direct.

-I see. I think many people are interested in how your work is depicted.Can you tell me what tools you use and how to draw, including “blur” (technical point), as far as you can talk?

I use sumi ink. We make 14 levels of sumi according to the density of the liquid to be diluted a thousand times. A very thin brush called "Maki-e brush" is used to apply this ink.

A beautiful gradation can be done by blurring it with the brush which contains water until the ink is completely soaked in paper and dried.

In fact, rather than blurring with water, I often change the color step by step using a different concentration of ink. This way, I can create smoother gradients and control them in detail. Because there is unevenness only by painting it only once, and the fiber of the paper remains white and does not become the color of the desire, it is painted several times and it approaches the image.

Yukio Ahano image

-It is work with a considerable detail and perseverance. How long does it take per work?

It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for drafts and about 3 to 4 weeks to paint. It takes about 7 hours to paint 10cm square.

-Then, it takes one to two months for each work. You have been told before that it will be more than a year before you can deliver a new work.By the way, what do you often get inspired by when you create your work?

I've been working on a series of drawing fictional tribes over the last few years, so I'm really excited to see photos of various tribes, and overseas fashion-related social media is interesting and helpful. Also, since it was greatly influenced by the work of tattoo artists, all the characters in the picture have tattoos. I think I'm inspired by people who seek something beyond the natural beauty of humans.

Yukio Ahano image
Goddess of the Deep Water (part) 970×1300mm 2019

-The tribal series is really cool. Your aesthetic sensibility is quite my favorite (laughs). On the other hand, many of the works exhibited in this gallery are based on animals and plants. The reason we first got to know each other was on Instagram, and we were connected by a love of plants, but the amount of Your collection was so great that at first I thought that selling plants was your main business(laughs). Could you tell us about your fascination with plants?

When I was looking for materials in the picture, I found out about the existence of Pachypodium and thought it would be interesting to see succulent plants. Thanks to the succulent plant boom, I sometimes saw rare plants at florists, and when a friend took me to a specialty store at that time, there was a scene I had never seen before. From that time, I became enthusiastic about succulent plants.

Simply the fun of the appearance is the number one, but there are many other attractions and I get depressed enough to know.

For example, growing plants is like a game and is interesting. It is improved little by little by thinking about the solution and devising it that it does not grow well if it does it suitably, and the plant becomes beautiful. I think it's fun to feel like a game to clear the problem and get rewards in this way. I want it very much, but I think it's like playing Pokemon to breed it and exchange it with plant mates.

It takes a lot of time and effort, but I can also make my own breed by mating. It is also fun to not only collect but also make it better from there and make new things.

And there is romance. A very valuable stock which only a small amount and a good variety called a masterpiece came into Japan are connected importantly by the hand of the lover and exists even now. It is also one of the pleasures to think about the history of the place which came to my hand and the thing of the place far away while looking at such a thing.

Slack water279 x 230 mm 2014

Lofophora and lizard(A Lophophora and A Lizard) 340 x 248 mm2016
Mr. Abano plant
Mr. Abano plantMr. Abano plantMr. Abano plant
A part of Mr. Abano's plant collection

-The reason you got into plants was the search for materials for pictures. Succulent plants are a miraculous beauty created by nature, and they are interesting forms that have charm, and they are truly fascinating.When I looked at your instagram, I felt that you were very particular about growing your plant, and that your character was exuding (laughs). Maybe that's what the detail of the your work shows.I feel that the story of plants is more heated than about painting (laughs), but do you have any new ideas for future creative activities?

I am now drawing a way that doesn't use the expressions unique to Sumi ink as I said at the beginning, but I would like to study ways to mix such expressions in the future.It is a way of drawing into the details to give a presence to the fictitious motif until now, but experiment thinking that it becomes interesting as a picture becomes easy to see the part that can be omitted in reverse and more realism comes out by drawing after it actually makes a certain thing in the model or experiments in the future.There is also the hope that I can speed up in these two ways(laughs)

-It is certainly the one that only a few work is completed in a year if it is only a present style(laughs). You're working on a new approach. It's very fun. I'm looking forward to it, so please keep doing your best.



As I said in the interview, I got to know him through plants.After that, I remember being shocked by the beauty of Awano's work for the first time. And it was a further shock that it was painted in Sumi ink. The works that have been built over a lot of time are strongly attracted to the viewer. I want him to keep the current style, but I'm really looking forward to the new style he is currently envisioning and I'm really looking forward to it.

>List of works

If you are interested in Mr. Abano's plant account,HereFrom

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