Mezzotint is one of the most difficult print forms in the world, and the White Lotus Gallery is hosting one of its masters at this month, Mr. Hamanishi from Tokyo, Japan.
Local artist Satoku Matouji was kind enough to translate. When I asked, "What surprises people about your prints?" Hamanishi spoke in Japanese and Matouji then translated for me. "When he showed work that he had done...people were really surprised by the size of the mezzotints that he created."
"What is it you would like people to understand about your mezzotint when they visit the gallery?"
" Printmaking is a combination of artistic expression and then technique. His wish is for the viewer to understand not only his artistic expression but also the technical knowledge that he has developed. In one way he’s an artist to express his thought and at the same time, he has to work like a craftsman.
Hamanishi’s mezzotints gleam with panels of gold and large abstract shapes in black, white and red. It is easy to respond emotionally to these micro and macro views of rice grains and rice paddies printed with vivid colors. I asked him, “What is the emotion you would like to convey to the viewer?”
"First of all, he thinks that there are two different kinds of artists. One kind of artist is he or she would express directly his or her emotions and thoughts through the images.
But the other artist is...instead of expressing directly but they will replace that to the form and color and they emphasize that ….physicalness of the expression. He wouldn’t directly express his emotion...but rather, he presents that indirectly.
He expresses the beautiful expression with the color and the form and so when the viewer sees his work, they have a freedom to interpret any way they want, whether they feel sadness or they feel happiness."
I understand it takes a month to make each of these prints. What is that process like for you?
"His work is just like having a child, so before he creates, before the final printing, he put all his energy, all his emotions, all his artistic expression into his work, and once the final printing is done, it is just like saying goodbye to your child."
When you visit the White Lotus Gallery for this rare opportunity to see the artistic children of Hamanishi, a true Japanese master printmaker, look for traditional Japanese themes such as the kimono made opulent with added gold leaf. The show will be up through Aug. 26, 2017
Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.
Show: Viz City
Subject: Katsunori Hamanishi
Date of Interview: Wed. July 26, 2017
Date of Broadcast: Aug. 9, 2017
Script: Sandy Brown Jensen
Sound: Terry Way
RE: “Hamanishi’s Splendor: The Art of Mezzotint and Gold Leaf.” Exhibition Dates: July 15--Aug. 26, 2017