SAKURA ISM Ver. Byobu
"The World's First Photograph to Gold Leaf"
For five years, I have been working on projects using cherry blossoms as motifs to convey the aesthetic sense and spirit of Japanese people to the world. The reason why I chose this flower is because cherry blossoms have been symbolizing Japanese people since ancient times. Blooming in pale colors, they perish ephemerally. This matches the aesthetic sense of Japanese 'wabi-sabi'.
I thought about what I could do to spread this concept to the world clearly. I participated in photo reviews in Arles or Houston and received feedback and inspiration from experts around the world. Following that, I started working on a project that brings together the skills and traditions of Japan in pictures of cherry blossoms. That project is the creation of Rinpa gold-leafed folding screens, revived in modern times.
First, I have chosen gold-leaf paper, each handcrafted by artisans. Currently, there is only company in Japan that produces this kind of paper.
UV Inkjet printers have made it possible to print pictures on that paper. I received support in important processes from a technician who has thorough knowledge of this special printer.
After that, the printed gold-leaf paper is fashioned into a folding screen by craftsmen. There is only one folding screen specialty factory in Tokyo. The craftsmen create them carefully over the period of one month.
The gold-leafed folding screen is a traditional Japanese art, but being made with many processes depending on a limited number of craftsmen, it is a valuable object. That's exactly why I create this kind of work and think that it is meaningful to leave it for future generations.
A completed gold-leafed folding screen has the power to completely transform the atmosphere of a room.
Also, in the past, in Japan, it was believed that gold has the power to get rid of evil spirits. Additionally, cherry blossoms are symbolic of Japanese people. It represents me. In other words, the gold-leafed folding screen represents my feelings of goodwill towards others and my hopes for their happiness.
This project has continued. I plan to all 10 works be completed by summer 2017.