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Tomosuke Nakayama


Words from Tomosuke Nakayama


"Ever since I was little, painting has been an ever-present and all-consuming passion for me. Painting meant being me, and was the medium through which I could communicate myself to others.

I value development and evolution, and relish the challenge of always creating new works without adhering to the same old style. My lifetime goal is to stage at least 100 one-man exhibitions and produce more than 10,000 works, all the while incorporating new materials and new techniques into myself to avoid becoming stale. Works can be both abstract and representational. Whichever form of expression is used, however, the act of artistic creation is ultimately the same, and I consider the representational merely to offer a more descriptive form of expression than the abstract.

When I create a painting, I begin with an image, out of which there emerges form and, at the same time, an awakening power. Depending more now on skill and control, the painter has to consider how to express this imagined form and power on the medium to create the work.

It is tremendously important at this stage to compose and assemble the basic conventions, including form and flow taking into consideration the composition and, where use is made of color, the rhythm and harmony of the colors. This I regard as compositional ability.


It is its supreme understanding of time and exploration and use of color that define Japanese and it is this uniquely Japanese expression of color that, I believe, can gain the world’s recognition.

While using mainly oils, I employ a variety of other materials, including acrylic paints, Chinese and western inks, colored pencils, pastel crayons, and natural mineral pigments, to create works on flat media such as canvas panels and washi. 

The attraction of painting with oils is that the properties of the oils themselves—their transparency, opacity, semi-transparency, and semi-opacity—help elicit one’s own sense of translucence. Washi is an utterly normal and familiar material in Japan, and goes perfectly with Chinese ink and the natural mineral pigments that are used in Japanese-style paintings. It is washithat I use as I continue to strive to create a new style of Japanese painting created using materials that have rarely been used on this medium, such as oils, acrylics, colored pencils, and pastels. One that I use is called “Usuminogami.” Usuminogami is a light paper made in Mino, central Japan, one of the three great centers of washi production. It is known for its fine grain and luxurious feel. I will continue to pursue its use as a theme in my works.


There can be no greater pleasure than to create a single work capable of portraying a person’s life in all its richness. The artist must confront works more sincerely than ever, continuing to stake everything on painting. A single work is like a single seed that can change the world, and I will strive heart and soul in pursuit of my mission as an artist to convey this seed to the people of the world.

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