Probably everyone in the representational art field has had an experience like this, but there are occasions when a new leap forward occurs in the resulting artwork by chance. There is nothing quite like the joy and surprise of witnessing a shape and color beyond your expectation appearing in your artwork, suddenly revealing a skill and technique that is also beyond your expectations. I believe it is the accumulation of these kinds of discoveries that deepens artwork.
My case was like that. While groping for the image of my illustration, feeling as though I’d reached the limit of my color palette, by chance I tried to push the tip of my soldering iron into my paper. When I did this, a burning smell and delicate red-browns surrounding a small burn hole appeared. The beauty of those burned remnants I had created was a new discovery.
That burn-mark resulted in presenting me with a new technique. The burned streak’s “emptiness” became “lines;” those became the outlines of various shapes. The work of tearing the scene and opening the emptiness became like composing. The relationship between the content of the artwork and the technique of the artwork is indivisible. By possessing this technique, I came to aim for simplicity, nature, and originality in my artwork.
While being interested in art formed out of simplicity, nature, and originality; as a matter of course, I became interested in prehistoric peoples’ arts, the so-called “primitive art.” This art uses shapes that are bold and simple, with a strong power of appeal. In spite of these simple representations, their artwork is packed with dynamic images and inspiration. There’s a strong message to be felt in those friendly images that seem to have an air of innocence. The message is that there’s nothing more easily handed down than a simple image; and simultaneously, there is also nothing more difficult than making an accurate image that is simple. As for me, who was thinking I would like my work to have as much simplicity and clarity as possible, in the field of representational art, it’s those images from primitive art that offer the most suggestions.
This concept became the foundation of my work. Namely, in regards to the images of my illustrations, it’s that with the same clarity, I want to capture the strong messages found in primitive art. So, again I set about organizing how I would best understand primitive art and the need to summarize my reflections on primitive art became apparent.
I thought of how to turn the orientation of my own art towards art with primitive qualities. I wish to express in the following the kind of thing I mean by my thought of “primitive illustrations” and what possibilities these things hold.
As seen before, illustrations have various aspects. The aspect of being able to intuitively understand, even without letters and words jammed in, of being able to understand in a moment’s glance, is an important feature. Moreover, the expanse of the field of illustration encompasses being able to represent a world unseen and to make the non-existent visible; with the power of imagination we can richly enlarge our field. Illustrations are a visual language of pictures that, without detailed explanations, have effective means to explicitly convey the meaning of the whole image. Moreover, as stated before, in regards to an illustration, the image’s characteristics more than its technical components should be noticed.
Illustrations are also produced through new media. Media like printing and digital images, any limitless number of people can communicate through those forms. Some can’t communicate in words, so many people use media for the purpose of communicating—also a substantial feature of illustrations. But you could also say that in regards to the illustration, the aspect of new media simultaneously contains both the forte and the weak point. The feeling of raw materials is lost from the product. I wonder if we can be satisfied when the work’s vestiges disappear from the printing paper’s surface; with nothing but the virtual space inside our display monitors? The main point of design is the materials, so in the present time of switching to nonmaterial means, I wonder if it has become the season to once again look at the source of humans creating art. In this modern era of mass communication, that cuts down the creativity of human nature and the playful heart, in order to recover this human sensitivity I wish to design “form.”
The aim of this “primitive illustration” is an experiment to have a revolution in “primordial” products. I believe I want to make extremely “primal” art by making use of the tip of a soldering iron and creating burn marks on raw paper. I will also aim to draw shapes and outlines as simply as possible. The themes of “primitive illustrations” are to use few elements, primal figures, straightforward representations, human sensitivity, pure sentiment, existence and spontaneity.
The creators of these illustrations must have their own ideas for their artwork. What the creator is trying to communicate is very important. Art with meaning for one’s self and meaning for the world is vital. Illustration is not something dependent on design. Illustrations in the capacity of independent artistic visions are to be wished for. From now on I wish to continue to investigate the nature of art and the themes of primitive illustrations.