Art for Breakfast 2021: 'From One Stroke' (Recap)
On September 10, 2021, Artist Mina Katsuki joined Art for Breakfast to share not only the unique process in creating her works, but also stories she can now reveal. Seiichiro Yamamoto, an arts committee member of Asia Society Japan, hosted the program.
307 shades of blue
Ms. Katsuki’s artwork features blue paint covering a canvas, sometimes violently. Each painting is completed in just one stroke, using a great amount of paint and a long brush. She blends 307 shades of blue.
Ms. Katsuki initially developed her unique method for the purpose of creating a work for simply appreciating the paint. She had been intrigued by the realization that she was actually looking at layers of paint on canvas when she saw landscapes, portraits or abstract patterns. After years of trial and error, she discovered her method of carefully loading the paint on her canvas and using a long brush for her single stroke.
Ms. Katsuki is often asked why she uses blue. The first reason is that the oldest artificial pigments are Egyptian blue and Alexandrian blue, which have been used since 3000BC. The second reason is that she naturally feels connected to the color. Blue has been her color since her childhood, when her parents chose warm colors for her older sister and cold colors, including blue, for Ms. Katsuki in order to distinguish their clothes and other belongings.
Just one stroke
The title of her artwork represents the time spent from applying the first lump of paint on canvas through to the end of the one stroke. Ms. Katsuki meditates before painting so that she can clear her mind and concentrate on drawing out the paint and carrying the long brush in one stroke. She is fascinated by the fact that her creative moments result in different expressions each time, affected by factors that she has yet to understand. The time she spends on meditation varies from piece to piece, and has no correlation with the size of her works. However, she has found that her mental state to have an effect on her art. She also feels that good physical and mental health allows her to create large stable pieces.
At a recent show “From one stroke 2” at Iori Machiya Stay, a satellite show of ARTISTS’ FAIR KYOTO 2020, Ms. Katsuki’s art was exhibited in a “machiya” house that has been faithfully reproduced using traditional materials and techniques. Her painting mysteriously resonated with the traditional space.
Conveying her energy through her works
It took six years for Ms. Katsuki to develop a painting method that could convey the reality of the energy, body, soul and time dedicated into one stroke. She hopes that people can feel her energy through the smell of acrylic paints, the reflection of light from different angles, and the changes in the blue colors over time. She feels that when we look at artwork, we are overwhelmed by the energy dedicated to the piece. Therefore, she is skeptical about art appreciation in virtual realities, and feels that the power of artwork can only be conveyed physically.
Conversation with the audience
After her initial comments, Ms. Katsuki took questions from the floor, which covered her role models potential use of natural pigments or other colors, her thoughts about Mingei and rebuilding tradition into contemporary art, how she plans her artwork and her expectations for the art world in Japan.