Masuo Ikeda - Graphics

«Masuo Ikeda, printmaker, painter, author, ceramist, and painter, was born Mukden, China on February 23, 1934. He started off life on the wrong foot, by being born abroad, in Mukden, China (now known as Shenyang). After the Second World War he was repatriated with his parents to Nagano prefecture. Attending school in Japan is always a traumatic experience for children who have lived abroad and known more liberal standards of education. Masuo refused to fit in. Disdaining standardized syllabuses he plunged into the delights of foreign literature — Stendhal, Salinger, Sartre, Kafka, Camus, the Surrealists. It was no wonder he twice failed the stiff entrance examinations for Tokyo Geidai (the Tokyo University of the Arts). So he set to teaching himself how to draw and paint, then began attending the Nagano School of Art, from which he managed to graduate in 1952.
 Ikeda had been painting in oils, so he followed Graumann's advice, realizing that it was a better business proposition to make prints, because he could sell many copies, whereas there was only one buyer for a painting. He also tried traditional woodblock printing (ukiyo-e or „images of this floating world“) and serigraphy (silk screen) techniques. Young Japanese artists were beginning to travel abroad again to Paris, London and New York, where Stanley Hayter was a great inspiration, for he had started with dry point, aquatint, and woodblock prints but had gone on to develop new processes. In London, the Swedish printmaker Birgit Skiold's studio in Charlotte Street was always full of young Japanese attracted by her refined photo-etching experiments and their links to poetry, for Japan is a land where literature and printing inhabit the same scrolls.»












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