It’s funny how tastes can mature and develop over time. Maybe a general assumption on my part, but it seems that creatives of an older age stop their pursuit of perfection to focus on feel and touch. Is it a fear of becoming monotonous? Ceramics is one field where this becomes quite evident. A potter may go through the process of learning basic skills and becoming ‘technically’ perfect, but to translate feeling in to a pot is another subject altogether. For a long time creatives have used various techniques, such as unusual firing methods, unique clays, or certain glaze combinations to separate themselves. You can see these traits in other areas of design as well, architecture, furniture making, they all have this end philosophy as common ground.
These flower vases by Japanese artist Satoshi Nishikawa really are profound. Satoshi recently exhibited at gallery Panorama in Japan and his works have now been highlighted online via the Panorama website, these are just a few of the photos that I thought stood out. Potters often reference works of the past whilst using them as a starting point to explore more, Nishikawa pulled his inspiration specifically from Africa. He uses primitive clay and sculpting methods to create these earthy vessels. What I liked is the way that the themes in his work mix and merge, there’s still a Japanese element and his works are contemporary, but at the same time they have plenty of character and would work well in a variety of scenarios. Obviously the flowers are a nice touch as well, the arrangements in this photo shoot are by Yuji Ueno (see a conversation between the two artists here).
So when they say “you’re moulded by your surroundings”, it must be true. Satoshi Nishikawa travelled heavily in his early days, and still does for that matter, going through Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, he says that some of the tones and colours he uses are directly referenced from those trips. The red colour (seen in the above photograph) is one that he spent a long time duplicating in his studio, attempting to find the perfect brightness and tone. I think he’s done a fantastic job and the whole collection is absolutely stunning. Hopefully you like it too and will head over to the Panorama website to appreciate the rest. Whenever I see works of this nature I always remember this quote, “his works may be nearer science, but are further from humanity”. Maybe humanity is the true value in handiwork?