Murata Yoshihiko, Japanese Lacquer Artist

Wow. Incredible work by Japanese Artist Murata Yoshihiko who works with lacquer, this isn’t a process that I’m really familiar with but I decided to root around a bit to find some information on this art. From what I found out it seems like Murata uses a maple wood to create these fantastic sculptures. After the form is carved and made smooth he applies more than 20 coats of lacquer, each coat is polished, meaning it can take several months to complete a single piece. Most of the objects that I’ve placed in this post are from his series “whose lines twist and turn, swell and fade, like the sounds from a musical instrument”, I think this is a great name and summarises the work and how it all moves nicely. This specific collection was inspired by nature’s creatures and the beauty of the natural world, with Murata’s hope that these would evoke memories of animals, personally I think he’s done an amazing job. Some of them also remind me of Alexander Calder and his sculptures, the one above for example is very much on this wavelength and is appealing how it twists and turns into a standing shape.

Murata actually began his exploration into lacquer when he was a student at the Kanazawa College of Art, he had a love for wood and this remained with him throughout his career. After leaving the college he studied woodworking exclusively and expanded his skills and knowledge, one day when reading about the world of the geisha he decided to make a delicate hairpin carved out of a single block of wood. These latest creations that I’m showcasing incorporate the shadows created by lighting the artwork, giving the feeling of seeing two sides of one piece. What I find quite incredible is that this isn’t Murata’s full time occupation, he’s also a teacher and works in lacquer as a hobby. When I hear things like this it’s really inspiring how much work and dedication must go into the craft considering he has to fit it all in.

Well I hope you’ll take some time out to browse through the images below, it’s astonishing that these are made by hand and are carved out of wood. They look impeccable and are so fluid. You can find out more on Murata Yoshihiko via his website, he’s also represented by Keiko Gallery so check that out as well. For extra information regarding his background I would recommend reading this interview on The Art of Japan website, they explain a bit more about Murata and how he got where he is today. Enjoy.


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