The work of Toyohiko Nishijima reflects the development of his own philosophy as well as the spiritual and formative pursuits of each stage of his life. “We ourselves keep on changing, and that shows that we are alive.” – These are Nishijima’s own words. Here, we introduce you to his works from past until present, grouping them according to different periods of his life. He has successfully fused the three traditional Japanese techniques: paper-making, lacquer painting, and nihonga -Japanese-style painting- to develop a unique style.
Washi - Unique representation using 100% handmade
Washi used in my works is 100% handmade myself, which all starts by growing my own pulp plants. Harvested plants are then processed into pulp and water-diluted in a container called ‘Fune’ (literally boat) for scooping with a bamboo mesh screen called Suketa.
Featuring an extremely refined traditional manufacturing technique and thin thickness (minimally 0.03 mm) as well as glossy texture, Washi has been registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
My papermaking method goes beyond ordinary methods; it comprises an unprecedented technique to arbitrarily fine-tune paper thickness (density) to make detailed and subtle watermark drawing possible during the paper forming process, as if they were actually drawn on finished paper.
Urushi -Lacquer, 9000 years old coating practice in Japan
Originated from the Orient, lacquer is made of tree sap. In Japan, Urushi lacquer has been used since 9000 years ago. My works use base textures prepared by repeating varnishing fifteen times and a finish process, which comprises around twenty cycles of polishing and to create a beautiful deep black with sophisticated gloss. Due to the humidity effect on lacquer hardening, it is a process involving care, time and expertise, as well as dialog with Nature.
The Japanese painting is one of traditional arts in Japan. Using natural pigments such as those derived from plants, animals or mineral powders and mixing them with glue as fixing agent, paintings are usually drawn on Washi (Japanese traditional paper). Along with oil painting, the art is extremely popular in Japan. I have over twenty year's experience as a Japanese painter.