Itow Takumi Artist Statement
The resounding beat of Taiko drums and the charming melodies of Japanese bamboo flutes make me feel at peace. I get these same feelings from watching Japanese traditional Matsuri festivals as well as reading the stories of the Japanese author Miyazawa Kenji. These things act as a bridge between humans and nature. I try to bring out these same feelings in my woodblock prints. I get great joy from seeing these feelings of tranquility inspired in others when viewing my artwork.
There are many different traditional Matsuri festivals celebrated around Japan. Many Matsuri are dedicated to local gods who inhabit natural phenomenon such as rivers, mountains and trees. Some Matsuri are celebrated in different forms by all Japanese peoples, such as the Harvest Festival, O-bon (A festival honoring the Spirits of the Dead). An important part of many Matsuri celebrations is dancing. These festivals have been practiced by the Japanese people for generations but have been fading away in recent years as Japanese culture changes. I have a great respect for the traditions that these local festivals represent and it is my lifework to help preserve them through my woodblock prints.
The children's author Miyazawa Kenji said "Even if we do not have rock candy, we can eat the transparent wind, and we can drink the pink morning sun." Kenji wanted his stories to be pure and beneficial like the wind and sun. I try to make my woodblock prints with the same standards.