Day 1 : An Artistic Prism


Disclaimer: All the things written here, only describes what I perceived or understood, I may be absolutely wrong in many instances. As a human being, I have my flaws and I make errors. Please pardon me if there any.


At the first day of Hundred Days at Library, I chose to pick up a book on a topic I can relate to but am not much aware of. I picked up Japanese Art by Joan Stanely-Baker . As a graphic designer, I surely could evolve my creative senses a bit with a bit of knowledge about art, and I opened the book with the same sense.


As A Whole, Divided In Parts

I could only give the book around 45 minutes of time, and with this amount of time in hand I could finish the whole book only if was given super power of reading 10 words per second. But when it comes to a book about Art, it is more than reading. It is about inspecting the artworks, looking for it’s distinct characteristic and understanding it’s way of evoking emotion. So I decided to look into some artworks and read the related parts for understanding those artworks or those way of art more distinctively. Though I ended up not understanding 90% of the things due to my lack of any significant knowledge in Arts, I enjoyed whatever perspective and knowledge I could gain from it.

At first, I went through the Introduction, as I would do with any book I pick up. That chapter gave me a sense of what the whole book is about, a big picture. And there author notified the readers about an important point. Many of the techniques used by Japanese artists are actually borrowed form foreign element. And that makes it harder for non-artists to find the distinct “Japanese” attribute in them. Specially, bearing good numbers of similarities with Chinese art sometimes put early artists in a baffled positions. And author clarifies how Japanese artwork differs from Chinese ones due to their distinctive use of bold brush strokes, less use of fine details and way conveying emotions.

Then I went on to pick up artworks from different periods and reading about them.

Do Not Just Look at It, Feel

The most important thing I stumbled upon while going through this book is many of the arts can be viewed in terms of “decorations”, but in reality they are not at all “decorative”. People would look at the artworks and tell “It looks good” or “It looks bad”, but that is not the actual intention of the artists to make there work look good. Art, in its critical sense should be able to make one feel something. This trait of evoking emotion makes it amazing.

Two Sides of Leaves

While going through the book, I found out about two amazing artists from the Edo Period, The Ogata Brothers, prominent in Rinpa Style, where primary subject was a natural subject portrayed in a Golden like background. What was more amazing was how the brothers were distinctively poles apart . Ogata Kenzan was a Ceramicist, a potter, working his magics on rigid body of Ceramics creating his distinctive style of strokes on ceramics.

Plates of Twelve Lunar Months, Ogata Kenzan, Image was borrowed from wikimedia.org

And there was Ogata Korin, the prominent artist who revived the Rinpa School, worked mostly on gold foiled folding screens, creating unique bold impressionism.

Chrysanthemums, Ogata Korin, Image borrowed from wikimedia.org

Now it gives a strong notions about how the artist choose their styles. It is always the most promising way an artist finds the emotions can be conveyed. Kenzan also worked with his older brother on the Rinpa style. Often it is found that artists adopting more than one styles and fusing them bring a new form of style which was never been seen before.

The Prism

Art is like light. You can see all things at once, and you can go on to decipher it part by part. There will always be lights we don’t see, but the existence of them can be felt. And perspective plays a big role on that. Our senses and thouhts acts like prism to decipher those wavelengths to figure out the hidden meaning behind it. And most beautiful part is that the prism is different and unique to everyone. The lights I see, may not be the lights you see. Well, that is the notion of art.


That was a selective summary of the thoughts I picked up from today’s visit to the library. Any thought on the project or about my thoughts, as discussion, comments etc., is welcomed. Spread it, share it and recommend it if you found something valuable.

Thank You for Reading.

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