While strolling through Yanaka, the historic district of Tokyo, Poulpy discovers an exhibition held by Ayaka Iida. He visits it and is seduced by the works exhibited as they transcribe a certain poetic taste of Japan. The conversation easily starts with the artist and she agrees to answer a few questions for our French-speaking readers. She confides: “I traveled to France last year (before the crisis). There were a lot of wonderful museums, I was very impressed. I’d love to introduce me to your readers. ”Whose act!
Mr J: Can you tell us about your background?
Ayaka-san : I love to draw since I was little and I started Japanese painting when I was a university student. The university offered an oil painting class and a Japanese painting class, and it was the latter that I chose. My drawing teacher when I was a child was a Japanese painter and I was influenced by seeing her works at an exhibition.
So I entered Tama Art University. There, students were encouraged to draw large-format works. It was a very good stimulus because there were a lot of classmates who were working energetically. I often looked at my friends’ paintings while working in the same classroom.
When did you start and what prompted you to express your feelings?
Ayaka-san : I started drawing seriously when I became a student, and I did my first solo exhibition at the age of 22. My exhibition was based on the poems and novels of Kenji Miyazawa (Kenji Miyazawa is a poet, novelist, and author of short stories and short stories Japanese). Inspired by them, I drew a mixture of real patterns and decorations mixed with the world of the imagination.
Right now, I’m looking for inspiration in familiar places. There are always a lot of new discoveries to be made in what is familiar, which gives me great pleasure. By observing, drawing something and understanding why I was fascinated, I realize that this thing contains a lot of secrets …
It also gives me the motivation to draw, read, converse with people, and feel surprise and excitement in the places I visit for the first time. For me, the feeling of wanting to know or wanting something can be digested by drawing. The drawing is like a collection of treasures.
I hope that one day, by adding them up, my painting will expand beyond my imagination and create a world we have never seen before.
Japanese objects (flowers, octopus, kimonos etc.) are recognizable in your works. How does Japan inspire you?
Ayaka-san : I love traditional crafts and love the plants that take root in this country. Since living in Japan, these patterns give me a lot of inspiration.
In addition, sometimes I consciously draw Japanese patterns but also when I am not aware of it. I think the influence on the painting of where I live is very great. When I traveled to France, I was amazed at the beauty of nature’s half-tone colors. The color of the sun was also different!
Even trees of the same type (like ginkgo and cherry) have different shapes. The trees that I see in Japan are straight and vigorous, but the trees that I have seen in France were curvy and elegant. After I returned to Japan, my style changed. My ways of expressing shapes and my range of colors have grown.
For me, going to a country with a different culture was not only meeting new things, but also rediscovering Japanese culture. I would like to go to different countries if I get the chance.
The figure of the woman is also very present in your works. What is the main reason and purpose?
Ayaka-san : Almost all the women I represent are actually my sister. I’m happy because she’s happy to be a role model for me.
Including a person in the picture is like drawing a character in the story, I have always admired book illustrators, it can be a consequence.
What is your favorite design and why?
Ayaka-san : The 7-meter-wide work that I’m currently drawing is going to be my favorite. Great work takes time and energy, but I want to try it out regularly, a few years apart. When that moment comes, I want to do a job that surpasses the previous one. So my graduation work “Autumn in circulation” and “This is the secret base of tomorrow” are also very dear to me.
There she is :
Do you have a memory from your childhood that particularly inspires you?
Ayaka-san : The house of my mother’s parents is in the countryside in the middle of abundant nature. I loved going there on summer and winter vacation when I was a kid.
There were trees intimately intertwined, mountains that something seems to emerge when you enter them, a path between rice fields… I think this landscape where natural elements coexist in a complex way formed the roots of my artistic world.
We warmly thank Ayaka for this special moment. You can find Ayaka Iida’s works on her website or Instagram.
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