I have been very familiar with handmade Japanese paper and sumi ink since my childhood. Yet I started using them about ten years ago as a part of my mixed media work. My interest in these materials has increased and they have become the focus of my new artwork although I do not follow the traditional sumi drawing methods or concepts. Although some works are rather representational, I like to express my perception of the inseparable elements of our natural environment in abstract form using Japanese paper and the monochromatic tonality that sumi ink creates. I have been investigating and creating visual textual surfaces and simulating textual sensations that evoke our connections to the environment. I limit my medium to sumi ink and sometimes water color on Japanese handmade paper for the mixed media. The layers of tones and marks create an illusion of depth and texture, and the Japanese paper’s overlay produces the actual textures in the picture. The solid black brush strokes are decisive yet the strokes interact with various translucent values and change the mood of the characters. I have learned how black and gray values with the tone of the paper are expressive and profound. I value very much the subtlety of monochromatic tones and boldness the sumi ink creates on the Japanese paper even though I am surrounded by colors. The magnified parts of the objects in nature convey a universal sense and various aspects of perception. I feel very comfortable working with both traditional and new medium because they provide impressions that help extend my imagination.
Recently, I began working on drawings with charcoals and graphite pencils. The drawings are based on self-portraits, family related themes and photographs I took during my travels. I like to work with monochromatic tone instead of using colors because I still love shades of grays and the strong contrast of black and white in which an indirect sense of color emerges.
It was an intentional experiment to extend image forms with very limited elements using my imagination and knowledge of computer applications. The image resources were marks and shapes from my original black and white monoprints, small monochromatic Japanese paper collage, and the nature photographs that I took. Many of the images I included are derived from a portion of a green pepper image of an original monoprint and its surrounding textual marks. A pear-like organic shape from a pepper was transformed to human figures, plants and birds. Textual marks formed the representational and abstract environment. I deducted elements from the original images to simplify the image to express emotion, time and space. On the other hand, I added more layers and repeated marks and shapes to create complexity in the image and express eluded time, sense and space, and illusion of texture.
Silk Screen Print
I started silkscreen prints as my major artwork while I was working for my MFA degree at Michigan State University. With a background as a graphic designer, I found the medium was very attractive for creating layers of colors and images that emerged with a translucency, a very flat surface, and an illusion of depth. I used paper stencils and applied brush marks directly on the screen to make stencils. I no longer work with silkscreen prints, but all of my remaining screen prints haven’t lost their color quality after more that twenty years.
Other Mixed Media and Oil Sticks
Before I started digital Art I experimented with mixed media, especially oil stick, pastel and digitally manipulated photographs on silkscreen prints. I wanted to express the feelings I felt as a child.