Woodblock printing is one of Japan’s most well-known and traditional arts. At its essence, it is one of the most fundamental means of communication. But when Katsutoshi Yuasa first encountered the technique as a 3rd year art student, he sensed not the past but the immense future possibilities of the technique.
Born in 1978 and based in Tokyo, Yuasa is a contemporary woodblock print artist who merges digital and analog technology to create his works. It was announced last week that he is the winner of the 2017 Ronin | Globus Artist-in-Residence Program for which Spoon & Tamago is one of the judges and media sponsor.
Part printmaker, part photographer, Yuasa captures his own digital images and then transfers them onto a woodblock. He then carves the details of the photographs using a series of small carving knives, a process that can take several weeks. Once this is complete, the artist uses an entirely manual process to transfer the print onto paper.
In a world where images both beautiful and ugly, terrifying and relaxing, are relayed to us in almost real-time, Yuasa finds meaning in spending weeks creating a single image. When we’re unable to properly filter the images that bombard us they become events in some alternate reality, stripped of all materiality. And so for the artist, his process becomes a method of resisting the movement of time. If woodblock printing embodies the fundamental essence of communication, then for Yuasa his woodblock prints are the ultimate social media.
Yuasa will be invited to New York this summer for a residency program sponsored and supported by Ronin Gallery and Globus Washitsu. At the end of the residency the artist will stage a solo exhibition at Ronin Gallery in New York.