Jan 1, 2023
The relationships made in mokuhanga can last a long time. Whether it's a friendship based on collecting, creating, or its long and vibrant history; mokuhanga has the ability to bring people together.
On this episode of The Unfinished Print I have the pleasure of speaking to two people who's friendship is based on mutual respect, business, and the love of mokuhanga. Katherine Martin is the managing director of Scholten Japanese Art of New York City. She has overseen the galleries multiple exhibitions, written several catalogues published by Scholten, and is the heart of what goes on at the gallery.
Paul Binnie is an acclaimed mokuhanga printmaker, painter and artist. He has collaborated with Katherine at Scholten Japanese art for almost fifteen years.
We first discuss Katherine's background, and her work with the gallery. Then, Katherine and Paul talk about the relationship between the gallery and the artist, the legacy of shin-hanga, how prints draw people in, and pricing Paul's work. We also discuss about editioning prints and the issues that may arise, nudity and social media, and we end on Katherine and Paul's unique friendships and how it works.
This interview was recorded during Paul Binnie's solo show at Scholten Japanese Art in June, 2022. There may be some background noise during the interview. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Notes: may contain a hyperlink. Simply click on the highlighted word or phrase.
Artists works follow after the note. Pieces are mokuhanga unless otherwise noted.
Scholten Japanese Art - website
Paul Binnie - while Paul doesn't have a singular website he does have his Instagram. There is the "Binnie Catalogue," which is produced by a third party which digitally collects his work, past and present. This can be found, here.
Flowers of a Hundred Years: A Thousand Stitch Belt (2014)
shin hanga - is a style of Japanese woodblock printmaking which began during the end of the Ukiyo-e period of Japanese printmaking, in the early 20th Century. Focusing on the foreign demand for “traditional” Japanese imagery and motifs such as castles, bridges, famous landscapes, bamboo forests, to name just a few. Shin hanga was born in 1915 by Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962) when he found Austrian artist Frtiz Capelari (1884-1950) and commissioned Capelari to design some prints for Watanabe's feldgling printing house . From there shin-hanga evolved into its own distinct “new” style of Japanese woodblock printing. It lasted as this distinct style until its innevitable decline after the Second World War (1939-1945).
Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) - a designer of more than six hundred woodblock prints, Kawase Hasui is one of the most famous designers of the shin-hanga movement of the early twentieth century. Hasui began his career with the artist and woodblock designer Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1971), joining several artistic societies along the way early in his career. It wasn’t until he joined the Watanabe atelier in 1918 that he really began to gain recognition. Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962) had Hasui design landscapes of the Japanese country-side, small towns, and everyday life. Hasui also worked closely with the carvers and printers of his prints to reach the level Hasui wanted his prints to be.
Late Fall by Lake Yamanaka (1947)
Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870 - 1949) - apprenticed under artist and print designer Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), and worked as a lithographer. Kōitsu then joined the Watanabe atelier in 1935. Kōitsu also collaborated with Doi Sadachi publishers, amongst others.
Cormorant Fishing in Nagawa River (1940)
Itō Shinsui (1898-1972) - Nihon-ga, and woodblock print artist and designer who worked for print publisher Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885-1962). Shinsui designed some of our most famous shin hanga, or “new” prints of the early 20th century. One of my favorites is “Fragrance of a Bath” 1930.
Twelve Images of Modern Beauties: Cotton Kimono (1922)
Hiroaki Takahashi Shōtei (1871-1945) - was a Japanese printmaker, illustrator and painter. He is commonly associated with the shin-hanga movement of printmaking in Japan, working with Watanabe Shōzaburō. His work touched on many subjects, such as landscapes, beautiful women and still-life.
Evening Sun at Nagareyama (1924-27)
Yamamura Koka (1885-1942) - was a Japanese woodblock printer and painter who trained under Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920). He worked with Watanabe and other publishers in his lifetime, and self published. His themes ranged from actor prints, lasdscape, and still-life.
Flowers of the Theatrical World: Nakamura Utaemon V as Owasa (1921)
Natori Shunsen (1886-1960) - was a Japanese woodblock printer who focused much of his work on kabuki actor prints. He too worked with Watanabe.
Bando Mitsugoro VII (1950's)
Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) - a watercolorist, oil painter, and woodblock printmaker. Is associated with the resurgence of the woodblock print in Japan, and in the West. It was his early relationship with Watanabe Shōzaburō, having his first seven prints printed by the Shōzaburō atelier, that made Hiroshi believe that he could hire his own carvers and printers and produce woodblock prints, which he did in 1925.
Ishiyama Temple (ca. 1946)
ichimonji bokashi - straight line gradation
ichimonji mura bokashi - straight line gradation with an uneven edg.
Ō-bokashi - a gradual shading over a wide area
atenashi bokashi - gradation without definition
futairo bokashi - two tone gradation
bijin-ga - (美人画) is the Japanese term for beautiful women in mokuhanga.
The Second Collection of Modern Beauties: Red Blossoms by Itō Shinsui (1933)
kabuki - is a traditional form of Japanese theatre which started in Kyoto on the banks of the Kamo River in the 17th Century. Today it is a multi million dollar business and is almost exclusively run, professionally, by The Shochiku Company. Kabuki, the word, is separated into three different sounds; ka - meaning to sing, bu - meaning to dance, and ki - meaning skill. There are various families in kabuki which generate actors, passing down tradition throughout the lineage. For more information please read this fine article from Nippon.com. There are many books written on the subject of kabuki, but in my opinion, too begin, one needs to read Leonard Pronko's work Theatre East & West, Kawatake Toshio's Kabuki, and Earl Ernst's The Kabuki Theatre. Online please visit Kabuki21.com, who's site is unparalleled. On YouTube there is the new(ish) Kabuki In-Depth which is updated regularly on kabuki information and history, and is very well done.
giclee - is a type of reporoductive process in printmaking. It means, “to spray,” which is the description of how the ink is laid into the paper. It is by using high quality scanners and printers to produce your print that giclee prints are made. More info can be found, here, at artworkarchive.com.
The Sun and Moon of Black's Beach - is a mokuhanga series produced by mokuhanga printmaker Paul Binnie. He is currently, at the time of this writing, working on the 7th and 8th edition of this series.
Black’s Beach - is located in Torrey Pines, near San Diego, California. It is a secluded beach. It is known for it’s allowing of naturist patrons, surfing, and various trails.
Mirrors as Stylish Collage Pictures: Ichikawa Ichizo III as Dekiboshi no Sankichi (1859)
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) - is one of the most famous Japanese artists to have ever lived. Hokusai was an illustrator, painter and woodblock print designer. His work can be found on paper, wood, silk, and screen. His woodblock print design for Under The Wave off Kanagawa (ca. 1830-32) is beyond famous. His work, his manga, his woodblocks, his paintings, influence artists from all over the world.
The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse: Fujiwara no Yoshitaka (1835-36)
opening and closing musical credit - Hyacinth Blues by The Constantines. From their self titled album The Constantines (Three Gut Records)
logo designed and produced by Douglas Batchelor and André Zadorozny
Disclaimer: Please do not reproduce or use anything from this podcast without shooting me an email and getting my express written or verbal consent. I'm friendly :)
If you find any issue with something in the show notes please let me know.
***The opinions expressed by guests in The Unfinished Print podcast are not necessarily those of André Zadorozny and of Popular Wheat Productions.***