Art is defined as the “expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. ” Another quality of art is that it is universal. Art can be found in various places all over the world, and it creates an interest to look into the different skills that artists from all over the world have. For example, Japanese artists like Hokusai show their skills by portraying their art in ancient poetry and also by intricate designs with ink on paper.
Hokusai is a well-known Japanese artist. Most of his work includes drawings and woodblock art. One of his most known works is “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. Part of the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, Hokusai’s Great Wave portrays an enormous wave that manipulates the scale of Mount Fuji making it look extremely small. His woodcut art appeals to many art admires that you can find it at many museums across the United States. Hokusai Katsushika was born in the 1760 in Japan. He lived the prime of his life during the Edo period in which Japan was ruled by shoguns.
Hokusai started woodblock art at the age of 15, and at 18 he enrolled into an art school where his first few artwork were portraits of different actors. As a young artist Hokusai paid great attention to Western-style art. In Western-art, one will typically notice the usage of color and perspective and other elements of art. Perhaps, it was Hokusai’s study of Western style art that lead him to have a great influence on the Western movement. He included these elements of art into his own creations. That was what set him apart from other ukiyo-e (woodblock) Japanese artists.
He set the foreground to this type of art, and eventually more ukiyo-e artists like Ando Hiroshige, started to follow. Hokusai’s hardworking personality led him to become a very influential artist. Richard Lane, artist of a biographical book on Hokusai, considers him as one of the most universally known artist. As stated above many know Hokusai for his “ Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji”. In that particular artwork Hokusai has decided to depict Mount Fuji from different perspectives and at different times of the year on woodblock.
Woodblock art is a process where the image is first drawn on a type of Japanese paper (most people used silk). The image is then cut out into the wood, and then the ink from the image is pressed onto the wood. Even though, woodblock is a tedious form of artwork, Hokusai and even Hiroshige each created over 36 them. Hokusai is most admired for his love for ukiyo-e art. He even wrote in his autobiography “From the age of five I have had a mania for sketching the forms of things. From about the age of fifty I produced a number of designs, yet of all I drew prior to the age of seventy there is truly nothing of great note.
At the age of seventy-two I finally apprehended something of the true quality of birds, animals, insects, fish and of the vital nature of grasses and trees. Therefore, at eighty I shall have made some progress, at ninety I shall have penetrated even further the deeper meaning of things, at one hundred I shall have become truly marvelous, and at one hundred and ten, each dot, each line shall surely possess a life of its own. I only beg that others of sufficiently long life take care to note the truth of my words. “