Thursday, June 3, 2010


One day five or six years ago I was walking around a small neighborhood in Tokyo called Mitakadai. There’s nothing really special about the area, though it is located on the banks of the Kanda River, and once a year in spring, hosts thousands of visitors come to see the cherry blossoms overhanging the river. Otherwise, it is a sleepy neighborhood with little to call attention to itself. It happens to be a short walk from where I lived in Kugayama, and I often strolled about its narrow streets. There were a couple of antique shops I liked, one of them next door to a small store or space that was always empty and unused.

On this particular day, the space had been rented by a young artist exhibiting her paintings. Only a third year student in art college, this artist had a considerable representation of work on show. She and her friends had used the small “gallery” very skillfully to exhibit the thirty or so paintings and drawings.

The artist’s name is Chinami Kawamura, and I got to know her and her work better over the following months. From that first exhibition I bought the painting that now hangs over the sofa in my Florida living room. It is one Kawamura did the sketches for on a trip to China. Back in her Tokyo studio, she painted the large canvas called China Field seen here at the top. Another of her paintings, and this one very Japanese, I bought a year later, and is called Three Cups. It is shown in the second photo here. Though I do own another two canvases by this artist, the third painting here is called Figs, and is regrettably not among the art I own.

I have not spoken to the artist in a year or so, but I do know that she took a job after graduation from art college, and now works in a company full-time. In some of our talks together, I encouraged her to stay untied to a routine job, and to paint as often and as much as she could. Being young and unsure sure of her chances, she accepted the full-time company job. I only hope it has allowed her the time to continue painting. She is one I feel could be great.

Chinami Kawamura.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America