Painter Makoto Fukawa was born in the city of Hiratsuka in Kanagawa Prefecture. After moving to Sapporo in 1991 he quickly set up a studio in Kimobetsu Town and in 2006 moved it to Niseko. I recently headed out to the Konbeonsen District to visit gallery "Fuuzanan" and learn more about the artist's lithographs and hear about the creative work he was doing in the area.
▲ Painter Makoto Fukawa. His warm personality comes through even in pictures.
What first got you interested in working with lithographs?
"I first encountered the art form at the school I attended to study painting. In those days I was interested in working on a picture book and I saw a lot of different possibilities in working with woodblocks. I found that the hues and feel of the lithograph really matched my style and soon I was totally immersed in working on them. If you count the years I worked on them in college, it's been 40 years since I first entered the world of the lithograph."
The delicate touch and colors used in each picture are quite beautiful.
"Lithography is basically painting using a technique which incorporates the repulsion of water and oil. I use dermatograph pencils when I paint, which is where the "touch" feature of the lithograph comes from. Then I use transparent ink to soften the colors. After repeated application of color the beautiful hues you see here start to appear."
▲ He thoroughly explained the lithograph process. The work is completed by repeated applications of many colors.
Why is it you first came to Hokkaido? Is there any reason you chose Niseko in particular?
"I was born and raised in Hiratsuka, in Kanagawa Prefecture, where rice fields stretched across the horizon until they met with distant mountains. I had never visited Hokkaido, but many people who saw my work back then told me it looked just like a Hokkaido landscape. After I heard that I decided that I had to visit to see for myself. (Laughs)
After visiting many locations within Hokkaido I found myself drawn to Niseko. Beautiful mountains, the countryside atmosphere, and of course my love for hot springs brought me here. (Laughs) On top of that, this area has many art museums and halls to display work, so that also influenced my decision."
Is the mountain in these pictures Mt. Yotei? There seem to be many works that feature children facing away from the viewer.
"I don't sketch out my paintings or work from photographs, I only recreate images I've seen with my own eyes. Many of these paintings are of scenery that I experienced when I was a child. To be sure more recent works do seem to feature a mountain that resembles Mt. Yotei, but they aren't actually modeled after any existing landscape. The same goes for the children, perhaps they represent those who are looking at the painting. I'd be really happy if those who view the work feel a sense of familiarity in the landscape."
Is there anything you would like to impart to our readers?
"I would like everyone to help take care of this tiny star called Earth, and work hard to leave it as clean as possible for future generations. I keep my pictures free of the trash and mess that we have often created in these landscapes, and I wish to see the real places in our world keep this sense of natural beauty."
On his 60th birthday, Mr. Fukawa began working with water colors for the first time. He told me, "I'm living in Hokkaido, so I'd like to create works that are inspired and representative of Hokkaido!"
▲ Water color painting.
The gallery "Fuuzanan" is visited often by fans of Mr. Fukawa's work. His wife is working at FREE SPACE 「風」 (in Sapporo) where she displays his work. Mr. Fukawa's works will also be featured in a solo exhibition in Kutchan. If you have the chance be sure to visit and experience the beautiful world Mr. Fukawa creates.
▲ Gallery "Fuuzanan." Works on display change every season.
※ Mr. Fukawa's works are handled by "Central Daimarufujii" in Sapporo, "Matsuyama Frame Shop", and others across Hokkaido. For more information please visit the official website below.
○Solo Show Information
"Itsuka Mita Fukei" (Scenery I've Seen Somewhere Before)
Woodblock Prints by Makoto Fukawa
Open from May 23rd to July 15th, 2013.
9:00-5:00(Closed on Tuesdays.)
Venue: Ogawara Osamu Memorial Museum
Location: 1 Kita 6-Jyo Higashi 7-Chome, Kutchan Town
●Makoto Fukawa's Gallery 風山菴 (Fuuzanan)
Niseko 404-30, Niseko Town
※ The gallery has an undetermined schedule, so please call ahead before visiting!
Makoto Fukawa Official Website:
●FREE SPACE 風
12-32 Ishiyama 2-Jyo 7-Chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo
Hours of Operation: 11:00-6:00
Closed on Wednesdays.
Hokkaido Likers Writer - Chiaki Uzurahashi
Photographs by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Megane