Sosaku hanga means “creative prints.” (Of course we at the Art Caravan think that all prints are creative prints.)
In the long history of Japanese printmaking, a creative ‘team’ worked together to make prints. Up until the early 20th century, the artist designed the image, the carver prepared the wooden blocks for printing, the printer inked the blocks and produced the prints, and the publisher was the distributor.
Sosaku hanga prints are the artworks created individually, by Japanese artist. We don’t think of this as revolutionary, do we? But for the Japanese, it was an enormous shift.
Many influences led to the sosaku hanga art movement. As Japan opened up to the outside world in the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the artists were exposed to Western ideas. The ideas of ‘self’ and individualism became possibilities. They saw that successful artists could, and did, produce their artwork from start to finish.
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria recently had a show Sosaku Hanga: Japan’s Creative Print Movement. Who knew that they have one of the largest collections of sosaku hanga print collections in the world? It was a very good show, with a wide variety of work.
Recognize this artist?
Yes! It’s Toko Shinoda, the Japanese artist I wrote about in the previous blog entry. This is a lithograph she made in 1983, when she was seventy years old. It’s called Arrived Wind.