The art of Japanese paintings

The work of the Japanese artist Mari Ito can be defined as an explosion of life that makes us feel in a permanent spring state. However, her work goes beyond aesthetics and harbors a deeper meaning. Mari's work is characterized by its interest in showing the subconscious and is based on what the artist calls "the origin of desire". At the beginning of her career, Mari became interested in the theory of the subconscious by Sigmund Freud. Later, the artist explored this theory in a pictorial key and focused on what she calls "the origin of desire". Although the materials and techniques she uses vary, this link with the subconscious remains in her oeuvre.

Her interest in flowers in her paintings actually comes from a well-known Japanese saying. In Japan when someone "has a flower" it means that he or she has charm. In this sense, a person can “have a flower” or not have it. For Mari, her floral compositions represent specific moods and feelings. According to the artist, "there are many types of people and many types of flowers: delicate, strong, with thorns etc. This is what I want to convey with my work". For this reason, not all her works harbor a positive meaning, since Mari does not reject any feeling when she is painting.

The artist also tells us that, in Japan, expressing emotions is uncommon, even frowned upon. This search for feelings, from the most positive ones to the most obscure, has led her to investigate the depths of the human being in order to express emotions through figurative painting. Undoubtedly, a true artistic challenge.

Today Mari's work focuses on symmetry and balance. She seems to explore an aesthetic equilibrium based on the symmetrical repetition of figures without abandoning the floral style and her interest in the subconscious that characterizes her work.

We also had the opportunity to see her studio in Barcelona. She lives and works in a collective space with five workshops where seven artists work. Mari discovered this space over nine years ago and it has become her sanctuary and her home since then. Upon entering, her studio transmits peace and passion for art. Its decoration and organization shows how the artist works and lives. Mari showed us her long desk, where she spends most of her time. She also displayed the wide selection of Japanese pigments she uses to create her works. Most of the pigments come from Japan because, according to Mari, in Europe it is difficult to find the exact shades of color she needs.

Mari works with patience and precision. To see her paintings is to see a piece of her colorful imagination where new forms of expression can always be found.

We are pleased to present an exclusive collaboration with the Japanese artist Mari Ito. A curated selection of exclusive Japanese paintings and watercolors are now available at Artig Gallery.

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When and where did you decide to become an artist?
When I was little I wanted to be an artist. I do not remember exactly when or where I decided it, but I knew it since I was a child. I have always liked to paint. When I was fifteen years old, I had to choose what I wanted to study and I chose Fine Arts. My parents always supported my decision.

How did you decide to come to Spain?
At first, I wanted to live in Vienna because I liked an Austrian artistic movement from the sixties, so I wanted to study in Vienna. But once there, I realized I did not like it and I wanted to change city. I also wanted to leave Japan to see other countries. Then I asked my gallerist in Japan and he recommended either Barcelona or Lisbon. But in the end, I chose Barcelona.

What is your favorite artistic movement?
Mmm ... Maybe Catalan Modernism, I've always liked it, especially architecture.

What projects have you worked on this year, what new features would you like to share with us?
This past year I participated in several projects in Barcelona, ​​it was a busy year! One of them was the development of a permanent mural that is located in the metro station "Universitat". It was a very nice project.
For this year, I designed some patterns for a Yukata-style kimonos and in May they will come out.
Also, at the end of this year I will hold an exhibition in New York. I'm so excited!

Mari, what did you have for breakfast today?
Pancakes! I love them, I cook them whenever I can. It's my favorite breakfast. Today I ate them with coffee and juice.

Who is your hero?
(Laughs).. to be honest, I’ve never thought of it!

What would surprise people to know about you?
Another difficult question! Ha, ha, ha. My friends always tell me that I am very optimistic. My friend Eguchi tells me that I do not seem Japanese! In general, Japanese women are very shy and I am not so shy (laughs) . I believe that I have a very positive and happy mentality.

Where did you go in your latest trip(s)?
In my latest trips, I went to the Venice Biennale and to Paris.

What do you do in your free time?
In general, I do not have much free time, but when I do I love going out for dinner or having a drink with my friends. I also like to see nature, that inspires me a lot, and also taking my dog ​​for a walk, although that is more of an obligation. Ha, ha, ha. My free time is usually related to my work.

Who are your 3 favorite artists?
I love Bosch. Also, Domenech i Muntaner, his architectural style fascinates me. I also like Nobuyoshi Araki… Actually, it depends on the day. Today it's these three artists, tomorrow we will see… (laughs).

What inspires you?
When I walk through nature, when I'm eating... There are many things in life that inspire me.

Describe your artistic style in 3 words:
Explosion of energy, joy and patience.

What advice would you give to our emerging artists?
I think the most important thing is to never stop painting. If you stop, it is much harder to start over again. If an artist continues producing works constantly, he or she will surely get where he or she wants.

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