Featured IPE Artist: Takanori Iwase

River crow – Wood engraving, 10x7cm

What was your first experience of printmaking?

At the age of 15, a munch print exhibition was held at the museum in the area where I live. Many etching and lithographs were exhibited, and among them, I was impressed by the lithograph of the “sick child”. I was driven by the urge to produce prints work by myself, and I began production from etching at the beginning. At that time, I had the opportunity to produce a mezzotint as a problem of high school’s art circle, and some of these production processes led me to the world of art.

What are your favourite printmaking processes, and why?

In recent years I have made many wood engraving prints. In addition to woodcut prints, I am producing works of etching, mezzotint and lithograph. I try to choose an appropriate method to realize the image I want to express. Especially wood engraving prints like the simplicity of that expression. I think it is a straightforward way to express what I want to convey by clear images of white and black. Also, they contain many possibilities both on technology and on expression. I am striving to express better expression.

What inspires you as an artist?

I want to express healing and mystery that I feel in nature. The beauty of the flow of water, sounds of water, sunlight through the sun, birds flying over will give me an image.

Waterfall of the winter – Waterless Lithograph, 60x80cm

How would you describe your creative process?

Wood engraving prints are a very simple technique. The degree of difficulty is also increasing as more detail is sought at the same time. I think that I am going to follow the form of a log when drawing. I think that the shape of cracks and ring rings is also an important element in the picture. I draw directly on the woodblock and the ruler is improvisational. I will always make sure that they together form a work.
When printing, I use ganpa paper. It is necessary paper to accurately reproduce fine lines. Also, the quality of Balen is even more important. There are craftworkers who can produce excellent Balen in Japan. I think that my work is supported by such artisan skills.

What’s the best thing about being a printmaker?

I believe that prints make expression more simple and pure. I think that it is important that the purer spirit in my picture and the texture obtained from the plate material are fused together.

Tell us about your studio…

I am using a print shop that is two public facilities. One is a printmaking studio in “Sapporo Art Park” and the other is a printmaking studio in “Yuwaku Sousaku no Mori” in Kanazawa City. Both are factory which support is fully supported by specialized staff, and can be produced smoothly. I also participated in this IPE with my colleagues at the workshop. People who love printmaking art love each other and create while influencing each other.

What are you working on at present?

I am interested in the Library slip(Ex Libris)  and I am trying to produce it. My friend is working on a library book for private libraries operated in Kanazawa city.

What prompted you to take part in the International Print Exchange?

I have known “IPE” on facebook and have been participating since 2014. Every time I receive a great stimulus for the work which is sent to me wonderfully, I feel the significance of international exchange.
What was your inspiration for your IPE print this year?

I like walking on mountain streams. When I go back to the flow of the river, I can see the river crows going upstream and downstream of the flow. I caught them as symbolizing the nature surrounding us.

Favourite subject matter?

Nature· Despair

Favourite printmaking paper?


Favourite ink?
Charbonnel  F-66, Miyako ink Perfect

Favourite colour?

Blue green

Favourite printmaker / artist?

Masuo Ikeda,Pablo Picasso


Email address: iwase@art.nifty.jp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/takanori.iwase.1

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