Takuji Hamanaka

Aida Nogués

Takuji Hamanaka

How did you discovered the handmade printing world and why did you choose it as your art of expression?
As a young boy growing up in Japan I was fascinated by Old Japanese prints. Image of those traditional Ukiyo-e is easily found in marketplace in various forms to this day.

You notice some of those iconic image are repeatedly shown up on cover of magazines, advertisement, commercial etc. The situation was similar when I was a boy and I found a bunch of reproduction of Ukiyo-e prints in one particular merchandise.I grown to like those images then started to buy books at second hand book store and studied different prints. I don't know why but I was so interested in works of HIroshige, especially.

At the very beginning it was desire to make image like they made and soon enough I was making my own instead of making sort of imitation but this is more than 20 years ago !

What are you working on in your studio right now?
My recent body of works focus on collage element while incorporating some woodcut. Some are combination of both and others are entirely collage using extremely thin Japanese paper.

Can you describe your working routine and how is your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
When I am making prints, all process is well structured so everything from carving to printing tend to be very efficient. I don't know how much you know about kind of printmaking I do but when it comes to studio space, it does not really take much. All I need it practically a few solid work table and of course a good set of printmaking tools such as carving tool, brush, pigment and Baren( printing disk). It does not involve any use of chemical or press machine so you could do it with fairly limited numbers of tools and materials. I like simplicity of this printmaking.

Takuji Hamanaka

Tell me about your process, where or how things begin, how they evolve and with which material do you work.
In recent work it starts by making sort of module, that could be rectangular shape, or triangle. I print them in woodcut, applying color blending.

I make hundred of them and use them as base, cut them up and build up bigger shape/pattern. Once I established the base using those units, I then cut thin Japanese paper and paste them to shape/pattern to make subtle, deep visual effect.

What are you having the most trouble resolving in your process?
While some aspect of my process is quite efficient other part such as cutting hundreds of various sized paper is very much time consuming. But there is no easy way out i guess.

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I have been examining possibility of utilizing characteristic expression/materials in printmaking and place them in a little bit different context. Emphasizing collage element is one of them. Though there was time when I just paint in the past so who knows.

Tell me about your influences in the handmade printing range or in other ranges (music, cinema, etc)
Along with printmaking i have been involved in stained glass. I do many aspect of conservation and fabrication at studio and there are certain similarities between printmaking and stained glass. In woodcut you construct images by using blocks (Shapes) in stain glass it is obviously glass but base is combination of different shapes/color. To some degree some of collage I made around 2008 might have been influenced by procedure of stained glass making.

Takuji Hamanaka