Paul Dupin de Saint Cyr
Entretien | 16 janvier
4 mn

Kaoru Akagawa - Kana de l’Art
Calligraphy in Japan is an ancient and prestigious art. Kaoru Akagawa, a young Japanese artist, revives it successfully with Kana de l'Art, her own aesthetic style.

After years spent designing TV commercials for cosmetic products, Kaoru Akagawa felt the urge to do something more in touch with her own sensitivity. So she turned to what she has always loved to do since her earliest childhood: painting and drawing, in the Japanese fashion. Born in Canada from Japanese parents, she discovered her mother country’s sophisticated artistic traditions when she moved to Tokyo at the age of 15 – a bit late, she deplores. She made up for lost time and developed her own aesthetic style, which she called ‘Kana de l’Art’, based on Kana Shodo, a specific variety of traditional Japanese calligraphy. She creates images using small characters of varying thickness and darkness. In the end the characters tell a story that matches the image. She explains why calligraphy is a 21st century art.

Pluris - Calligraphy seems a bit old-fashioned. Why did you choose it?

Kaoru Akagawa - Graphic designers nowadays can fix everything so easily. Just one click and you can undo any mistake. I was getting tired of this. I wanted to do something where you could have no second chance. And that was calligraphy: ink never gives you a second chance since it sticks on paper forever.

What is so special with Kana Shodo?

Kana Shodo was practiced mainly by women of upper classes of society. It came to its high point in the 10th century and flourished until 1900. The women who belonged to the Imperial Family and nobles showed their ability as writers using Kana Shodo. Murasaki Shikibu, a woman from a noble family in the 10th century, wrote the very famous novel ‘Genji Monogatari’ using Kana Shodo, for instance. This was the first significant literature masterpiece in Japanese history. Kana Shodo is the original legacy of this tradition.

Do you need a special environment to practice your art?

I need to live in cities where art and classical music are easily accessible. But I also like to live near bodies of water, as one of my hobbies is fishing! I need to walk regularly in the countryside to realize that I am also just a part of nature. When I go fishing on the ocean, wind and wave wash out my arrogance and insatiateness. This helps to balance myself.
Crédits photo :
Article paru dans le numéro #8 SIGNATURES
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