Artist Statement

To express between reality and illusion under the theme of light.

I have, for a long time, been thinking of the meaning of the Japanese character, "星", which reads ‘Hoshi’ and happened to be my surname.  “Hoshi", or 'star' in English, is a light that we look upon in the dark night, but is hardly visible during daylight.  On the other hand, what we see every day: colours and shapes, the height of the sky and the vividness of the flowers, children on the street, squirrels getting ready for the winter, skyscrapers, leaves blowing in the wind, can only be projected to our retina by the light.  My random thoughts and ephemeral emotions also interact with what are visible, mutually influencing each other.  These visible and the invisibles are always afloat within myself, indistinct, and one day emerges in my mind as an image of ‘light'.  This image is vague as the starlight that flickers with the atmosphere, and ephemeral as a very realistic dream. I try to capture this image and and consolidate to the reality with my paint brush.  Being engaged in this process allows me to exist between reality and illusion, not only by the word “hoshi”, but also as a signification. In that sense, I think my theme has always been to seek the ‘light' itself.  

The yet vague 'image of light' that resides inside me is often colourless, but guides me to seek for the actual representation in the real world.  It is impossible to articulate my inner image in words. As if trying to reach for the light, the image escapes through the gap between words when I try to articulate it.  So I shut my mouth, vow silence and continue my pursuit for the representation in this world that is closest to the image. And when I encounter the representation, the image inside me suddenly becomes alive, increase its brightness and starts blooming with colours.  What I see in my daily life, things that are visible to my eyes, are both inputs to my inner images and the means to output them into my creation. Image is what leads me and my creation.  And I cannot tell the meaning of my own piece, nor it’s relation to the theme while creating it.  It is like an ascetic practice. I am compelled to create without knowing what to create or where the creation is leading me.  It is as if my body is subject to another will to create the painting. Here, I also exist between the intention to draw and the canvas onto which the image will be drawn.    In order to faithfully express the impression I received from the objects, I restrict myself to only use black, white and the three primary colours.   The impression is created onto the canvas by contrast and harmony.  

The objects I encounter in the real world are portrayed in black and white. In contrast, the impression I perceived, the image that was floating inside my mind, and my vision itself are captured by the three primary colours.  The vividness, brightness and the strength of primary colours also present a stark contrast with the solid, realistic feeling of the monochrome black and white. There is a harmony between the glow of a single primary colour and the murkiness of the mixed colours, the murkiness some of which goes beyond my control and is more governed by chance.  Monochrome objects, on the other hand, are completely under my control. It is the manifestation of the aleatory and the certainty. I concentrate and run my first stroke of brush.  It seems as if the goal is already in sight at this point.  But the goal changes itself as my brush continues to paint, and so as my mind.  The mixtures of primary colours create unexpected combinations as the spectrum of colours unfold by chance, and they interact with the monochrome objects.  Depending on the state of my mind, the monochrome objects or the colours stand out, some contrasts are enhanced than the other. All the opposing notions compete as I continue to paint until the moment comes where every colours are in harmony, and eventually the relationship: between myself and the painting; monochrome and colours; shapeless and of the shapes; the reality and illusion, are stable.  This is the moment when I can finally see what I have been seeing.

For me, the process of creation is the only way in which I can tangibly confirm and substantiate what I am “seeing” between the reality and illusion.