Tokuriki Tomikichiro’s Serenity
Tokuriki Tomikichiro came from twelve generations of Japanese artists and started painting in his early twenties, becoming renowned as one of the most highly respected woodblock artists of the twentieth century. Tomichiro’s works in Ukiyo-style woodblock prints are often referred to as “pictures of the floating world” (a rough translation) and capture a “slice of life” feel. The Ukiyo-e genre of art flourished in Japan from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica.
Through paintings like we see here, we can understand the need for perfection in the stillness of our mountain-based scene, which although appearing simplistic in style, actually took weeks to complete, as all woodblock prints do, due to their complex production process. Tomikichiro deceives those who look too quickly – none of his pieces were made in haste. Each detail, each twig and glimmer in the reflective pool (perhaps symbolic as well) was carefully chosen by the artist, and carved into its specific place before being transferred.
In this painting, Tokuriki Tomikichiro presents us with a feeling that we might not have felt in a while: serenity, a concept which is lost on many of us. We are a society that thrives under stress, and constantly seeks to move forward, regardless of the terrain; our feelings of worthiness usually determined by numbers, not genuine feelings of happiness or satisfaction. In our hustle-and-bustle worlds, the few but lucky get to experience calmness at points throughout the day, but most of us struggle to find some peace and quiet. Tomikichiro and his beautiful woodblock prints teach us once again how to relax, a luxury that many of us either don’t always have, or forget to embrace when we can.