TAMURA Kukoku was born in 1935 is a Japanese artist specialising in sumi (Japanese ink wash) paintings. Tamura was born into a family business of dying traditional kimonos where he was acquainted with colours and pigments. He went on to pursue his artistic inclinations and started off his artistic career as an abstract calligrapher.

Kukoku Tamura’s intricate fusion of painting and calligraphy produce many captivating symbolic elements in his artworks that confounds and intrigues the viewer. Using sumi as a primary medium, dynamic calligraphy brush strokes are prominently displayed in Tamura’s artworks, distinguishing his work from others. Blank spaces are also a commonality in his works. Hints of experimenting with Western paper, watercolours and pastel can be found in Tamura’s newer works. His early influences remain, as tradition is important for Tamura.

‘ I do not believe that the present can exist without tradition. Inheriting tradition as it is will only end up in the mere copying of tradition. Art does not exist in a suspended time. I strongly believe that one’s creativity will be nurtured by always learning from art’s history and artistic techniques. Calligraphy work that is simplified into black and white and abstraction with color –both have their own rhythms – may be regarded opposites, contradictory, but I feel the fusion or integration of the opposites brings me spiritual liberation,’ Kukoku Tamura (Asian Art News)