folding screens “First Snow”

Japan inspires stunning art

The most important part of this painting is that it creates the feeling that you are there, inside the world of the painting, and enjoying the excitement of the winter’s first snow.  It might be the aluminum leaf background on a smooth mulberry paper, or the way the silver leaf flakes can sometimes seem to float inside the painting… or the way the white drops appear to be suspended above the surface of the painting, but whichever of these elements it is, it makes one cold while standing next to this painting. It created too cold a feeling for me to be able to display in the winter time, and I even found that when I decided to show it on a whim in the summer, it was as if it made the air conditioning more effective.

folding screens “First Snow”
folding screens “First Snow”

Even more than the fortuitous pine, plum and bamboo motif which I often like to use, or the taut or wavy lines in which I painted them, I like the fact that in the cloudy mirror of the shiny screen’s surface I think I can see what appears to be the people who live inside the painting who awkwardly extend their left hand to shake my proffered right one.

ALLAN WEST Born in 1962 in the US, Allan West settled in Tokyo and eventually graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts. You can visit his open studio in Yanaka, Tokyo.

text & artwork / Allan West,
coordination / Mariko Takahashi, photo / Keiji Okazaki