Warming-up Is Essential

At first glance, it might seem that trampolines and the spark of artistic creation are entirely unrelated. I discovered how intimately and interestingly connected they could be. When one speaks of artistic creation, it tends to evoke the image of someone peacefully painting in front of a canvas or sculpting clay. So, when I visited the Atelier Hiko, a small-size black trampoline set in the corner attracted my attention. One might wonder what it is doing in an art studio.

Machitaka-san, who attends Artier Hiko every Tuesday, is an active fourteen-year-old boy sporting surprisingly sinewy muscles within his thin body. At 4p.m., he came barging in to the Atelier with the force of a typhoon. Right away, he started to arrange the spacing of the furniture to his own proper proportions – all the chairs in line, the desks divided by the proper distance and everything in its place.

“What is going on?” I thought. As I was trying to figure out the situation, he had already picked up the trampoline from the corner. Very conscious of his surroundings, he made precise adjustments to the positions of the surrounding chairs and desks before placing the trampoline in the middle of the room. Then from a menu-like booklet, he selected a picture card representing a music song. He handed his choice to Ishizaki-san, which I perceived as another significant step in his preparations.

With great anticipation, Michitaka-san went to the trampoline. As the music began, he hopped on with a conspicuous sense of happiness. As if he were a metronome, the piano played along to his well-controlled rhythm. His T-shirt swayed loosely, its slogan “Just do it” seemed to match his dynamic energy.

“He is making a sequence of fast body movements as well as spontaneously incorporating the changes!” I thought. The image reminded me of a trampoline gymnast. On top of controlling the speed of his jumps, I guessed he might be targeted to achieve some awesome movements.

His control reminded me of gymnasts’ determination and skill.  For a moment, I didn’t know whether I was in an atelier or at a sports studio. I wondered what acrobatics he might achieve upon a full-sized trampoline. As an audience, I was eager to applaud his wonderful performance!

Jumping quickly, the excitement built up. Machitaka-san’s face blushed warmly and a bright smile emerged. “So is Machitaki-san, so is Hiko-kun…” as Ishizaki-san’s song drew to a close, his pace accordingly slowed down. I thought his energy was spent, but he promptly went to a nearby desk. With vigorous force, he started to draw with black ink.    

Within just six seconds, a painting began to take shape on the paper. Four circles, reminiscent of the Olympic logo, yet imperfect in shape, were linked together. Each brush stroke conveyed a strong force. “Wait, is it painting or calligraphy?” I pondered. In the way it was painted, it could be seen as four geometric shapes yet it could also be read as four written characters. Zero or circle, character or image, it was impossible for me to decide.

As I was trying to seek for an answer, I found out that they were high-fiving, as if celebrating an awesome accomplishment. “That’s it!” I came to a realization. The art work that Michitaka-san made was not just a solo work; instead, it was a fruitful result of his teamwork with Ishizaki-san.

It was the culmination of arranging the space and the canvas, moving within that space, connecting through music and finally creating his own unique art. For this artist, I felt the whole room was his canvas.

Is this any different than the great calligraphers, preparing their brushes, inks and paper and meditating before making the first brush stroke?

A peaceful meditation, playing an instrument, taking a stroll or intensely bouncing on a trampoline, warming-up is an essential part in the act of artistic creation.



(日本語 編集協力:  石﨑史子)




待ちきれない道隆さんはいよいよ楽しそうにトランポリンで飛び跳ね始めた。石﨑さんの弾くピアノ音楽とともに、「Just do it」と書かれたTシャツが彼のジャンプに合わせて上下に揺れていた。音楽のテンポが速くなると、彼は高く飛び上がるほど興奮し、体の動きも活発になっていた。足を前に蹴り出し、手も振っていた。









The Twirling Artist

Aki-san is quite tall. I wondered if it was because of his height that he developed a unique perspective from others. I found out he possesses many more abilities.

The first time when I visited Atelier Hiko, I was immediately attracted by a piece of Aki-san’s painting that was set at the entrance. On a one-meter square canvas, there was drawn a blue human face, composed of several circles and no pupils in the eyes.

At a glance, I felt a bit scared, however, I couldn’t help but continue to look and discern more details. Directly beneath the human face was a square-shaped white space occupying the center of the canvas, completely without paint. Meanwhile, outside the white space was filled with blue.

If there was a human face, shouldn’t there be human hands, body or legs, I wondered? Yet where were these parts? The more I searched for a specific answer, the more chaotic it seemed to me. My usual thought processes failed to apply to this scenario. 

As I was gazing at the painting with confusion, Aki-san, instead, was confidently adding colors on the canvas. “Sa, sa, sa,” he hummed. Without hesitation, he quickly moved the paintbrush in random-seeming strokes. The newly painted blue covered the previous one on the canvas, so the two shades of blue quickly overlapped each other.

Rather than regarding it as painting, in my perspective, the paintbrush, as if it was not trapped by anything, was freely dancing on the stage of the white canvas. I was so immersed in watching this scenario that I didn’t notice Aki-san had left his seat.

Just like an orchestra conductor, Aki-san raised his index fingers up in the air. Following that, I heard music played on the piano. From the back of the room, Ishizaki-san was sitting in front of the white piano, playing pleasant music while singing a song. The name Aki was included in her lyrics.

What happened? Did the two of them just spontaneously mirror each other’s actions?

I was amazed at how incredible it was. Aki-san started dancing to the music, spinning like a ballroom performer, and spun to the back of the room.  Humming along with the on-going music, he picked up a reed pen and began drawing with ink on a piece of paper set on the table.   

Far different from what was painted about the human face, the objects drawn on the paper were so much more recognizable. The shapes of the piano Ishizaki-san was playing, a dessert plate and a cup were drawn with lifelike proportions, in his own unique style.

The outlines of objects in Aki-san’s drawings, rather than being a boundary between objects and space, seem to create connection from one object to another. Furthermore, presenting the objects through this impressionism of their outlines seems to provide some sense of freedom.

I can’t help but wonder if that impression remained so strong from his observation of objects while he orbited the studio. While I tend to get caught up in the details of art, Aki-san seems to embrace a more flexible view of things. I’m so jealous of that freedom!



(日本語 編集協力:  石﨑史子)