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!

By Jude Jiang

Jude Jiang is a bilingual writer based in China. She has a strong interest in bridging the understanding between western and eastern worlds through storytelling.

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