Yoko Nishina, calligrapher
Born in Kochi Prefecture, Japan
Begin calligraphy (at age 5, went looking for a calligraphy teacher on the way
home from kindergarten)
Graduated Doshisha University, major in Japanese literature
Post-graduate study at Nara Kyōiku University in the field of Art Pedagogy,
specializing in calligraphy
Taught calligraphy in Dusseldorf, Germany at EKO-Haus der Japanischen
Full-time lecturer, Murasakino High School, Kyoto
Begin career as exhibiting calligrapher
exhibition: [Kusakizome to Shō] (Natural Dyes and Calligraphy) A collaboration
with natural dyer. Kyoto: Myōsetsu-an
exhibition: [Some to Sumi no Aida] (In between Dye and Ink) A collaboration
with natural dyer. Nara: Kokusai Naragaku Seminar House
exhibition: [Moe no Michi] (The Spring-green Path) Kyoto: Honen-in Lecture
exhibition: [Koto no Kaori] (Fragrance of the Old Capital) Nara:Naramachi
Chosen exhibitor for 39th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten)
Completed correspondence course of study on methodology of teaching
calligraphy from the Humanities Department of Bukkyō Daigaku
exhibition: [Shin’In] (Ancient Voice)Collaborative exhibition with sumi-e artist
Kyoto: Event Space SARA
exhibition: [Yamato Fūin] (Japanese Elegance) Nara: Asuka-en Gallery
Winner of a prize for excellence in the 28th Yomiuri Calligraphy Exhibition
exhibition: [Shikishi no Shō] (Calligraphy on Square piece of Fancy Paper)
Kyoto: Gallery House Sumire
Chosen participant, 44th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten)
exhibition:「Entre l'encre et la couleur」(Between Ink and Color) Collaborative
exhibition with artist. Quebec, Canada
Chosen participant, 45th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten)
exhibition: [In’Ei-Kageri Utsuroi] (Shadows and Reflection) Collaborative
exhibition with mounter. Kyoto:Nakae-ke-jyutaku
Demonstration: La Feria Internacional de los Pueblos de Fuengirola, Spain
Chosen participant, The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition (The 1st Reorganized New
Illustrated Talk on the Asian hanging scroll and Calligraphy. University of
California, Berkeley, USA
exhibition: [Kaze-Tachinu](Arising Wind) Collaborative exhibition with artist and
mounter. NY, USA
exhibition Kyoto: Gallery Wajun, Chion-in Temple
Winner of a prize for excellence in the 32nd Yomiuri Calligraphy Exhibition
Chosen participant, The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition (The 2nd Reorganized New
exhibition Kyoto: Gallery Wajun, Chion-in Temple
exhibition: [Matsukaze no Oto] (Soughing of the wind through the pine-trees)
Organizer, Yomiuri Calligraphy Association
Member, panel of judges, Nihon Shōgei-in
President, Keishōkai (calligraphy association)
Resonance of the Brush
In our everyday lives we read printed type and enter text on our computers and cell phones—mechanical characters that are the same no matter who reads or writes them. Yet,write those same characters with a brush and suddenly they turn into organic living things. What makes this living quality of calligraphy?
Due to the resilience of the hairs of the brush, when a person holds the handle, the subtle vibration of his being is transmitted directly through the brush. Using the strength and vitality produced by the flexibility of the hairs, one begins to move the brush.
Breathing from the moment one picks up the brush, and following the breath, a rhythm of space is established. This rhythm is what produces the variations of tempo and accent of the flowing line that is expressed in a natural continuous lively movement.
In this sense it is natural to speak of calligraphy as music, for both are art forms of time.
One summer five years ago, an American high school student who was interested in calligraphy stayed in my home. One day, as she was watching my brushwork she remarked, “I hear the sound of the ‘cello from your brushwork.”
I was surprised. Although it had occurred to me that calligraphy was like music, I had not said anything about those thoughts to her. Also, this was the first time for me to consider the comparison to a specific instrument. In any case, her remark validated my feeling that calligraphy is music. Specifically, that a line drawn by the brush produces a certain resonance. The moment by moment expression of the drawn line is like the intersection of the many resonances in a symphony.
The living quality of calligraphy is precisely this.
The resonance follows the time dimension, appearing and disappearing, changing—not simply repeating itself, but mastering the surface of the paper and the surrounding space. According to the resonance of the black inked path of the brush, the surrounding white space may be squeezed or enlarged, deeply interior or placidly peaceful. And from where does it arise, this resonance that shapes time and space?
Let us say that it originates in the heart and spirit of the person who holds the brush. Thus it is that in the world of calligraphy, human dignity and elevated spirituality are treasured. For that reason, the writings of many Zen priests are valued and respected.
Obviously, heart alone is not enough to create a calligraphic work. Practice and learning technique are necessary as well. Then, with a full heart, and a hand that is expert enough to follow it naturally, one is ready to express a melding of heart and hand in their brushwork.
A truly magnificent work of calligraphy has a balance between the quality of humanity and the level of skill of the artist. The visual resonance woven by this interplay shines through like a sublime echo, enfolding the viewer.