Sachi Oizumi, who lives in Australia, learned oil painting at first and then started learning Japanese painting later on. Her paintings have the feature of western-style oil paintings and traditional Japanese paintings. She has been living outside of Japan for a long time so she describes herself as ‘half Japanese, half non-japanese’. She has sensitivity of different cultures which makes her possible to create different variety of works.
What made you start Japanese painting?
-I started Japanese painting after I moved to Australia. I found a Japanese painting at an antique shop in Melbourne and I thought it was beautiful. Even though I am Japanese myself, I noticed that I see Japan objectively when I’m not in Japan. So I recognized the characteristics of Japanese painting after living abroad.
I think Japanese painting is not only an expression of painting but also an organism as well. Maybe its because I use organic materials in the painting but I think the world of organic is one of the charms that Japanese painting has.
Oil paintings and Japanese paintings have different materials and methods. How did you get used to it?
-I agree. It changed a lot in terms of creating methods. Inspiration was important for oil painting, and I was relying on that as well. However, Japanese painting requires patience. Preparation is everything and each process is very clear. It’s like chess where I have to think ahead and paint. Not only the process but also the attitude towards my work may have changed as well.
Changing the way you approach and create sounds difficult. How did you adapt to it?
-Yes, it may have been difficult. But there was a time when I couldn’t paint at all when I moved to Australia. Maybe for about 7-8 years, I just couldn’t paint at all.
Because Australia was abundant in nature, I collected insects and doing other things when I couldn’t paint. These activity may have affected my work, and this is how I got interested in the organic aspects of Japanese painting. Looking at large frameworks such as organic and natural environments, the inspirational creation I had been doing seemed very narcissistic and small.
That’s why you reconsidered your work?
-Yes, I felt like I saw a bigger world. From that point on, I started questioning myself ‘What is a ‘real’ painting?’.
What I thought at that time was comparing the work that I created when I was in my 20’s and 60’s, and the work that I created in my 20’s is better. That made me realize that I needed to face my own painting more seriously.
What are your motifs and themes?
-Lizards come to my house quite often so I sketch them and use them as motifs. I think the world that my painting has is rather more abstract. I tend to use organic matter in the front so that the world can be seen in the background. I often use gold because it is convincing.
What do you want to do in the future?
-I don’t have a lot of experience in Japanese painting yet so I want to study more. In Japanese painting, the technique is very important so I want to brush up my skills even more as well. Also, while I am Japanese myself, I have been living abroad for a long time so I’m becoming more ‘half-half’ rather than ‘full’ Japanese. I do love old, traditional paintings such as Maruyama Okyo so I would like to spread the Japanese culture from outside of Japan.