Participant from the 8th of August till the 8th of September 2013

Yasuyoshi Botan is a contemporary artist from Tokyo, who makes paintings and installations.

Plan before participating
“To explore the everyday life’s differences in the feeling of color in Amsterdam (for example: the clothes in the window displays, book designs, food, flowers, and etc.) To visit my favorite paint maker (old Holland) to learn about how they choose colors and the secret behind the making of the color. Even though I make oil paintings with Dutch paint, I still often hear the comment: Japanese like. I want to know the reason behind this.”

My process during participation
“During my daily life, while I was searching for the differences in the color feeling I discovered the aesthetic sense in color of what was common to the Netherlands and Japan. It was a bit of studying history as I had to look back at the past. As a result of visiting the paint maker (Old Holland), I found out that pigment and oil are important for color and I got a lesson from a professor familiar with the field in order for me to understand it more deeply. I also had the opportunity on the actual location to see that even now they use the same technique (by windmill) to make pigment. The purest and most popular method to make color is tempera, which is a method of mixing pigment and oil and therefore I went to an artist who makes paintings using this technique and he taught it to me.”

Botan presented this to the public in his end-presentation Colour Palette at ‘t Japans Cultuur Centrum in Amsterdam.

After the project participation
“How to use, what pigment to use and what oil is best, is still under trial and error, but I have become a lot freer in using colors compared to before. Furthermore, as I know how to make the color that I need, I gained understanding and confidence in the color, I feel completely different from before. I am still continuing to exchange with the artists that I came to know. I am currently making a picture book for the Netherlands. This request was also due to the reason of my participation in Deshima AIR, as I know the Netherlands.”

About Amsterdam, Botan had the following to say: “In the city of Amsterdam, colours would be vivid and pop out to give accents to a dark historical townscape”. Botan thought this to be similar to rules of Japanese Aesthetic ‘Iki’.

“Botan was researching the colour usage of the old Holland masters. Only later I realized how Japanese his approach was. I, as a westerner would look at the deeper meanings behind things, as I was used to ‘the shape and content’. Botan would not look for the meaning behind things, but for the meaning in the colour. A wise lesson!’

– Olpheart den Otter, painter

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