Wabi Sabi: Impermanence, Art, and a Journey to Japan

Wabi Sabi: Impermanence, Art, and a Journey to Japan

I have long been intrigued by the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, the roots of which can be found in Zen Buddhism. Intrigued longer, it seems, than I have had a name for the idea. This changed shortly after I journeyed through Japan alongside my Japanese art Collector. Wabi sabi is a philosophy that deals with transience, imperfection and the incompleteness of objects that man makes and has been making for all time. Followers of wabi sabi believe that: Nothing lasts Nothing is finished Nothing is perfect I traveled to Japan on two occasions, once in 2007 and once in 2008. One of my Japanese Collectors is a prolific collector of antiquities from around the world. He saw my work at a solo exhibition in London, during the spring of 2006, and purchased a great many of my paintings that year. Soon after, he invited me to Japan to travel with him throughout his country. We journeyed east and west, north and south visiting many museums, fish markets, galleries, and teashops. While traveling with my Japanese Collector, who is well known throughout Japan, I experienced the country in a way very different than many others. At many stops along our winding route we would be served tea in the most wonderfully delicate manner. Amidst a good deal of polite bowing, the tea was always brought out in a beautiful clay pot and small teacups. My eye was drawn to how often the cups might be a bit misshapen or have slight cracks running across the surface. I puzzled over the somewhat irregular glaze. It was not until a friend...

Questions of Influences on Abstract Painters

  All artists are influenced consciously and subconsciously by what they see, feel, and touch from birth to around age ten.  The artist is often not aware of these influences, which surface after time as the mind begins to process such influences. For me, growing up in the streets of New York brought accumulating impressions from street surfaces, repaved roads and sidewalks, and everywhere, asphalt meeting concrete. I noticed how surfaces and shapes were repainted, worn down and repainted again. All of these tactile  and visual “joinings” — brick meeting brick meeting tile and scratched pavement — played a part in my early visual memory and later “fed” the paintings I would do in the full breadth of my career. I was also quite influenced by comic books and bubble gum, and not only the visual and tactile references but also the mysterious, nearly exotic fragrances of printer’s ink in Superman comics and Mad magazines, which I bought with great relish. I inhaled those inks page by page as I breezed through these magazines and periodicals, after riding my bicycle to the candy store which sat only a few hundred yards from our home. Bubble gum, all pink and pasty, came in a variety of formats. This pink bubble gum — wild in color, flat and dusty at times, chunky and thick in other cases — was bought for a penny even. It became crazily flavorful after a few chews. This gum accompanied many of our street games such as stickball, box baseball, or hit the penny. All kids enjoyed blowing bubbles, often exhaling huge ones until the gum...