Radiant World

Introducing Fine Artist Noriko Matsubara who I met a few weeks ago, at an illustration workshop.  It’s a good thing we exchanged cards, or I wouldn’t have found a new friend, let alone such an artistic talent, who has mastered not only illustration, but installations, photography, and sculpture.

You have a diverse range of mediums, where do you find all your inspiration?
I am inspired by nature. I grew up in rural Japan, and an upbringing like that gives you a strong appreciation for the natural world. This appreciation grew stronger when Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle project began taking shape and my childhood playground became a burial ground for radioactive waste from all the nuclear power plants in Japan. My work became a commentary on society’s relationship with the natural world and touched on themes of ‘life out of balance’. I explore our future’s connection with the past through the present; using drawing, painting, sculpture and photography.

© Noriko Matsubara Home to the rock

At the moment you are focusing on collage, and children’s book, what are the themes, and stories behind them?
Having dealt with big and complex issues surrounding the nuclear industry, I wanted to create something simple and familiar that I can feel at peace with, so I begun writing and illustrating a children’s book. My first children’s book ‘Bocchi & Pocchi’ is a story about a pair of socks. I feel good about writing something centered around love, warmth and a simple life. Recently I’ve been making collage called ‘chigiri-e’ (Japanese torn paper collage) and the themes are often inspired by the natural world.

© Noriko Matsubara

You have an upcoming exhibition, what do we expect to see?

 You will see chigiri-e, and embroidery work called Nanbu Hishizashi. Chigiri-e is a traditional Japanese art form in which pictures are created from pieces of hand-torn Japanese paper called washi. Instead of traditional washi, my chigiri-e uses newspaper which create a unique effect on the images. Nanbu Hishizashi is traditional stitching of northern Japan. Originally invented to reinforce the clothes to endure the cold winter, Nanbu Hishizashi evolved as a rural domestic craft in northern farming communities during the Edo period (1603-1868). My sister and I have been practicing this traditional stitching handed down through our region’s generations. My exhibition is held at a friendly and charming cafe near Angel Station from 7 June to 3 July 2010. Cafe Olive, 42 Penton Street, London N1 9QA

© Noriko Matsubara Crab on the shore