ArtShop Tsukibae

ArtShop Tsukibae

Artist Story

Kohei Ukai

I produce artworks made of wood and lacquer. I first came in contact with lacquer after I entered Crafts Department at Kanazawa College of Art. The process from the base to coating felt extremely long at first, but I eventually started feeling very comfortable "growing" the artwork with every process. I have continued producing artwork ever since, hoping to form this feeling into shape.

Production scenery

In the middle of production (Applying lacquer repeatedly) 

In process, I first carve wood as the "body," and then add lacquer to it. There are several materials used for the "body," such as wood, cloth, Japanese traditional paper, metal, etc. Of them, I chose to use wood because wood and lacquer go very well together. This may naturally be so because lacquer is originally made of tree sap. I also chose wood because it shapes however I shape it. I am hoping to make form of an artwork without any force, but as a natural result.

Lacquer is tree sap, used to protect scratches or chips on trees, therefore has long been used on mainly boxes and dishes in Japan as a natural glue or paint.
In my artworks, I focus on the relationships between materials. Lacquer forms shape for the first time when combined with wood, and wood is also protected by lacquer. I feel very comfortable as wood changes its expression every time lacquer is coated. Also, in this simple continuous process of applying lacquer and polishing, sometimes an unexpected shape appears. It makes it feel very humanlike, when I pick up this contingency, a feeling of going back and forth between consciousness and subconsciousness.

I hope to present lacquer, this traditional material, as one of the humans of modern time. Also, I produce my artworks taking aim in intuitively and physically impressing people's hearts.


From the owner

"I feel the claim of wood and make a shape while accepting it."

In the process of Ukai's production, the shape is carved along the grain of the wood without deciding the finished shape. There are times when I feel the moment when the claim of the tree and the intention of the creator are balanced, and at that time, the natural flow seems to move. I also want to show the process of lacquer swallowing wood, so I don't paint everything.
From the production process, I feel respect for wood, which is a representative of the natural world, and lacquer, which has been used in our lives since ancient times.
I may not be the only one who receives a novel energy and some relief nostalgia in Ukai's work at the same time.   

ArtShop Tsukibae Owner,
Mayumi Miyanaga

Kohei Ukai - Artworks
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