Ai Takaoka / Calligrapher Kyoto

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eauty and insanity.

Duality causes an explosion of expression.

An expression that is at once terrifying and beautiful, wild and pure, calm and fierce. I want to keep making things.

Honing technique while staying true to the basics, respecting tradition even while breaking it with a clearly insane line quality. And again, back to basics.

Beauty and madness. It’s nature, it’s human.

I was born and raised in the Tango region of northern Kyoto Prefecture, a place which is rich in nature, and I currently live in Kyoto City. Kyoto is a city of tradition and culture. A place where the good old-fashioned spirits gather. In particular, the place where I live is said to be the place where the 15th shogun, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, stayed for about five years before returning to power.

Long time ago ,
Someone recommended me to work as a calligrapher based in Tokyo.. If you want to compete as a calligrapher, Tokyo might be the place. However, for me, Tokyo was a “completed town” that felt inorganic. On the other hand, while Kyoto is a city of traditional culture, it is also a place where movements to innovate that tradition can be seen. There is something deep and beautiful about the innovation created by breaking tradition.

In addition, I follow the practice of writing fully based on the model, which is called “Rinsho”. It is extremely traditional without any freedom. However, in order to truly control line quality, it is necessary to have technique so that you can move your hands, arms, and body as you wish.

Learning from the past, tradition and innovation. Polish calligraphy faithfully to the basics and break them. And dive back into tradition. That’s why I chose Kyoto as my base.

Two sides of the same coin, yin and yang. Conflicting duality sometimes causes an explosion. I hope that I can express such great energy in my calligraphy.

What kind of creatures are born?

I have always felt that I am enlivened by being in nature. The sea and mountains are beautiful. However, it sometimes causes natural disasters such as volcanoes and tsunamis. Two sides of the same coin. Beauty and madness indeed.

I strongly feel that human beings are enlivened by being in nature, that they are a part of nature. That’s why I want to create wonderful energy together with nature, not destroy it.

The process is very painful. However, there is joy to be found in something coming into existence. I am convinced that great things will be born precisely because the process is painful. Like a volcano eruption. But I can’t see it yet. It’s perplexing. Eventually, I find what I want to express. It is only a feeling at first. Eventually, it is a line at times and not a line at other times. A character and not a character.

Oh, I want to write.

What form can my expressions take when I become one with nature? What kind of new creatures will be born in the “space” between the sensations I receive from nature and myself?

In that space exists both pain and pleasure, two sides of the same coin.

It’s okay to be contradictory now.

Beauty and madness. Serenity and intensity coexist. That’s human.

A person’s heart is sometimes in danger of erupting like a volcano. But I always want to be like a calm and beautiful flower.

I want not only to be something beautiful, but to express energy from the inside. I want to create something that only I can write.

In order to do so, I must continue to hold opposing and contradictory energies.

In many cases, it may be rational and wise to come up with an answer immediately and eliminate the contradiction. However, in that case, won’t there be things that “are not born”?

It’s okay to be contradictory now. If I can find a new path of my own.

I think that when something is born, pain and joy come together.

Take hold of it with my own hands… It leads to hope, courage, and possibility.

I constantly hope that people can feel their inner energy by expressing the state of their heart, which can be both beautiful and crazy.