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Hokusai - Inspiration and Influence (First Visit)

Audio Guide:

Explore Art at SAM - Tour - Hokusai: Audio Guide @ Seattle Art Museum

Music Playlist, inspired by Hokusai:

SAM Soundtracks: Hokusai - Listen on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music - Linktree

First Visit feeling:

  • Hokusai introduced landscape painting to Ukiyo-e
  • There is a piece of “akward” painting at the early year of Hokusai before his tech reached the peak. It’s amazing the curator chooses this piece, which is seldomly seen. It makes me feel Hokusai is a human-being not a god, which is great.
  • A good teacher. The albums created by Hokusai contain a ton of his tech. There is another drawing that was hard to tell whether it’s drawn by Hokusai or his student — Hokusai shared all he had.
  • Diligent. Hokusai wished 5 more years to live to reach god-level of drawing. Fuyu-36 scenes were drawn in his 70’s. The amount of works is impressive.
  • Ukiyo-e masters are all textile experts. Each female painting contains >7 types of textile.
  • He is a minimalist. The “faces” in his drawing is dramatically different with other artists at the same time. Other artists uses multiple lines and varied-weight lines to finish one face. But Hokusai did the opposite. E.g. a woman’s face is just an elliptical line in the exact correct shape, no extra lines, making figure in the diagrams looking natural, clean, calm, and with affinity.
  • He dares to innovate, hugely.
    • Adopt newest techniques: perspective techniques in painting. He has multiple paintings that have perfect perspective in complex architecture and figures composition.
    • Innovate with new approach: He uses particles to represent water droplets at the end of waterfall. When comparing with other Ukiyo-e artists at the time, no one did this.
    • Combination of new techniques: In a flower drawing, he combines 3 dramaticly different types of techniques and the art piece is stunning beautiful.
  • The tip why Hokusai’s drawing looks cleaner and shapper than others: he prefers equal-weight, smooth, long, and continuous lines to fill in color instead of using “boneless” drawing techniques. → this made me really curious to read the other book “Mad about painting”
  • I don’t like how Yoshitomo Nara mimics Hokusai, though it’s cute, as always. There was a painting by Nara put right at the door of exhibition hall. I understand why it’s placed at such an important place, as Nara is famous. But she is way over-praised in my opinion.
  • I love the form of how MFA designs the booklet: they discard the booklet, transforming all research they’ve done into a catalog. Hope all special exhibition can do this, to give people a chance to catch up even after/missed the exhibition.
  • Comparing with “The Great Wave”, I love “Falls - The Yoro” more.
  • Saw the real Hokusai Sketchbooks!!! I’ve read the e-book version of it. Amazing to see the physical book.
  • Hokusai’s ghost drawing is truly scary …. I didn’t know Katsukawa Shun’ei or Katsukawa Shunshō before. but the monsters in their sketchbooks are so cute, haha.
  • Artists are inspired by Hokusai. The modern arts are apparently more colorful, but are they more interesting?
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