Using brushes and ink, the typical Japanese tools of calligraphy, OHGUSHI creates delicate watercolour-like illustrations. That didn’t take long to attract the attention of numerous magazines including Vogue Nippon, Numero Tokyo and Elle Japon, and fashion brands such as Emilio Pucci, renowned for its vivid print patterns. Today, PingMag would like to introduce a bit of the beautiful and sensual tenderness in OHGUSHI’s work…
Written by Chiemi
Trasnlated by Natsumi Yamane
How did you start painting with calligraphy brushes and ink?
When I was 21 years old, I returned to my parents’ house after experiencing a setback in painting and discovered a calligraphy set in the closet – and drew an ink and wash picture of a woman. It felt like the most fun thing I had ever done, and I could feel that it was an intriguingly deep world. So I hoped, albeit only slightly, that even I might be able to get somewhere with it.
What is the attraction of ink for you?
Ink has special characteristics, as it quickly spreads on paper, and so there are special techniques. However, I am more attracted to the fact that it is a medium with a special sense of tension: I have to work quickly and precisely.
Opulent red dress, January 2006.
Another striking dress pattern, July 2007.
Why do you constantly use women as your motif?
I often find myself absentmindedly drawing women’s profiles even when I’m talking on the phone, so I suppose I just love to draw women! It is almost as if that is the very reason I draw. I also draw flowers.
Illustration for Japanese cosmetic company Kanebo, featuring magnificent flowers in full bloom, February 2007.
More tender flowers for a series for Ex:beaute, January 2005.
Which of your works do you like most?
My recent ink and wash paintings, I think. I managed to draw them with a positive sense of tension so I’m quite satisfied with the outcome. Whether I’m pleased or not usually depends on how big the thrills and tensions were while drawing.
In your collaboration with Emilio Pucci, you had models wearing Pucci creations posing for you. What is important when working with them?
I look at the model’s contour and find the line that has the biggest number of subsidiary lines and move my brushes around that main line. The use and the number of brushstrokes become all the more important to make the flow from the contour look beautiful.
Ogushi painting models at a Emilio Pucci party.
And more of the live painting session…
Again, why do women and flowers fascinate you so much you keep drawing them?
That can’t be explained reasonably: It makes me want to pick up my brushes when my heart twinges for an allurement. I’m constantly thinking about how to better express the essence of that twinge of heart.
…elegant at the same time!
What was a big influence to you?
The first influence I had was illustrator Miyuki Morimoto. When I was 23 years old, I sent her a book of my printed works and she kindly wrote back to me. I met her several times since then and learnt many things from her feminine style. I really have to give her credit for making me the person I am today.
However, right now, I’m more inclined to reflect on myself and immerse in my own sensibilities.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say that it’s a style that expresses that twinge of heart, as I mentioned earlier. Many of my works focus on a single feature – like the face or the lips – but when a beautiful countenance gives me that twinge, everything else, including the surroundings and the details of the hair doesn’t register in my mind. I only draw parts and features, because I want to express that attraction, that moment of the twinge of heart in a more essential way, and I think I can better convey it without dilution that way.
Drawn legs, from December 2006.
Another stylised countenance, March 2005.
Finally, what are your plans and would be a challenge for you?
This month, three types of a schedule book called “ART-MIX” will go on sale at Mark’s Inc. and my works will hopefully appear on the covers and inside, which will all be in full colour. It’s going to be quite a substantial collection. Apart from that, I will be collaborating with ANTEPRIMA between October 31st and November 4th at their Aoyama shop, and there I am going to do a live painting session on November 3rd as well.
As for challenges, I would like to do a large scale exhibition and the publication of a collection of my works.
OHGUSHI, thank you very much for showing us your wonderful ink works today!