Kazuaki Tanahashi

In the Oriental calligraphic tradition, you are not supposed to touch up or white out a trace of your brush. Every brush stroke must be decisive; there is no going back. It’s just like life. (Kazuaki Tanahashi: Brush Mind)

Kazuaki Tanahashi was born in 1933 in Japan. His whole life as an artist he was moving between eastern and western culture. Already during his studies of traditional chinese and japanese calligraphy since 1956 he was taking privat lessons in oilpainting, too. His own work early went in a direction that got him close to painters like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline.
Since 1964/65 his paintings were exhibited in North America, and it is obviously not pure coincidence that he is living in California since1977. In the country of one-syllable-men the beautiful name Kazuaki changed into Kaz, and Kaz became a never resting fighter for peace and respect to the being and the variety of the world, while still going on the way of Zen.

In the asian tradition calligraphy and painting are close together. Both of them are part and expression of the continous process of universal creation to which the artist contributes. This is why painting always touches something substantial, though it may be done without any concept in a totally relaxed way. But unfortunately there is no perfection in this world. Or you see it that way that every line, every circle is complete, unique and unrepeatable.

There is no choice: the artist always has to carry on, always has to take the paintbrush to a new sheet of paper. The theory of all asian arts concentrates on the way and matter how to proceed – the posture of paintbrush, the wrist’s agility, the swing out of the shoulder or out of the hip (Kaz sometimes works with giant paintbrushes!). Only the techniques may be discussed precisely. What they are for, is just beyond talking. According to this, the typical asian form of alienation consists in the ceremonial refinement developped during centuries, and finally able to suffocate any expression of real life. Less work, less care would say our calligraphy master: Less judgement, less trying, less improvement, less regret. And speaking from the heart of his western readers and students with the affirmation of the scandal of creativity and the search for a meaning: Insightful monks may say enlightenment can be experienced right now. Enlightened artist may say masterpieces are right here. Why are these things usually just a few inches away from me ?

The Circles

The way, the process of spiritual practice, may be regarded as a winding path with ups and downs, it’s final point somewhere far beyond. It could also be seen as a continuous emerging of one ring after another. Each ring is the wholeness of the moment, including the entire meaning. A brush circle drawn by a Zen master may express this understanding. Each circle is different. Each circle is complete. (Kazuaki Tanahashi: Brush Mind)

Kaz’ Zen circles are traditional meditation images, drawn in only one stroke. The application of the colour becomes thinner to the end of the stroke, the movement does not close the circle completely, and by the turning of the paintbrush comes outside what had been within, and vice versa. It may be seen as expression and result of a search for harmony, always renewed.
The two circles are done in complementary colours, contradicting and completing one the other.

finis artis offers the worldwide first print series of Kaz’ circles, numbered and signed by the artist – against his habit ! -, in digital fine art printing on genuine mouldmade watercolor paper 100% out of cotton.

Please note that there are only a few sheets numbered and signed by Kaz left. Still there is only one green circle, and the large sheets with the two circles. The rest of the series will be numbered by us, without signature.

© finis artis
Authorized printing only

(Photo: Lona Rothe-Jokisch)

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