Yuji Hiratsuka: Eugene, Oregon
Born in Osaka in 1954, Yuji Hiratsuka graduated from Tokyo Art Teacher's University in 1978. He received an M.A. from New Mexico State University in 1987 and an M.F.A. from Indiana University in 1990. The artist has spent the last decade in the United States, where he has had more than 40 one-man shows. His work suggests Ukiyo-e, brought up-to-date with Western clothes. Bright colors and whimsical depictions further characterize his distinctive style.
The prints are labor intensive works which start as etchings with drypoint, aquatint and softground printed on thin Kurotani paper. Hiratsuka makes continuous alterations to the plate, adding a series of colors. He then applies delicate hand tints to the back of each print and finishes with "chine colle" in which glue is applied to the Kurotani. The Kurotani is then backed with heavy rag paper, both passing through a press to bond the papers together. In effect, each print is an artist's proof or monoprint because of the continuous plate alterations and hand finishing. Editions are small: never more than 50 in number.Yuji Hiratsuka work is represented in numerous collections including: Tokyo Central Museum, New York Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, The British Museum and the Achenback Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco.
Yuji Hiratsuka images
prints at japanese printart
The artist uses a special printmaking technique, a mixed media combination of Chine Collé with etching. Again, Yuji Hiratsuka himself gives a perfect description of this time-consuming printing process that requires a lot of skill and experience.
"My personal technique using Chine Collé with traditional and innovative etching is the following: With continuous alterations to a copper plate I print a sequence of black, yellow, red and blue, passing the same plate through the press for each design and color change. To start with; the first tones to the plate are given with line etching, drypoint, aquatint, softground, photocopy transfer or roulette. I pull my first color. With these first impressions, I work back into the plate with a scraper, burnisher and emery paper to enhance the lights and accent the motif. I then go on to the second, third and fourth colors. Finally, the print is completed from the back with a relief process of woodcut or linocut to intensify shapes and/or colors. I print on the paper which best suits my work; this is a thin Japanese paper known as Toyama Kozo (Japanese Mulberry). As in the French use of Chine Collé I apply glue to the back of the Kozo print and pass it through the press, with a heavier rag paper (BFK Rives or Somerset, etc.) beneath. What the viewer sees; is my four color intaglio print saturated with subtle tones that come through the back of a Toyama Kozo paper which is set deep into a rag paper."artlino article
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