November 2002: Good news for Paul Binnie fans. The artist is back with Japanese woodblock prints. Paul Binnie has just published the first design of an ambitious series of 100 views of famous places in Japan.
We have known Paul Binnie since 2001 and appreciate him both as a professional artist and a nice person without any airs and graces. In my personal view he has an extraordinary talent - a combination of artistic expression and technical mastership.
The following text in apostrophes was taken from Paul Binnie's announcement of his new print Aka Fuji.
Several years after the release of Aka Fuji and the publication of this web page, a video with Paul Binnie was published by Japanese Society of New York. Thanks for sharing this with us.
"I am delighted that my new woodblock print, 'Aka Fuji' or 'Red Fuji', is nearing completion, and will be released during November 2002. This print, whose title is 'Kawaguchiko no Fujisan. Aka Fuji', is very much in the Shin Hanga style of the landscape artists of the inter-war years, such as Yoshida and Hasui, whose work I admire enormously. I have taken inspiration from the c.1830-32 Hokusai print, 'South Wind, Clear Dawn', (popularily known as Aka Fuji), one of his famous '36 Views of Mount Fuji', but have interpreted the idea in a purely contemporary, realist way, rather like my earlier landscape woodblocks. "
"However this print is much more technically demanding than most of my previous landscapes, and uses twenty-two colours, as well as mica and embossing (blind-printing or gauffrage) to create a sense of the atmosphere of the first rays of the morning sun stiking the mountain-side."
"The edition will be of 100 examples, as is usual with my Dai-Oban-size woodblocks (42 x 29cm, 16 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches), and is printed on 100% mulberry washi from Iwate Prefecture in Japan."
"I have attached an illustration of the print to give you a general idea of how it looks, but please bear in mind that the actual colours of the print are richer and deeper than this image, while the mica and embossing do not show up in a photo as clearly as they do in reality."
"The print of Red Fuji will be available commercially for the usual price of $425, but for a limited period only I shall offer this print to collectors and friends for the lower price of $365, until the end of 2002.
"In addition to this low price, I shall offer a free surimono-style koban print of Mount Fuji, printed in tones of pink and blue, for the first 50 orders I receive before the end of December. This print will not be available commercially, and is therefore destined to be rare. "
"I hope you will enjoy the woodblock of Red Fuji as much as I have in the planning, designing, carving and printing stages of the work, and I'd be happy to hear feedback from anyone about this new print."
Paul Binnie was born in Alloa, Scotland in 1967 and studied fine art at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with an M.A. (Hons) in 1990. He lived in Paris from 1990 to early 1993, working both as a professional artist and as a teacher of art at the Ecole du Louvre and the Atelier Hourde.
His growing interest in Japanese woodblock prints led him to travel to Tokyo in 1993, where he lived for over five and a half years learning the business of woodblock design, cutting and printing.
Most of his woodblocks of this period are of Kabuki, which became one of his great passions, and he also embarked on a series of paintings in oil of the Noh Theater - Binnie lived in Sendagaya in Tokyo, a few streets from the National Noh Theater.
Author: Dieter Wanczura