If there’s an artist who literally does back-breaking work on his art, it’s Manabu Ikeda. Take his work on tsunami disaster. It shows a tree resisting all the carnage around it brought about by the Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed it. He aptly named it ‘Rebirth’. He spent 3.5 years creating it, working 10 hours a day, six days a week. This mammoth artwork measures 13 feet by 10 feet.
On average, Ikeda takes around a year to create his gigantic pen-and-ink art. He explains why his artwork is so detailed to the Chazen Museum of Art, thus:
“My goal is to faithfully express my view of the world in my composition. But I don’t intentionally depict detailed images, because I see details when I observe things, rather than the whole….”
Ikeda is inspired by what he sees around him, especially nature, and what he has encountered on trips. He also draws inspiration from his childhood experiences. For example, his artwork ‘Buddha’ featuring a huge Buddha statue is inspired by the historic ruins of Thailand that he happened to visit. Incidentally, this was the first time he used colored inks and went in for artificial objects as his main motif. Then again, his experience in rock climbing inspired him to depict castles and walls of various shapes in many of his works, such as his work titled ‘Kobo-shi’ or ‘History of Rising and Fall’.
Ikeda was born in Saga, Japan. From his childhood, he was interested in art. So, it wasn’t surprising that he enrolled in the Department of Design at Tokyo University of the Arts and graduated with a master’s degree. Later, he was sent by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to Vancouver, Canada, as a research artist. Currently, he’s a resident artist at Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Ikeda finds a pen and ink to be his best tool to express his art. And if the viewers are observant enough, they can find his signature hiding in all his drawings. He’s a recipient of the 25th Takashimaya Art Award and has a sizeable following on the internet.