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Samiro Yunoki 100 years young !

February 21, 2022

How wonderful to recently discover the work of Samiro Yunoki who turns 100 this year.

Samiro Yunoki started studying art history at Tokyo Imperial University. He is inspired by the “Folk Art Movement” promoted by Muneyoshi Yanagi.

In 1947 Samiro began to work at the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture, a town with rich traditions and a centre of Japanese folk crafts (mingei). While at the museum Yunoki saw a calendar designed by Keisuke Serizawa, a master craftsman in the art of stencil-dyeing (katazome).

The calendar featured bold patterns printed on rich textured handmade paper. This inspired Yunoki to study the mingei traditions being revived under the guidance of Soetsu Yanagi in a group which included the potters Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada.

Yunoki decided to devote himself to the study of katazome and armed himself with a letter of introduction from Yanagi when he traveled to Tokyo to meet Yui in Shizuoka prefecture, not far from Mount Fuji.

In 1949 Yunoki exhibited at the Kokugakai Tenrankai (a society exhibiting Japanese Arts and Crafts), and has continued to do so ever since eventually becoming its President. In 2003 he led the society in presenting the opening exhibition of the Baillie Scott house, Blackwell on the shores of Windermere following its refurbishment. Yunoki was elected President of the Women’s College of Fine Art in Tokyo, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. He has held two exhibitions in Paris in recent years and most recently exhibited at the Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo in May 2013.

His characters have such joy and presence to them.

During his artistic lifespan he has been a painter, illustrator, textile designer, sculptor and all round creative genius.

A couple of his paintings.

His creative activities, which have spanned over 70 years and continue to this day, include works in which he creates bold patterns on cloth using stencil dyeing. He also produces prints, paintings, sculptures, and picture books. In recent years, he has collaborated with the interior design shop Idée and Ace Hotel in Kyoto, attracting attention from multiple generations.

His textile designs will never grow old as they have such vibrancy and movement.

Even his simple shapes gain importance by their grand scale and colour ‘POP’.

His work has been exhibited and loved many times in numerous countries.

There are a couple of older interviews with Samiro here and here. A very Happy 100th Mr Yunoki : )

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Deirdre O'Sullivan from Australia permalink
    February 22, 2022 9:00 am

    What a brilliant colourist he is! He knows instinctively how to make colours spark off each other. He is living proof that doing what you love energises your life force. He deserves a birthday telegram from the Queen – even though he is Japanese!

  2. cyndy patrick permalink
    February 22, 2022 8:03 pm

    wow! i always love your posts, but this one was amazing. thanks!

  3. Victoria Isaac permalink
    February 23, 2022 8:53 am

    Thank you so much for introducing this wonderful artist to me Craig. I have never heard of him before but what delights he has bestowed. Fantastic energy, colour and humour. Thank you again.

  4. February 23, 2022 12:13 pm

    Fantastic – thank you!

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