netsuke and sagemono lounge : Disclaimer - Please click anywhere on this bar to expand/contract the content.

Becoming a Contemporary Netsuke-Shi

A forum for INS sponsor Artists to showcase and discuss their work.
User avatar
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:05 pm
Location: Germany

Becoming a Contemporary Netsuke-Shi

Postby omtra » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:54 pm

Dear everybody,

my Name is Artur. I am 32 years old and very interested in netsuke and everything surrounding it.

An endless chaining of coincidences have led me thru all kinds of art forms.
In the long run an overall appreciation of the Japanese culture made it possible for me to find out about netsuke.
I always loved little objects with nice textures. 
Netsuke for me combines a lot of things I love.
For example it is somehow modest but yet beyond measures. It is small and can appear sometimes harmless but showes the opposite when viewed with attention.
With it's "limitations" referring to it's size and functionality it seems to be limited but this is a false conclusion, instead it offers the possibility for every observer to gain an easy access to the originality, authenticity and the very own perspective / view of the artist.
Also I love the fact that every work is an allover that can be viewed from all perspectives and still has a "best side".
I treat netsuke like a talisman (or and maybe a good luck charm). I want my works to be "correct" ( meaning: carved in the broadest sense) also somehow in the tradition of the Japanese including its traditional function and the right placement of the himotoshi.
I also love the idea that theoretically my netsuke could have been carved hundreds of years ago. I am experementing with all kind of different materials , but at the moment tending to wood without any inlays. Maybe or probably due to my insufficient skills.
I dont use any kind of power tools. Not saying that it makes a difference I am very open to every way there is to produce a good netsuke. 
Just a personal preference I think. 
I have works which are taken from traditional subjects in netsuke carving. Seeing what other artists did and reinventing it from a different angle with my own intentions.This way I had the opportunity to get a feeling of what i want to do.
And what my contrebution to the netsuke world could be (maybe).
I want my netsuke to be individual and personal yet accessible for the viewer.
My subjects are mainly life as such emotions, nature ect.
The work in ebony for example symbolises a liquefied skull which refers to the possibility of fear and death to take on any form needed. Also the drops are forming many abstract faces when viewed from different angles.   
I absolutly love antique Netsuke, I will not start naming cause it can easily get out of hand.
Sadly the only Netsuke I own are those I have made ( which is not sad at all ). But I am looking forward to some day in the future where this might change.
My main interest is in contemporary netsuke.
I admire almost any Contemporary Artist known to me.
Of course there are favourites.
I have a collection of netsuke books 28 over all  including 6 of Mr. Bushells books and round about 5 auction catalogs.
Sadly Michael Birch's and alot of other books are missing.
I hope to change this in the future. 
I have no contact to a collector in Germany also I couldn't find a dealer for contemporary netsuke and to make it complete no active carver either:(
I have contacted a few Carver abroad to maybe learn a bit more about carving techniques or just visiting.
The answers were very kind but showed me that I am maybe a bit to enthusiastic about becoming a netsuke-shi.
I will do my best for the future. 
Since last year I am a member of the carving path which was a great motivation and source of knowledge.
But I failed to share my own experience, this will also change in time (I hope) I also joined the INS not so long ago and enjoying the digitalized INS journal.
I attached a view Pictures of some of my works to compensate for my grammar.
New works will follow soon.

I wish us health and a bright future. :D

24_BumiLo, 4,9 x 3 x 2,5 cm, Elchgeweih .jpg
24_Fearful, 4 x 3 x 3 cm, Ebenholz.jpg
24_Hasi, 4,7 x 3 x 2,1 cm, White Wood .jpg
24_Sinnboy,4 x 3,5 x 3,5 cm, Kirschbaum.jpg
24_The Demon of Rashomon, 3,5 x 3,7 x 2,6 cm, Buchsbaum.jpg

User avatar
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:44 am
Location: Belgium

Re: Becoming a Contemporary Netsuke-Shi

Postby Oishii » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:30 pm

Hi Artur,

welcome to the Lounge !
and thank you for your post introducing yourself and your intentions together with some of your works ...
Viewing your netsuke for the first time we would say they are quite "plastic" in form, expressive and bold.

we saw that you joined the new Lounge right from its starting day ... and today being your first post may mean that you have been reading on the forum quite a bit ?

The initiatives that you have taken seem really in the right direction : contacting carvers, reaching out to the community, joining the INS, reading books, etc...

The Carving Path may certainly be a great help for the technical aspect and the materials.
Some of the top carvers have been contributing on the Lounge as well and their input is greatly appreciated here.
You write that the carvers you contacted probably may have considered your attitude a bit "enthusiastic". Do not worry and do not hesitate to reach out to them : most are really nice, open and helpful, especially to fellow-carvers.
For example one of our member-artists recently sent a package with all sorts of materials for a beginning carver to experiment with, all for free.

You mention that you live in Germany ? You might be in the right spot there ...
Next year we will have an INS Convention in Cologne and it will be a major event that has a lot to offer.
Furthermore, we have a couple of collectors in Germany with an excellent, amazing collection.
There are a few who contribute their valuable knowledge and opinion here. They might also be open to meet and show you some of their pieces.
Last but not least, there are auction houses in your region like Van-Ham and Lempertz who regularly have important sales.
A lot of opportunities to learn in this field ... and from what you write, you seem eager to learn...
We have Euronetsuke as well, the European branch of the INS, who organises netsuke-related events, such as visits to museums etc ...

How good that you have joined the INS. We will contact our Administrator Martyn Jones so that he can update your status to an INS-member : that way you will be able to visit the whole Lounge, included the INS-Member area and the Preserved Historical Forum.

We wish you all the best on your adventures in netsuke-land !

PS. The series of 6 pictures are nice in the way they show every side. But would you be able to add one close-up, to have a good look ?

User avatar
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:14 am
Location: Central California coast, USA

Re: Becoming a Contemporary Netsuke-Shi

Postby AFNetsuke » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:14 pm

Artur, from what you write it is clear that you have an understanding of netsuke. I don't personally collect contemporary netsuke but certainly can appreciate them. I wish you the best and welcome you to the INS and our Lounge where we all share our enthusiasm for this art form.

User avatar
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:05 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Becoming a Contemporary Netsuke-Shi

Postby omtra » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:08 pm

Hallo Jan,

Your assumption that I have been reading on the forum quite a bit is correct.
Unfortunately my Computer is very old and messed up and writing text on my small tablet is almost impossible.
Thats why it took me this long.

The Carving Path is a very nice place and offered a lot of Information and helpful advice. But when you starting at zero there can`t be enough information. I still have uncountable questions which I always felt can be answered better by observing another carver. And with all books in my shelf and all the museum visits I still feel somehow insecure regarding to the validity of my work.
Thats why I always wanted to watch somebody work.
But as an artist I also understand the intimacy of the Studio and time at work. And having a stranger sitting beside gazing at you makes me easily accept a refusal.
I am still at the very beginning with just two years carving experience plus when other have succeed in conquering the difficulties of Netsuke carving on there own, then I am very confident that I can make it too (with all the help I can get).
I also will try to contribute some of my very own achievements but feel uncomfortable since I don`t want to “teach“ something wrong.
Thats the reason my contributions most likely will just be picture`s of my work.

I am looking forward for the INS Convention in Cologne.
Lucky me, joined at the right time (almost / so much great conventions passed and at that time I didn`t even know of the existence of netsuke ).
Sadly I wasn`t able the take part at the London convention. I would have loved to see some of Kokusai`s works at Sydney L. Moss Ltd. and take a look at the catalogue.
I am looking forward to be able to visit the whole Lounge, included the INS-Member area and the Preserved Historical Forum.

Thank you for your welcome Jan, and of course also a thank you to Alan for his welcome.


Return to “Artists Showcase”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest