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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Kay Yoshiya

Kay Yoshiya

Brief explanation about my works:
Clown & masked face:
White powdered faces, warped chins, twisted red nose, cheek swelled like a
balloon, unnaturally upward-slanted lips……; on their faces you will see a faint
chuckle. They should not have any inherent expression or show any emotion;
their faces should not be realistic, nor look like somebody who is alive and
should not look like a grievous or joyful someone. They are no living existence
that has a proper noun, would always remain anonymous and would possess
stereotype personality.
I prefer to image my main figure as a clown or masked person to express the
personality in which emotions are extremely restrained. A mask, showing always
the same countenance, implies a stereotype personality, although my feeling as
creating fine-artist is always entangled with many contradictions such as
“personality of impersonality”, “nationalism of statelessness”, “rationality of
irrationality” etc., and mask or clown I draw is a kind of symbolization of these
The stereotype main figure in my painting will throw various questions to the
viewers of my works. Depending on a mental situation of a viewer, it could be a
cheerful question or, at another occasion, it could be sad and serious one. That
is obviously no physical communication like between people to each other, but I
feel that, whenever you would stand in front of a painting, there occurs an
invisible communication between the viewer and main figure in a painting,
although nobody can expect to get an answer in a physical sense from
impersonal, non-expressive clown or masked person in my painting.
I never use living models. Those whom I paint on the canvas are living inside me
already for a long time, talking to me, smiling to me, provoking or consoling me.
They are often me myself, or somebody whom I once met in my real life, or who
are created in my fantasy. They are not particular “somebody” with name, but
just “someone”. They should not be painted realistic and are, therefore, to be
deformed. Sometimes my clowns look gently into my inside, sometimes sadly or severely. The whitely powdered faces hide the real face of them, and show just
stony countenance or stereotype image without emotions. To express this
vacant countenance, reality of unreality, existence of non-existence, I scratch or
do a special treatment of the surface of canvas. Through the creased surface of
canvas, the neutral, emotionless face of clown or masked personage would
emerge as reflection of my reality.
As I said above, my models are living inside me for a long time. Many of these
models I met during my life in the paintings of old masters or nameless painters
who lived in Europe several hundred years ago. They used to live inside me as
the most intimate models since I, as small child, decided to become a fine artist.
Through years of my life they often appeared on my canvas in a different image
than what they originally were. These models who were once created in early
days of the Western art history are still living inside me and synchronize
themselves with my idea of the “countenance of non-existence”, “eternal
stereotype” and “realism beyond reality”.
Clowns and masked personages I like to express in my works are not really
favored subject nowadays anymore. But because of their neutral stereotype
facial expressions, they are, to me, very important existence that is often
resurrected in my paintings.

Icons & Altar Paintings:
Already long time has passed since I discovered the charm of icons as well as
altar paintings and started to adopt conceptual idea of both styles to my works. I
was and am still attracted by their static but very symbolic image-expression.
Both icons and altar paintings have also a special property, namely they set up,
by viewing, a non-verbal communication between them and the viewers. Their
unique expressive styles and original function as object of worship and pray
match very well to my artistic feelings that should be expressed on canvas of my
In Greece, Balkan-Peninsula, Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia, that were the
territory of the East Roman Empire, icons were and are very popular art form as
object of pray. Icon paintings were originated in the Greek and Russian
Orthodox churches and were cultivated as the Byzantine art in a growing
influence of the Orthodox Catholicism, retaining its original form until today.
Considering its originality, icon paintings might be said as the still existing origin
of European arts.
These icon paintings gave a fertile influence to the early altar paintings and also
to early Italian paintings created during the pre-Renaissance period. This art
form did not come to bloom in Northern Europe, at least not so much in the
Netherlands, but this gave nevertheless a lot of invisible influence to altar
paintingsin Northern areas as well and contributed to the birth of WestEuropean art in later period.
In Catholic churches with pompous dignity there are many altar paintings and
sacred images preserved in stately Gothic ornaments. By watching pious people
in churches, kneeling in front of these art works, praying and making the sign of
cross on their chest, you would really feel the old religion is still vividly there.
They are praying not to valuable altar painting as art piece, but worshipping the
main subject, Christ or his followers and holy biblical scenes, painted in an
aesthetic way.
When these paintings were made in early days, no signature was put on painting
or sculpture. Most of them were made by anonymous craftsmen who made their
works by order of their master-patrons or to express their own piousness and to
devote themselves to Christ and sacred subjects without being conscious of art
as an ultimate objective. In these days there was no clear self-consciousness of
being artist as profession. But these religious paintings, made by anonymous
painters, are, as already said above, the origin of European art paintings, and
without them, icons and altar pieces, further development of European art was
unthinkable. Whenever I stand in front of altar paintings and icons, I hear the
breath of ancient painters hidden behind these works and also of many people
who prayed towards them.
Going back to the origin, rediscovering simple mind and beauty in early days and
creating an original style and new sort of beauty that were never ever created by
anybody in the art history; these are my key words during creation of my works.
≪Kay Yoshiya≫

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