Table Speech

‘Thieves Art School’

November 17th,2004

Artist and Professor of Plastic Arts at the Meisei University
Mr. Yutaka Sasaki

The person who introduced me is the first purchaser of my work, and I feel indebted to him.

I have been invited to dinner a number of times since then but have never seen my painting hung on the wall.

I can understand the reason as he has 3 daughters, and a painting of a female figure embracing a snake is not the most desirable picture. When I was painting snakes, there was another person who collected my works. He was running a sushi shop, and told me whenever he saw a work of mine, he would say ‘a painter must draw pictures which will ruin the appetite’ followed by ‘a painter must eat good food, so come and enjoy my sushi’. I didn’t quite understand the logic at the time, but now I do. The painter who painted the most works of art which ruins the appetite is Picasso. Picasso said that he would not paint pictures which would serve as curtains. He is a true genius, but he has also cheated.

The Head of the Ohara Art Gallery and a famous art critic, Mr. Hideji Takashima has written a book, ‘Picasso, The Art of Copying’. According to him, all Picasso’s works before cubism were copied.
(Slide Show) This sketch by Picasso which is shown in a middle school third grader, textbook is obviously drawn from a relief by Donatello. The greatness of Picasso lies in the fact that he was able to draw a solid using lines only.
He was also strongly influenced by African carvings and sculptures, and produced works resembling them.

Our artist were also influenced by Picasso. He painted a picture of a crying woman, but our Masuo Ikeda did the same stimulated by Picasso They both married several times. I talked with Ikeda on 3 occasions in his later years, and he kept repeating Picasso, Picasso.

A famous work of Picasso is one in which he copied Manet’s painting of a family having lunch on a lawn. Manet himself copied an etching by Raphael.
A painting of a woman pinching her breasts in the Louvre by an unknown painter has had many copies made. I am fond of a painting by Wunderlich based on this work in the Louvre.

Even graffiti or stains on the wall can provide one with inspiration. I sent questionnaires to my rival artists asking where they obtained their
inspirations from for a magazine article and received frank answers. Artist Akiko Endo was ah high school champion shot putter, and she tells me her model is the work of Bosch, a painter active during the North European Renaissance times. His works show two thousand or more figures in one painting. When she was raising her child she went with her child to a playground where she was engaged all day making sketches of children. It is said her sketch books reached the ceiling, and she continued to do so on the day she gave birth to a baby. She is now illustrating a serial novel in the Asahi newspaper.
I have been inspired by a newspaper photograph in a paper held before me on the subway.

My atrie is scattered with newspaper clippings and postcards on the wall, and when I am lost for a subject they provide me with ideas and inspiration for my next work.