Small collection of work from Fujiyoshida. Oil, Gouache, pencil, ink

Saruya Artist Residency, Fujiyoshida, Japan

I spent two of the best months of my life at the Saruya Artist Residency in Fujiyoshida. The days floated by with interesting conversations and a deep sense of presence. I was overwhelmed by the sense of cohesion and harmony everywhere I went in Japan. It appears to be a cultural agreement passed down through generations that a particular way of distributing the density of information is preffered. Whether its sandbags forconstruction or the facade of a building, there is a method and mindfulness to the design of every environment. It gifts a sense of peace and comfort to the people lucky enough to experience it. Even the colours are cohesive. I wondered why there appeared to be color pallette in everything from roof tiles to fences and road lines that was within a specific range and felt harmoneaous. It was hard for me to understand how a country could be so designed without a team of back-end art directors collectively deciding on the design of Japan. Surprisingly I learned that due to the monopoly of each type of construction work; the products in each genre are produced in the colour the company decided, and doesn’t stray. So because the company that makes fences decided on a colour, and does almost all of them, they are consistent -- hence visual influence and consistency is set over large areas. Same for road lines, containers, air conditioners, roof tiles etc. 

Its facinating how a unvavering cultural stubburness can lead to percieved intentional design. Although I got the sense that the locals did not find it pleasing due to the lack of freedom and annoying rigidity; but for a foreigner like me it was an impactful stimuli. 

I spent the days sketching and painting quick work to absorb as much as possible. None of the work is particularly final, but gave me a lot of insight into my own process and my ability to extract what I found inspiring or interesting in my surroundings. I am intrigued by the sense of wellbeing I experienced in Japan, especially in relation to how I experience Denmark. I was able to rest and be present to a larger degree than I am in Copenhagen, and I believe it has a lot to do with the sensory input and lack of a humble cultural agreement that is so present here. The sense of selfrightousness is isolating in the nordic wellfair states, I wonder if it will ever adopt more cooperative tendencies. 

Thank you for a deeply soulful experience, for great friendships and for the highly treasured memories .