November 29 1949 - present
Photograph of Kazuko Watanabe, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Books and manuscripts, Drawings and prints, Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film)
Book Artist, Ceramicist, Computer Artist, Etcher, Multimedia Artist, Printmaker
When one has drawn on the plate, the ultimate image remains invisible, its ultimate nature still a matter of mere imagination. The true image can’t be seen until the press has printed it from the plate, and the result even then may still be a work in progress. This is the aspect of printmaking that most fascinates me. Unlike the painter on canvas, the printmaker endures a long period of pre-surmise at every stop of the process.
My childhood observation of my family’s ceramic business greatly influenced my creative process and my choice of art as a profession. I had to concentrate hard to imagine color emerging from the muddy white, black, and brown paints applied in the china plate that only later turned into beautiful pink, green, and gold when baked and removed from the kiln. Eventually I realized this contemplative and imaginative practice of ceramic making was one of the most exciting moments of my artistic development. I think this excitement drew me to print media, though I studied painting and sculpture academically.
Working with the book arts, or book sculptures using paper and intaglio techniques and image manipulations by computer, has led me to explore another sense of timeless reality and different elements of memory. The structural process of book-making is like entering inside a book as big as life, starting to hear the silent voice of distant places and times. I often feel myself standing at the intersection of two histories, my past crossing into my future, and one image overlapping another.
Statement courtesy of Kazuko Watanabe
Fort Mason Printmakers, San Francisco, CA, USA (1981-1985)
San Francisco Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA, USA (1970-1974)
Art Commission Purchase Award, Alameda County Art Commission, Alameda County, CA, USA (2000)
Library Fellows Award, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (1999)
Jerome Foundation Fellowship Award, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA (1986)
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Book as Art XI