Tom Killion & Journey to Hokusai screening Dec 5, 7pm
Please join us for a screening of the film Journey to Hokusai with filmmaker Chikara and woodcut print artist Tom Killion, featured in the PROCESS episode. Chikara and Killion will discuss working together on this project and prints by Killion will be available at Freehand.
Doors open 6:30pm, screening at 7pm
Please RSVP: [email protected]
Journey to Hokusai is a feature-length documentary that intimately follows an artist’s creative process and discovery of the origins of his art. Tom Killion, a woodblock print artist, identifies the 19th century Japanese artist Hokusai as his inspirational master. When Tom makes his California landscape prints, his most important artistic references are Hokusai’s landscape prints. Tom sketches a real landscape just like Hokusai did 200 years ago. He carves woodblocks using Japanese hand tools. But when it comes to printing, Tom uses a German printing press and oil-based ink unlike the traditional method of printing by hand with watercolor ink.
The film follows Killion’s painstaking creative process and his pilgrimage to Japan to study under Kenji Takenaka, a fifth-generation master printer in Kyoto. As he learns new techniques and trades in his oil-based ink for traditional watercolor, Killion discovers more and more about the history of printmaking. His odyssey takes him to a papermaker that is still in business after 1500 years and to the quiet village of Obuse, where Hokusai spent his final years. “Journey to Hokusai” is an intimate exploration of the connection between two artists from different worlds.
About Tom Killion (tomkillion.com): Tom was born and raised in Mill Valley, California, on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais. The rugged scenery of Marin County and Northern California inspired him from an early age to create landscape prints using linoleum and wood, strongly influenced by the traditional Japanese Ukiyo-ë style of Hokusai and Hiroshige. He studied History at UC Santa Cruz, where he was introduced to fine book printing by William Everson and Jack Stauffacher. In 1975, he produced his first illustrated book on UCSC’s Cowell Press.
In 1977 Tom founded his Quail Press in Santa Cruz, where he published a number of hand made illustrated books including his large folio volume on “The Coast of California” (1979) and a travel book that incorporated his years of work in Africa: “Walls: A Journey Across Three Continents” (1990). In 2000, Tom published a large-format book, “The High Sierra of California” in collaboration with Pulitzer prize-winning poet Gary Snyder. The two collaborated on two more books published by Heyday Press: “Tamalpais Walking” (2009) and their award-winning “California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints and History” (2015).
Tom is also a scholar in African history with a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
About Kenji Takenaka (takezasado.com): Kenji is a fifth generation woodblock printing master in Kyoto, Japan. He studied under his father, Seihachi, a fourth generation master printer at Takenaka Mokuhan which was established in 1891. Takenaka Mokuhan is a long-established and masterful woodblock printing business in Kyoto. They have inherited their techniques with a history of 1,200 years in Kyoto, and have evolved into their current company called Takezasado. Since 1891, Takenaka Mokuhan had been passing on their traditional printing techniques for over 100 years — from master to master. The fifth master, Kenji Takenaka, established Takezasado with the purpose of “inheriting these ancient printing techniques to pass them to the future generations, and not only by preserving those techniques, but also by thinking about how they can evolve.” He creates new works by applying his masterful techniques, and continues to search for new possibilities in contemporary woodblock printing. The original design and colors of Takezasado have been recognized as modern art, and have been widely acclaimed.
About the Filmmaker, Chikara Motomura (chikaramotomura.com): A Japanese native, Chikara has spent nearly 35 years in New York, Hawaii, and in the San Francisco Bay area as a freelance Director, Cinematographer, and Editor for various Japanese television networks, including NHK, Japan’s public television. Chikara also was a principal collaborator on 14 independent films with Rob Nilsson, a Berkeley-based Sundance/Cannes award-winning filmmaker.
Since 2011, Chikara has partnered with Paul Zehrer for PotentialSF — working as Co-Producer, Cinematographer, and Co-Editor on numerous award-winning films including “Why Waldorf?”, “Preparing for Life”, and “Being Seen”. Recently Chikara was a Co-Cinematographer for “The Test and The Art of Thinking,” a documentary feature about the SAT exam.