Born and raised in Japan, Yukari completed a course in advertising design at an art college after high school, then attended university and graduated with an art curator license. After graduating, she worked at a design studio, and later at an advertising and publishing company as a graphic designer, where she created many graphic and editorial designs. She later became the art director, then started to write copy and eventually she was writing full articles for the publisher. Yukari moved to Nova Scotia in January 2008 and lives with her husband and 4 cats in the St. Margaret’s Bay area.
My first experience with Japanese calligraphy was as an elementary school student when I took calligraphy lessons on the weekends. My interest increased when my mother became a professional calligrapher and started to teach calligraphy. She gave me many lessons and I was really fortunate to have a chance to see a variety of art work from many professional calligraphers. This constant exposure to the works of different master calligraphers has helped shape my own style into a very flexible one.
In my artwork, I use my experience as a designer to bring balance within the frame. At the same time, I play with the shape and form of the characters, as well as the empty spaces between them. I also have fun with color, shading and arrangement of characters to add interesting twists in the resulting piece. I use not only traditional calligraphy paper, but also experiment with other types of paper and unique materials such as rocks, driftwood, fabrics, etc.
Themes of my calligraphy come from a variety of sources, including ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry, haiku, musical lyrics, and even simply the words and characters (kanji, hiragana) themselves. When selecting a theme for a short piece (a word or phrase only), I draw inspiration from the charactersʼ shape, structure, pronunciation (yomi) and meaning. Then I try to stretch my imagination to consider various aspects of the characters before attempting to put my calligraphy on paper. For lyrics and poetry, I look for interesting tones (e.g. onomatopoeia, repetition, alliteration, wordplay, rhymes etc.) and the images that they bring to mind. Sometimes I find it hard to translate my theme into English and some of my work might be difficult to understand if you are not familiar with the Japanese language and syllabary. So when I explain my theme, I note my source of inspiration and the scenery I imagine when I draw.
I hope the people of Halifax will appreciate the beauty of traditional Japanese calligraphy. At the same time, I would also like to introduce this modern and original style of Japanese calligraphy through new and unique expressions.