September Featured Artist – Noriko Hirayama

My history with art started with Japanese calligraphy when I was twelve years old .  Japanese children in my generation commonly saw a private calligrapher teacher once a week. It was thrilling to concentrate my mind to create kanji with black ink on the white paper, some time very strong and some time gentle lines with curves, or straight horizontal and vertical lines.  The experience was a integrated movement of mind and body to create beautifully balanced letters, an exact moment of meditation.

I experienced the same stillness of mind with my training for Japanese tea ceremony rituals and Japanese flower arrangement classes. I began to learn that I could achieve an inner peace and calm through my simple responses to the simplicity of the natural world.

After my university studies I turned to using the other elements of nature, leaves, as a basis for creative expression. Preserved tree leaves became the medium for sculpture making.  Along with raising my daughter as a single mom and teaching color design theory at an interior design school, I showed my leaf sculptures from time to time in Kobe and Osaka galleries and cafes.

As my daughter grew up and I gained more free time, my interests and curiosity  broadened. I traveled extensively seeking new experiences in the food, dress, dance, and craft of colorful ethnic cultures  and natural scenery. Upon my first visit to the Pacific Northwest, I was so affected with its unique combination of scale and beauty that I immediately decided to live in Portland.

After my move to Portland, I was surprised to learn that leaf sculpture in the United States is only treated as a craft rather than an expressive art form. In response, I turned my energy away from leaf sculpture and toward exploring my interests in the culinary arts with an emphasis on coordinating color for meal presentation. My journey included several trips  to Thailand for master cooking classes and establishing a Japanese and Thai cooking school, Miso Magic, in 2004.

While taking a break from teaching cooking school, and attending an introductory painting class at Portland Community College, I had an epiphany that landscape painting could be a medium where i could reconnect with my youth experiences of a meditative state while engaged in the simplicity of the earth’s natural elements. Now painting on a regular basis for three years, it brings me great joy to be able to share my inner momentary states while camping, hiking, or trail running in the western United States.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply