FUMIO SHIOZAWA: BUDDHIST ART, REIMAGINED

AN ARTIST TRACES HIS CREATIVE PATH, FROM CHILDHOOD, OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES TO THE MAKING OF FAR-OUT CONTEMPORARY ART



Fumio Shiozawa is a Japanese self-taught painter who keeps studios both in Shizuoka Prefecture, a coastal region located to the south-southwest of Tokyo, and in the tranquil city of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital, where well-preserved, elegant Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples abound.

Fumio Shiozawa, “New Noble Betting on All Existence (Benkei),” 2014, acrylic paint on canvas, 63.78 x 51.3 inches (162 x 130.3 centimeters). About this picture, the painter notes, “The tough body created by force will eventually perish and become Buddha.” Photo courtesy of the artist

In recent years, Shiozawa has exhibited his paintings within the usually off-limits rooms of some of Kyoto’s most famous and venerable temples. He has an exhibition at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo coming up toward the end of this year and he is working on a big painting that he will display and also donate to the Mahabodhi Temple complex in India at the end of next year.

Earlier in his career, as a designer and illustrator, Shiozawa created a poster for the musician Sting's “Save the Rainforest” campaign; he also helped produce books by such Japanese authors as the rock musician Kazufumi Miyazawa, the modern artist Tarō Okamoto, the contemporary photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, and the artist and illustrator Seizō Tashima

Recently, brutjournal’s editor in chief, Edward M. Gómez, met Shiozawa and his studio manager, Masako Koruge, in Tokyo, where they discussed his Buddhism-influenced spiritual outlook and the art it has inspired. Often, Shiozawa’s images are bold, brightly colored, and assertive; they’re definitely not the more reserved, whispering kinds of pictures that come to mind when one thinks of certain traditional forms of religious art.

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