Washi (wa = Japanese, shi = paper) is paper that uses local fibers such as Gampi, Mulberry (Kozo) or Mitsumata, is processed by hand, and made using traditional techniques. Its unique features are its varied texture, thickness, strength, soft translucency and absorbent qualities. In the late 1800s, 100,000 families were making washi; now, there are about 350 remaining.
Arun has developed a love for this paper, and also for Chinese & Japanese landscape paintings. Without the talent to paint, he uses the camera to compose minimalist images using the principles of Chinese landscape painting such as creating depth with layers and mist, and the use of empty or negative space. Finally, matching each image to a particular washi paper, taking into account its texture, thickness, and absorbent qualities creates an expressive print.
His art is created with the help of many collaborators. The people who make these papers are skilled artisans, generations of whom have dedicated their lives to this ancient craft. The use of piezography inks enhances the depth and tonal quality of the images, and alternative printing such as carbon transfer prints is done by an extremely skilled artist, Calvin Grier. The frames are hand crafted by Glenn Yee, who has burned the surface of the wood to enhance its texture, using a technique called Shou Sugi Ban. He has been privileged to collaborate with Katherine Xiao, an internationally recognized artist and master calligrapher.
Arun has presented the art in unconventional ways, and without any barrier between the viewer and the image. This tempts the viewer to want to touch the image to better appreciate the surface texture and translucency of the washi. His goal is to create art that blends the best of photography and landscape painting, and to use the appropriate washi paper to allow its fullest expression.
Art training: Field and classroom instructions with John Sexton, Charles Cramer, George DeWolfe, Bruce Barnbaum and Bruce Percy.
Printing: Workshops with Charles Cramer, Jon Cone and Robert Kato.
Exhibitions: at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center and 2017 & 2018 CPA Members’ Juried Exhibition ONLINE gallery and exhibition catalog.