Have you ever wondered what kind of art materials that artists use and how they use them?
In this article, we interviewed one of PIGMENT TOKYO's art materials experts, who is concurrently an artist to tell us the secrets behind her work.
Let me introduce you, Margarita Serizawa.
I'm sure many of you might recognise her through PIGMENT TOKYO’s Instagram live video feeds as well as might have seen her in person at our store.
We have mentioned in our past articles, Serizawa mainly uses Nihonga (Japanese painting) materials such as mineral pigments and animal glue to create her works.
This time, we focused more on the mineral pigments and other painting materials that she used in her recent works.
Click the link below for the previous interview.
ー The colors in your work are so spectacular and beautiful. What kind of pigments do you usually use?
And do you mind telling us more about your “secret” painting materials and how you use them?
Thank you very much. I usually paint on Washi paper with animal glue and mineral pigments, which are commonly used in Nihonga (Japanese painting).
For me, I don’t particularly picky about the difference between natural and artificial pigments, however, I do think the pigments made from natural minerals are more appealing and elegant.
Most of the time, the more colors are mixed, the muddier they become, so in my drawing, I try to keep the colors as vivid as possible.
Specifically, each color is applied layer by layer on the paper, rather than mixed on a palette plate before you draw. Because the pigment comes in powdery sandy-like, the underlying color is still visible between the particles, so you have to think and adjust how you apply and place your colors carefully.
Another important thing is the coarseness of the pigment particles. The coarser the particles, the darker the color and the more it sparkles. Therefore, I use this particular texture to create a unique sense of perspective in my drawing.
For the undercoating, I used a Gofun*-based paint called Suihi (水干, also known as tinted pigments), but this is basically just for the base coat, and I will soon apply the exact opposite color of mineral pigments to my painting.
*Gofun = 胡粉, a type of white pigment made from the shells of oysters, clams, scallops, etc.
The picture below is a work that Serizawa is currently working on. It is the base coat of her drawing painted with Suihi.
I wonder how the result will turn out to be!
「Plitvice06」2020 (In progress as of Dec. 2020)
The following pigments are called Shin Iwa-enogu (新岩絵具, artificial mineral pigments), they are a kind of mineral pigments that Serizawa often uses.
Unlike Tennen Iwa-enogu (天然岩絵具, natural mineral pigments), Shin Iwa-enogu are made from colored artificial glass blocks that are manufactured with glaze and metal oxides. It is highly durable and has a wide range of color tones that are rarely or impossible to be found in natural mineral pigments.
ー Shin Iwa-enogu looks so much different from the Suihi undercoat! The colors are rather transparent and delicate, perhaps this kind of painting style can only be done with mineral pigments and animal glue!
What are the differences in the way you draw and use brushes between the undercoat and the Shin Iwa-enogu?
Since you only need to color and fill up the blanks for the base coat instead of drawing details, I mainly use a Hake (painting brush). However, when it comes to a larger painting, I often use the Hake for both undercoating and finishing touches.
I like to use brushes that are made of goat hair because the bristles are softer and have better coverage, even though they are thinner than regular brushes.
The reason I always choose thinner bristles is that if the bristles are too thick, they will end up absorbing too much pigment or paint.
ー Although your work is known for the way you use pigments and animal glue, which kind of animal glue do you use specifically?Therefore, is there any kind of glue that you recommend?
Among the various mediums, animal glue is the one that can keep the beautiful unaltered colors of mineral pigments. When I was an art student, I used the now-defunct Sanzenbon glues(三千本膠), and for me, I think the granulated ox glues we have at PIGMENT TOKYO are quite similar to those.
My best recommendation is one of our PIGMENT ORIGINAL products, Ox glue liquid 20% concentrated, which is twice as concentrated as the original ox glues and it is much more viscous than usual ones.
To be honest, I was shocked when I used it for the first time because I didn’t expect it can be used and able to apply the pigments so evenly and perfectly
I also like the fact that it contains no extra ingredients except for a small amount of preservative.
ー Are there any art materials or techniques that you would like to use or try in the future?
I have recently started to use metal leaf and plan to make more use of it in my work.
I've also tried effect pigments several times and I found them quite interesting! And I feel like the effect pigments might go well with the mix of mineral pigments, so I might keep using them, who knows?
Another thing is, as you can see, most of my work is colorful, so I rarely use Sumi ink in my drawing, but I always find myself interested in inkstones and inksticks, so I am still trying to find a way that I can have some Sumi ink in my future work!
Size : F6 (41cm×31.8cm)
Kouchi mashi (Washi paper), mineral pigments, Gofun(white pigment), Suihi(tinted pigments), animal glue, aluminium leaf
ー I've seen some of your work with the use of metal leaf, and they are all so elegant and beautiful! I'm looking forward to seeing your new works.
Last but not least, do you have any plans or exhibitions for the future?
Thank you so much, I appreciate that!
The other PIGMENT TOKYO staff and I are planning to hold a group exhibition at Art Space Rashinban in Tokyo from February 22 until March 6, 2021.
Feel free to hop by and have a look if you’re interested in it!
Kouchi mashi (Washi paper), mineral pigments, effect pigments,
Gofun(white pigment), Suihi(tinted pigments), animal glue
Kouchi mashi (Washi paper), mineral pigments,
Gofun(white pigment), Suihi(tinted pigments), animal glue
I was so excited even just listening to her talk about how the works would be made and how the new approaches would be expressed by Serizawa's use.
Serizawa and other staff members’ works are also on display in PIGMENT TOKYO, so don’t forget to have a look during your visit!
Place: Art Space Rashinban
Date and time: 22 February (Mon) ～ 6 March (Sat) 2021
Add. : 2F Kyoei Bldg., 3-5-3 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0031
*This exhibition has ended.
Born in Moscow, Russia
2009 Graduated from Kyoto University of the Arts (Master’s degree), Art and Culture Field -
2003 Graduated from Kyoto University of the Arts (Bachelor’s degree), Fine and Applied Arts Field - Japanese painting
2019 「Traveling」Art Space Rashinban, Tokyo
2016 「Margarita Serizawa」Art Space Rashinban, Tokyo
2013 「Colorful」Art Space Rashinban, Tokyo
2008 3D Gallery Iteza, Kyoto
2006 Far East State Technical University Museum, Vladivostok, Russia
2020 「Rashinban Collection」Art Space Rashinban, Tokyo
2019 「Moment-瞬間-」GALLERY ART POINT, Tokyo
「New Artist Debut Award 2019」FUJII Gallery, Tokyo
2018 「春の賛歌」Yoh Art Gallery, Tokyo
2017 「一期一絵」Kyorin University Hospital, Tokyo
2015 「女流日本画展Vol.01」Art Space Rashinban, Tokyo
2014 「New Artist Collection #4 個四潭々」Awazu Gallery, Tokyo
2013 Benetton Collection Imago Mundi, Italy
- Numerous other exhibits, primarily in Tokyo.
Works owned by Benetton Collection
Selected for New Artist Debut Award 2019