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Artist Statement

I love to paint.

I paint with all my heart and soul.

I am searching for something unknown, beyond words.

I am searching for something unknown, beyond time and space.

I am searching for something universal.


My painting starts with chaos.

It always starts with such confusion.

I cannot find any scheme to embrace.

I cannot find any path to follow.

I am completely lost.

So much frustration.

So much depression.

So much pain.

I struggle with the fact that I cannot reach that point in any way.

I suffer from a strong wish to get out of the chaos which drives me to continue to work.


Line, color, form, composition, etc…

I am given many vehicles.

How can I use these to reach that point?

How can I make a clear and pure order out of that chaos?

I want to get it.

I want to express it.


Painting is very honest.

It tells me how deeply I understand myself.

I tells me how clearly I recognize the world.

Everything is revealed.

Everything is exactly revealed about me.

I cannot hide anything.


What can I do to create an outward form of utmost harmony and power?


I know.

I know what to do.

I know all I have to do is to refine my soul and my inner values because a painting is like a mirror reflecting the image of my soul.

I, therefore, look deeply inward.

I work on my soul.


My soul highly commands me to be naked.

It commands me to be free from my exterior “I.”

It directs me to be free from my ego.

It repeatedly questions me whether my deeds and thoughts are true or not.

I face myself with no excuse.

I strive to throw away my artificial and deceitful life.

I seek for a deeper understanding of my soul.


Painting never betrays me.

As my soul is awakened, polished and shaped, it finds more intimacy with my mind.

As I go, I find myself trying to paint my answer with more certainty and reliability.

My painting is getting more honest and more direct in response to my inner need.

My painting is becoming my soul on view.


My painting is now getting simple.

My painting is getting very simple.


I reduce everything I see to the utmost essence.

I allow only things to have a place which are of the utmost importance to me.

I do not need to use many colors any more.

I do not need to gather up complicated forms any more.


My journey to my soul makes me free to move and free to change.

My journey, then, makes me a new person with new eyes.

My eyes are opened to see with much deeper and wider perspectives.

My eyes are strengthened to see much surer and clearer viewpoints.

Being a new person with a new power,

I am now authorized to see that everything essential exists in the most simple form only if it does at the most highly sophisticated level.

Only such a simple form can possess a definite and essential inner value.

Only such a simple form can be a true form which allows itself to have a strong power to vibrate its essence directly to the human soul endlessly.


This awareness makes me strong.

This awareness makes me strong enough to take a free position about my paintings.

I no longer hesitate to put all my trust in my eyes.

No longer do I compromise in any way to reconstruct the ultimate form in my own way.


Besides all this, I observe other distinguishable phenomena.

As my awareness is expanding, very opposite qualities are clearly emerging in sight:

More simple is more complex,

More delicate is bolder,

More limited is freer,

More subjective is more objective,

More rational is more emotional,

More material is more spiritual,

More specific is more general,

More micro is more macro.


Along with these qualities, this atmosphere,

there is, more than ever, a sense of unity as a whole.

There is more balance.

There is more harmony.

There is more fully constructed wholeness.

Then I realize the mysteries of Nature.


It is always a great joy to see a morning glory flowering in the morning, and this is all due to the coldness and darkness of the night.

Morning and night.

Light and darkness.

Warm and cold.

Dry and moist, etc…

Each of them is equally important and necessary to make a morning glory flower beautifully.

Only when they find themselves in harmony each other do they show us a perfect figure.

Having a deep relationship with invisible matter, they sing a beautiful song in a visible form.


What a delightful moment I have!

I open the door of Nature.

I have the first and true contact with Nature.


Nature speaks.

Nature tells us that there is beauty in harmony.

It is in harmony that beauty shows its significant form in a full sense of rhythm.

It is in harmony that beauty tenders its dignity in a respectful silence.

It is in harmony that beauty glories its pure beauty in a full of wonder and delight.

Beauty is perfectly realized as a whole in an absolutely harmonized formula which Nature sets up.

All beauty is rooted in Nature.


When I understand this, I find I have penetrated into the principle of Nature.

When I accept this, I find I am united into a whole being, into a completed unity.

When I appreciate this, I find I am given a chance to play freely with the beautiful sounds of Nature.


With much deeper respect and admiration for Nature,

I enjoy hearing Nature sing more than ever.

I enjoy seeing Nature dance more than ever.

I enjoy to sense Nature more that ever.


From now on, participating in the drama that Nature creates,

I serve to present the essence of beauty on canvas.

I serve to transform the genuine warmth of beauty on canvas.

I serve to imprint the elegant breath of beauty into a perfect realization on canvas.

In the most honest and sincere manner,

I serve to deliver the gift from Nature to the world.

What a noble duty I have!




©1999 Takayo Seto

This statement was written as my thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY, in February 1999.

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