I have been an exchange student in Tokyo Zokei University since April. I chose printmaking as I did in the UK cause I’m interested in it and Japan is famous for the woodblock print, and the colour that most Japanese artists use also attract me a lot. And I’m interested in Japanese culture and art, I would like to learn it with the perspective as a student. So I decided to exchanged to Tokyo Zokei University.
It was a very busy semester, I had class everyday. The courses apart from printmaking were taught in English. And the courses I chose was sustainable forest design and Japanese art and craft. We went to some forest in Tokyo and learnt a lot about the issues of forestry in not only Japan but also other country, and thought of how we could deal with those problems with what we have learnt and our major. And for Japanese at and craft, it is about Japanese tea culture, Buddhism, paintings and also textile. We travelled to Kyoto to learn about Japanese traditional paintings, Buddhism, and tea culture in those famous temple and tea farm. We made our own tea in one of the best tea farm in Kyoto. Back to Tokyo, we visited many museums and galleries about Japanese traditional tea bowls, textile and some traditional crafts. And during the course we made our stone stamp, scroll painting, tea bowl and also sushi.
As for my major printmaking, all the staffs and my classmates are so nice and friendly. The course was taught in Japanese, however, I just learnt Japanese for two months before I went to Japan. It was so hard for me to study in a totally different environment with my third language at the beginning, and it was also hard to communicate with them. But they were so patient with me and explained what I didn’t understand to me and always encourage me to try new things and think in a different way.
During this semester, I learnt lithography, screen print, etching and wood cut. Although I have already learnt most of them, there are many differences between the materials and the skills that I learnt. And through this course, I found I’m much more interested in printmaking than before.
At the end of the semester I went to Houston for helping the artist Ayomi Yoshida with her installation as an artist assistant. And it was a very interesting and meaningful experience for me.
Four months in Tokyo Zokei University, what I got is not only knowledge and skills, but also friends and such a wonderful experience.
See the pictures please find my Instagram account: