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1. Noir 2007 Series 002 (12”x 12” Graphite, Acrylic and Beeswax on panel) Inspired by ALPHAVILLE, a black and white French Noir film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, and drawings by Brice Marden, I started working on this series which incorporates printouts from YouTube, graphite and beeswax.
2. Sonic Landscape 2004 Series - el 001 (48”x 96” Mixed media on panel) Each painting in this series was created while listening to a particular piece of music.
3. Downtown 2004 Series 001 (24”x 18” Mixed media on panel) Inspired by the surroundings in Downtown Los Angeles, I created these atmospheric paintings. Street noise, sirens, loud music, everything on Main Street at 5th Street became the essence of this series.
4. Dream 2007 Series 002 (24”x 24” Mixed media on canvas) Inspired by Federico Fellini’s films, I kept a dream journal and searched for images in order to re-create the atmosphere of my dreams.
5. Water Music 2003 Series 004 (12”x 9” Watercolor, graphite and crayon on watercolor paper) Inspired by both classical and contemporary music by composers such as Ligeti and John Cage, I tried to capture the various layers of string music.
6. Heian Dream 2007 Series 004 (36”x 96” Mixed media on canvas) Inspired by the format of traditional Japanese ‘emakimono’ (picture scrolls) in the Heian Period, I created this series.
7. Dust 2003 Painting 009 (12”x 9” Mixed media on paper) Inspired by the work of Kim Abeles, I left my resin paintings outside to absorb anything falling from the LA sky. Each painting was collecting dust for about a month.
8. Ambient 2000 Series 000 (75”x 45” Mixed media on canvas) Inspired by Music for Airports composed by Brian Eno, I tried to recreate the composition of the music.
“Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?”—-John Cage
Every city is filled with sounds that combine to form a sonic landscape. I have spent time in many different cities and have always been interested in the sonic landscapes of urban areas. I grew up in Tokyo during the smoggy 70’s and was annoyed and depressed by the yellow flags that signaled dangerous pollution levels in the air. But along with the pollution came a sonic landscape of cars, sirens and trains that I truly enjoyed. It was an environment that seemed natural to me.
I began taking piano lessons when I was three years old and feel that classical music provided a sound structure that helped me decode the sonic landscape that was evolving around me. I didn’t realize at the time that these industrial sounds were being incorporated into modern musical scores.
Sound is my inspiration. Sounds fill my canvases. I turn sound into color. Many classical composers have taken a similar route and have created charts that assign colors to notes.
I decided to create visual images inspired by urban noise after I saw Michiyoshi Inoue conduct a performance by a symphony orchestra by pointing at different parts of a large painting. The colors and textures of the painting became intertwined with the music. I was also inspired by John Cage’s use of notation in Water Music. His musical score looked more like a drawing than a traditional score.
All of my recent paintings have been composed using collage techniques. I feel like a modern DJ when I am painting. I cut and paste from various ready-made sources to create a work with new meaning and a sense of history. I have incorporated architecture, Japanese comics, dreams, beat poetry and sound into my latest series of paintings. Enjoy!
Fumiko Amano, Artist