Art Exhibit. Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints by Hajime Namiki

Art Exhibit. Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints by Hajime Namiki

Japanese woodblock master Hajime Namiki in his first solo exhibit in San Francisco. Opening reception.

Just in time for the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, Art House SF would like to present the latest work from contemporary Japanese woodblock artist Hajime Namiki.

While many are familiar with traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, modern woodblock art is far less known.

Hajime Namiki is part of the post-war Sōsaku-hanga ("creative prints") art movement. While his subjects are traditionally Japanese, he elevates his work to the Western definition of fine art. Hajime draws, carves, and prints each piece himself—his sole creation. That control over the entire process allows him to express himself, unlike any other Japanese artist.

Please see over 25 of his woodblock prints in person at our opening reception on Saturday, April 6.

All artworks are available for purchase.


About Art House SF Gallery

A San Francisco art gallery on a mission to introduce more people to eclectic art from the most remote and undiscovered parts of the world. We're located in the famous Castro District - a neighborhood of freedom, acceptance, creativity and diversity.

2324 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114 | | @arthousesf

About the artist:

Hajime Namiki was born in 1947 in Sumida-ka, Tokyo, Japan.

Namiki started studying architectural sculpture and woodcarving under the mentorship of the renowned sculptor Shigeyama Ogura. For over 12 years, Namiki focused on the intricate woodcarving of different bird figures: hummingbirds, kingfishers, hawks, and falcons.

By 1978, Namiki decided to switch his attention to woodblock printing. With his extensive experience in woodcarving and in painting wooden bird sculptures, the sōsaku-hanga art movement specifically appealed to Namiki. This art movement emphasizes the artist having complete control over the final artwork, and of the artist being its sole creator. Sōsaku-hanga advocates three key principles of art: "self-drawn" (自画 jiga), "self-carved" (自刻 jikoku) and "self-printed" (自摺 jizuri).

As opposed to the earlier shin-hanga movement, where the artist was only responsible for the drawing while other people worked on carving and printing, Namiki preferred doing it all himself. As an experienced sculptor, his carving technique on hard cherry wood allowed him to achieve the intricate details that few other woodblock artists could. In printing, Namiki used silver and gold leaf to add luminosity to his prints - an uncommon choice in this medium. He also decided to use oil pigments (as opposed to the more commonly-used watercolors) to achieve richer tones and longer-lasting colors.

By the 1980s, his talent and innovative techniques were recognized first in Japan and then in the United States. From 1987 onward, Namiki was selected to exhibit at the prestigious College Women's Print Show in Tokyo, Japan. In 1985, 1987, and 1989, he was invited to visit the United States.

In 1996, Hajime Namiki met Kappy Hendricks, one of the world's foremost authorities on contemporary Japanese prints. Recognizing Namiki's talent, Kappy organized annual solo exhibits for Namiki in her art gallery in Bethesda, Maryland, and promoted his art to several American museums. As a result, Namiki's works were selected by the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, Nancy Reagan's White House art collection, and many others.

At the age of 76, Hajime Namiki continues working in his studio in Tokyo. Art House SF is honored to present his latest woodblock prints, released in 2023, in our art gallery in San Francisco.


Hajime Namiki. Magnolia 2. Woodblock Print. 19''x24''

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Hajime Namiki. Hill-1 Wheat. Woodblock Print. 15''x21''

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Hajime Namiki. Shidare Zakura 27. Woodblock Print. 16''x28''

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Hajime Namiki. Wild Cherry at Kougenji. Woodblock Print. 24''x36''

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Hajime Namiki. Tree Scene 21. Woodblock Print. 19''x21''

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Hajime Namiki. Tree Scene 98. Woodblock Print. 21''x21''

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Hajime Namiki. Dogwood 8. Woodblock Print. 16''x17''

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