Hajime Namiki

Hajime Namiki

      Hajime Namiki photo with Mt Fuji in the background

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

      When Namiki turned 18, he started studying architectural sculpture and woodcarving under the mentorship of the renowned sculptor Shigeyama Ogura. Five years later, in 1970, Namiki first exhibited at the Japan Wood Carving Federation Exhibition; in 1974, he joined the Japanese Association of Sculptors. At this time, 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.

      Hajime Namiki in his studio working on Japanese woodblock prints

      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.


      Private and Public Collections

      26 artworks

      26 artworks