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Artist Spotlight - John Wocher: Detailed Inspiration
What happens if you take a bright, young man from Ohio, steep him in the culture and beauty of Japan for over 40 years and hand him paper and pen?
The results are bold, delicate and intricately detailed.
John Wocher, Vice President of Kameda Medical Center in Japan,was not formally trained as an artist. He has designed his own wine labels, painted on ceramics and is involved in photography, but only recently did he print his first giclee edition with pictureframes.com.
"For me, working on these prints is relaxing and fun," says John.
His first visit to Japan was as a spectator during the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. "I lived here off and on until 1988 when Japan became my home away from home, and I have lived here since then," he says.
This traveler has long collected Meiji era Japanese ceramics, which, according to John, represent the height of decorative arts in Japan, "I am in awe of and inspired by the Japanese perspective of art in that era, which was and is so different from the West."
His artistic inspiration is a style called aka-e, also known as "red painting," originally from the village of Kutani in Japan. John explains that in this creative style, "usually just red is used, sometimes highlighted with gold." The designs demand patience and discipline, and each of John's drawings take five to ten hours to complete. "The round designs in my prints are intended to represent Kutani pieces." Because the four seasons are powerful influences in art and life in Japan, John chose to represent the season of fall in the first series of images he printed as editions.
John wanted to share his hard work with friends and colleagues, so he began to explore the possibilities in high quality reproductions. "I always thought that giclee images were for the professional artist, not the amateur, and that they would be extraordinarily expensive to have done." He would soon learn that there was a company that could offer him exactly what he needed—John chose pictureframes.com. He was impressed with the website and the speedy, helpful communications with his Editions Consultant. "I was a little intimidated by the idea of professional giclee printing, but after going over the materials and through email communications, I felt that I was treated like a professional and that even very small editions (as few as 5) were within my range of options."
Because he lives overseas, shipping and timely communication were very important for John. "Shipping has been superb," he says. "Jane Rhem [Senior Editions Consultant] was the BEST! It is essential, I think, particularly for an amateur, to have a point of contact who acts as a personal advocate for the artist, communicating frequently, offering advice, and just making sure the customer takes full advantage of the services available to get the best results."
As an artist printing editions for the first time, John found the free full-sized first proofs for each edition to be a huge help, "They were a great way to be introduced to seeing your own images professionally done," he says. Similarly, the paper sample kit provided by pictureframes.com was also very influential in making choices.
John plans to print more editions of his work, "I like these prints very much, and this will give me the chance to see whether they might appeal to others." He continues, "the images are not overtly Asian (perhaps some are), but I want these to be somewhat mysterious and to stimulate the imagination… and at the same time, to surprise the viewers with perspectives and designs that may be unfamiliar to them."
Fortunately, John will have this chance this spring during his first local show where his prints will be displayed alongside the Kutani ceramics that inspired them. Next, he plans to draw a series that represent the other seasons: summer, winter and spring, to complement his fall series.
If you, too, have become captivated by the magic and mystery of John Wocher’s work and would like to further explore his pieces, or if you simply would like more information about his upcoming ventures, you can reach him at email@example.com.
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