An artist capturing the secret essence of flowers
As the evening sky darkened, we made our way toward the Jindaijimon Gate by passing along a pleasant and verdant incline, and came across the five-tier pagoda tombstone of the painter Misao Yokoyama, designed by his friend Matazo Kayama, where Iwata spontaneously joined his hands in prayer and bowed slightly. Then he told us of a charming photograph showing the three renowned nihonga painters, Yokoyama, Kayama, and Ikuo Hirayama sitting side by side happily enjoying Jindaiji soba noodles. We asked Iwata a question: “The painters in those days were so brilliant and radiant. Who do you particularly admire?” He answered: “The list of my favorite artists is endless, but I am very fond of works by Togyu Okumura. In his leisurely brush strokes, I find a sense of realism; how should I say, it is as if layers of air are woven in with every stroke. When I come across his paintings, I find a splendor that makes me feel that way, and I am always renewed and inspired.”
“Something will come of it. It’ll be alright.” These few words were spoken by his mentor Reiichi Tsuchiya and helped Iwata finally make up his mind to follow the path of a painter. Before going on to graduate school, he encountered serious difficulties in becoming a painter, and so he visited Tsuchiya’s home, where his mentor’s words – it’ll be alright – seemed to have struck a heartfelt chord. Iwata remembered: “Ah, it’s alright…(laughter). It’s no use wrestling with it, so I’ll try it out. Tsuchiya sensei also said to me that if a person has a mission as a painter and works really hard, then the world will surely encourage them … Thanks to his comment, my confusion was dispelled, and I think I owe what I am today to his wise words.”
The eagerly-awaited solo exhibition is now fast approaching.
“Yes, it is. If at least one of the works I’m now painting can somehow cheer up a viewer, if I can just produce that kind of work, that would be great, but if I try to, then things do not work out well. It is good if I can just paint naturally and the painting paints itself.”