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Pacific Grove, CA
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Where:Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, California, United States, 95060
Journey to Hokusai is a feature-length documentary that intimately follows an artist's creative process and discovery of the origins of his art. Tom Killion, a woodblock print artist, identifies the 19th century Japanese artist Hokusai as his inspirational master and the most talented artist ever." When Tom makes his California landscape prints, his most important artistic references are Hokusai's landscape prints. Tom sketches a real landscape just like Hokusai did 200 years ago. He carves woodblocks using Japanese hand tools. But when it comes to printing, Tom uses a German printing press and oil-based ink unlike the traditional Japanese method of printing by hand with watercolor ink. The film follows every step of Tom's journey: choosing a sketch illustrating the California landscape; carving it on woodblocks in his studio; learning the traditional printing technique with Kenji Takenaka, a 5th generation master printer in Kyoto; and successfully producing the print. Throughout the film, Toms homage to Hokusai is interwoven as poignant side stories. Some of the notable places pertaining to Hokusai that Tom visits are Hokusais grave in Tokyo; a 9th generation living national treasure paper maker in the Echizen region whose ancestors must have produced paper for Hokusais prints; the town of Obuse in central Japan where Hokusai spent his last few years and produced some of his important works; and sites where some of Hokusais Mt. Fuji prints were created. At the end of the film, Tom sums up his experience this way My Journey to Hokusai taught me how Hokusai achieved this extraordinary immortality as his art spread out across the whole world, influencing how we see both man and nature, and how we understand the mystical power of beauty in our world.

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