Haku Maki, 72-13 79/153
Maki was a versatile artist who often combined several techniques. He was first known for the use of Chinese characters or kanji. Starting with the original pictograph, he stylized the calligraphy into a bold statement, with an eye for its beauty and compositional possibilities. Maki often used cement on his woodblocks, which can be worked, when wet, into intriguing textures for embossing.
Later in his career, Maki shifted his focus to small works, with persimmons and other fruit, or ceramic teacups, bowls and bottles as the predominant themes. He still used the cement block technique allowing rich textural effects, creating a three-dimensional appearance.
In each of his nearly 2000 different prints, this modern Japanese master offers a very focused view of his subject. Backgrounds are of minor importance, and the subject dominates, whether kanji, persimmon, or ceramic.
He is one of the ten artists chosen for James Michener’s 1968 book, The Modern Japanese Print – An Appreciation, and provided illustrations for Noah Brannen and William Elliot’s book, Festive Wine, a translation of ancient Japanese poems. In June 2007, Dan Tretiak published The Life and Works of Haku Maki examining his artistic themes over a long and distinguished career. This book was launched in conjunction with a special exhibit of 85 different Maki prints from all periods, held at the Ren Brown Collection in Bodega Bay. This outstanding book is now the authoritative source of information on Haku Maki.