December 24, 2018

Happy Holidays!

In Japan it is custom to send New Year’s postcards (年賀状 nengajo) to friends and relatives, similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards. Traditionally these cards are decorated to show the new zodiac, 2019 is the year of the boar.
With 4 group exhibitions, 1 solo exhibition, the start of a whole new body of work, the launch of my brand new website and load and loads of classes and workshops, 2018 has been an absolutely amazing year!

Living in Japan comes with a unique set of challenges but if you keep an open mind, have a bit of courage, some amazing friends and a lot of patience it comes with great rewards. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to establish myself as an artist here in Nagoya over the past year. Many of the events and classes I have been a part of this year would not have been possible without the help of this amazing group of fellow artists and friends I have met here. The artist community here in Nagoya is so generous, genuine and truly one of a kind! I would like to extend a special thank you to all the wonderful people who have so generously shared their knowledge and techniques with me this past year. This country continues to be extremely inspiring and I feel very lucky that I will have a little bit more time to explore its rich art history and culture in 2019.

Next to adding quite a few pieces to my continuing 'Traveling the World' series, I also started a whole new body of work titled 'World on Washi' which is inspired not only by Japan as a subject but also by many of the Japanese techniques and materials I have experienced as well as the Japanese minimalist esthetics. This body of work is still in its early stages but I have big plans for new pieces in the coming year so keep an eye on my website and social media pages (FacebookInstagram). 

For those of you interested I still have some pieces available on my website and Saachi Art and if you're looking for something custom I work on commission as well, just send me an email for additional information. If you're in Toronto or Motréal, I am working with two wonderful galleries who would be happy to assist you in finding the perfect piece for your collection. In Toronto you can visit Latitude 44 Gallery located on 2900 Dundas st. West in the Junction area and in Montréal you can find my work at Viva Vida Art Gallery located on 278 Lakeshore drive in Pointe Claire, and for my Montréal audience we will have a little surprise coming up in early 2019 so keep an eye out for future blog posts! 

I would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and an art filled and creative year of the boar! 

良いお年を! (Happy New Year!)

December 02, 2018

Once in a lifetime....

As an artist it always feels very special when someone asks you to create a painting on commission. It is a unique and very intimate experience that often makes the piece feel more personal. When working on commission I always make sure to meet with a collector in person whenever possible, to get an idea about what they have in mind and I make sure all parties are happy with the composition before moving on to the actual creation of the piece. I send pictures of the piece in all its different stages during the creation process so they get to see the piece come together from start to finish, something that is unique to the commission process.

Commission pieces are always more personal and often require me to go out and photograph specific buildings or events to collect all the material needed. I love working together with my collectors to create the perfect piece for them!

'Ichi-go-ichi-e' (一期一会)
Last week I had the pleasure of revealing a newly finished commission piece titled 'Ichi-go-ichi-e' (一期一会) to my wonderful, passionate collector Olga. 

'Ichi-go-ichi-e' is a Japanese saying that reflects the idea that each moment is unique and will never be repeated again so it should be enjoyed and appreciated. This piece reflects many special moments this beautiful family has experienced here in Japan, places they have visited, people they have met, as my collector so beautifully put it: "This piece contains our passion, our faith, our work, our precious moments is far and all we love so much in Japan! This is not only a piece of art! It is a memory to which we will look until we are old, and it will bring us back in time to all these moments again!"

I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to create a piece that is filled with so many memories and so much meaning. It will be a very special addition to their collection that they will cherish for many years to come.

Are you interested in adding a special commissioned piece to your collection? Please don't hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to work together with you to create your perfect piece of art!

November 18, 2018

Learning something new!

Tools of the trade
I just finished my fourth Japanese woodblock printing class and after weeks of tracing and cutting I was finally ready to make my first prints, very exciting! Woodblock printing was already on my list of techniques I wanted to learn when I came to Japan last year but I became really excited about it when I visited and exhibition of the works of Judy Ongg earlier this year. I was absolutely blown away by the size, detail and graphic quality of the pieces as well as the transparency of the paints and the vibrancy of the colors.

Exhibition of huge woodblock prints by Judy Ongg
Our first piece was going to be done on a tiny 4"x6" panel and when I had to choose I obviously went for the intricate street scene over the simple animal shape, I like a good challenge! The carving took me 2 whole classes plus some extra time spent carving at home but, it did give me plenty of practice! I'm sure my second piece will be at least a little easier, lol.

Our class is super fun, we're with quite a large group, over half of which are men, which was sort of surprising to me, and all but me and my friend Louise Corry are Japanese. Doing this class together with my friend is the best! First of all it's much more fun learning together but given that everyone else in the class, including sensei, speaks very little English it's definitely easier as well. Together our Japanese is sort of half decent lol!

Our classmates are super sweet, they're always ready to jump in with a helpful 'Abunai, abunai!' (Dangerous, dangerous) followed by a detailed explanation on how to hold and work the tools of the trade.

Japanese woodblock printing is quite challenging and it requires a lot of patience and practice to master. I was able to make my first prints today and, although they didn't come out perfect I'm learning and I'm already looking forward to creating my next piece, using one of my own images this time! I'm glad we've only had 4 classes so far because this means we have plenty of time left to learn and experiment, I'm sure we won't be perfect at the end but I'll have made a decent start at adding a new technique to our toolkit!

My first print! 

Results of today's class (picture by Louise Corry)

November 11, 2018

New website! has had a makeover! The brand new site is now up and running with up to date information about the artists latests exhibitions, news articles and some brand new pieces.

Together with the launch of this brand new website the Artist Abroad also launches het newest body of work titled 'World on Washi', inspired by her art adventures in Japan.

When coming to Japan in 2017 Denise's main goal was to be inspired not just by the beauty of the country itself but also by its rich cultural history and unique artistic esthetic. Traditional arts and crafts play a huge role in Japanese culture, you will often find crafts people whose families have been in the business for hundreds of years, perfecting every little detail of their creative process. 

While in Japan, Denise has had the opportunity try many different traditional Japanese techniques and materials. Inspired by these experiences she started working with traditional handmade Washi paper earlier this year, although the process has brought many new challenges and the body of work is still in its early stages, Denise feels ready to finally share the first pieces with the world. You can check out these brand new pieces here and should you be interested in adding one of these beautiful new pieces to your collection you can always contact the artist for more information. 

November 08, 2018

UNESCO x BBuzzArt interview

I feel very honored to be one of five artists from around the world to have been selected for the UNESCO x BBuzzArts project that is exploring how BBuzzArts multi talented artists around the world are making a difference in their communities through their art. A small portion of the interview will be posted below, you can read the full article on the Medium website. 

UNESCO x BBuzzArt: Denise Buisman Pilger

OnNovember 13, 1978 I was born in Amsterdam in the Netherlands to two awesome moms and a sister, who is four and a half years younger than me. I have always been drawn to anything creative. Drawing was my favorite subject in school and art supplies were always on top of my wish list for birthdays or ‘Sinterklaas’ (a Dutch winter holiday).
Living in a big city like Amsterdam, we were very lucky to have grandparents who lived on Ameland, one of the small islands of the northern coast of the Netherlands. We would stay with them most school holidays and spend our days riding horses, playing games and roaming the beaches and sand dunes. I remember always asking my grandmother to do crafting projects together, as she loved making things and would always come up with something new and exciting.

September 30, 2018

Two Foreign Artist Exhibitions

I will exhibit my work at two upcoming Foreign Artist Exhibitions! From October 6-14 my work will be part of the Foreign Artists Exhibition at Kikyu Gallery in Okazaki. Gallery opening hours are 10am-6pm (Closed Monday). 16 Artists will be participating in this years exhibition, the exhibition will include painting, photography, woodblock prints and ceramics. On Saturday October 6th at 17:30 h. there will be a vernissage, sponsored by Kikyu Club, please come along, meet some of the artists and have a good time.

From October 30 - November 4 I will exhibit several pieces from my brand new body of work ‘World on Washi’ at the 33rd Foreign Artists Exhibition (FAE33), organized by the Central Japan International Society (CJIS), with the generous support of Nagoya International Center (NIC). This exhibition encourages dialogue and the exchange of ideas among the citizens of Nagoya and foreign artists living in the Chubu Region of Japan.

The 33rd Foreign Artists Exhibition will be held from Tuesday, October 30 November to Sunday, November 4. Painters, potters, photographers, sculptors, printers, and other fine artists will display their original artworks in the well-appointed 4th floor Exhibition Room at Nagoya International Center (NIC). The exhibition will be open to the public, free, from 10 am to 7 pm daily except the last day (Sun.) which will end at 5:00 pm.

August 05, 2018

'外見 • Foreign Views' a solo exhibition at ITbM Gallery.

From August 23 – September 25 Nagoya based Dutch artist Denise Buisman Pilger, will present her unique view of the familiar urban landscape in a solo exhibition titled: ‘Foreign Views’, at ITbM Gallery (464-8601 名古屋市千種区不老町 名古屋大学トランスフォーマティブ生命分子研究所 ITbM Gallery, 1F). The exhibition features some of the artists’ most recent works, in which she presents a series of condensed memories of her travels.

‘Foreign Views’ will be the inaugural exhibition at the ITbM Gallery that is located in the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), whose aim is to create cutting-edge science with potentially significant societal impact. “By adding a gallery space, we want to remind people that science and art go together. I believe that every scientist is an artist that gets inspired by nature and the environment that they are in.” says Gallery Director Dr. Asraa Ziadi.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to share my work with the wonderful people of Nagoya. My recent move from Montréal Canada to Nagoya Japan has been very inspiring and I am very excited to include some of my newest, Japan inspired pieces, in this exhibition. I love to show the audience the beauty of their everyday environment and Japan definitely has a lot of beauty to offer!”

Foreign Views

ITbM Gallery - 464-8601 名古屋市千種区不老町 名古屋大学 
トランスフォーマティブ生命分子研究所 ITbM Gallery, 1F
August 23 – September 25, 2018
Monday to Friday: 9:30 – 19:30 
Saturday: 9:30 – 17:30
Sunday: Closed 

June 12, 2018

Ajisai Tea Ceremony and Exhibition at Shirotori garden.

This upcoming weakend (June 16 & 17) I will be speaking and exhibiting my award winning painting 'Treasures of Tranquility as well as my calligraphy, at the Ajisai (Hydrangea) Tea Ceremony at the Shirotori garden in Nagoya. 

At this wonderful event, that is held every June during the hydrangea-blooming season, non Japanese residents perform tea ceremony, give speeches, and display their Japanese arts and crafts. Tea ceremonies are held apx every 45 minutes on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm. Entrance to the garden is ¥300 and tickets for tea and sweets are ¥500. English guided tours of the garden will also be available on both days at 11 am and 1pm. All ages welcome! No reservations. Purchase tickets for tea when you arrive on site. (This event attracts a lot of people so please understand there may be wait times to get into a ceremony)

Shirotori Garden〒456-0036 Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Atsuta-ku, Atsuta Nishimachi, 2−2−5052-681-8928

June 07, 2018

`Treasures of Tranquility` awarded Foreign Minister Award at Toyota Museum.

Last month my artwork `Treasures of Tranquility` was awarded the prestigious Foreign Minister award during the Global Artists Exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art. I was told that I am one of the first foreign artists to have been awarded this honour which made it even more special!

It is always a little scary introducing your work to a new public and even more so when that public comes from a completely different background and culture. `Treasures of Tranquility` was one of the first Japan inspired pieces I created and this was the first time it was on display. I am very happy that the work was received so well!

The Global Artists Exhibition was a very special event to be a part of. With over 70 artists from 12 different countries there was a lot of variety in subject matter, styles and materials which was very inspiring. But the best thing about exhibitions like these is that you get to see artists that come from a completely different background. This year there was a wonderful group of artists from Nepal as well as people from India, New Zealand, Ireland, the US and of course a large group of Japanese artists as well. 

Two newspapers printed an article about the exhibition, both of them wrote about my piece because of the award and one of them even used a picture that showed my piece! The articles are all in Japanese, of course but Google translate has come in handy :) 

The exhibition was held at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, a beautiful, contemporary museum with a wonderful mirror garden. It was an amazing experience to see my work in such a beautiful space. The architecture of the museum is really awesome so after the exhibition I took the opportunity to take some `glamour` shots of my piece outside.

April 19, 2018

Global Artist Movement Exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art

From May 16-20 the Artist Abroad, Denise Buisman Pilger, will exhibit a brand new artwork at the 18th Global Artist Movement (GAM) group exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in Toyota, Japan. 

The Global Artist Movement is an organization aiming to promote international exchange rich in creativity and to encourage artistic activities as an international movement.

From Wednesday - Saturday the exhibition will be open from 10am - 5pm and on Sunday from 10 am - 3pm. If you wish to meet the artist, she will be in attendance on Saturday morning and Sunday. 

Toyota Municipal Art Museum
Address 8 - 5 Kozakamoto cho, Toyota City,  Prefecture 471 - 0034 1Tel: 0565-34-6610

March 28, 2018



Spring has truly arrived in Nagoya, the Sakura are in full bloom and in Japan that means it's time for Hanami (flower viewing). Everywhere you go you will see people sitting on blankets, tatami mats and tarps under the blooming Sakura trees, having pick nicks and sipping tea or sake. In the evenings the parks around Nagoya have lanterns scattered throughout the trees bathing the sea of flowers in a beautiful pink glow, it is like this city has turned into this magical fairytale land! 

I have mostly been out and about enjoying the beauty of Japanese spring, the Sakura are only here for a short while so we enjoy it while we can :) But there has also been some precious studio time where I got to experiment with some beautiful Japanese Washi paper! I am loving the process so far, although working with paper brings a unique set of challenges but I think I'm getting to a point where I'm starting to figure out how to get the results I am looking for so keep an eye on this blog, I will be posting some pictures soon! But, because you're special, here's a little sneak peek at the stuff I'm working with ;)

I also finished the five pieces I was working on at the beginning of the year. Last week I took them out into the garden for their glamour shots. Some of these will be at the Women's Showcase at the Plastic Factory on Saturday April 14t so if you're in the Nagoya area please come out to see them in person! , Doors open at 7pm and the music starts at 8pm, tickets are ¥1500 at the door and include one drink! 

March 21, 2018

Womens Showcase at the Plastic Factory!

On Saturday April 14th you will have a chance to show your support for women in the arts here in Nagoya! Come see some amazing performances and awesome artwork by female artists at the Plastic Factory, doors open at 7pm and the music starts at 8pm, tickets are ¥1500 at the door and include one drink!

This is the event you've been waiting for! - the second ever Nagoya Women's Showcase! 
An entertaining evening of Music & Art from your favourite fully functioning female faction.

Featuring... musical performances by:
Denise Hewitt
......May Chu Chu's Cabaret of Chaos!
.........DJ Divalicious Christiahn
Special Guest: Olivia
and our very own backing band, Don't Wrestle Ron!
(Darian Gore, Yuki Angel, Coleen Wickdahl and Lesley Bartlett).

along with art exhibited by:
Gwyn Wilson
...Louise Corry
......Saddle Kobayashi
.........Denise Buisman Pilger, the Artist Abroad. Hand layered photo based mixed media paintings.

Come support some awesome female artists!
We hope to see you there!

February 25, 2018

About paints, clay and more paints!

In between classes and outings I was able to spend some quality time in the studio last week. I finished a piece and started work on another one, at the start of the year I was working on 5 Japan themed pieces and I just started work on the final one!

After that piece is finished I am going to take a little time to experiment with some Japanese paper and try something exiting that involves our 3D printer, I also bought a couple of gorgeous,, chunky live edge, Japanese Cedar blocks that deserve some love. I will probable start some new compositions while working on these experiments as well, I have a coupe of exhibitions coming up and I know Latitude 44 Gallery in Toronto has been eagerly awaiting some new work. Also, I have a bunch of empty panels in my storage room that are begging me for some love every time I open the door :)

I did't get to spend as much time in the studio as I might have wanted but there was a good reason! On Thursday I went to Kato Sensei's studio to try my hand at Japanese pottery making again. Kato Hiroshige san is a very talented pottery maker and working at his studio is an absolute joy! 

This time around I was a little more confident so I was able to be a little more daring. I created 2 small cups and 2 matcha blows, which all came out perfectly Wabi Sabi, mostly on purpose ;)

On Friday it was time for more paints at Yamato-E class. I continue to be fascinated by these vibrant paints! 

This week sensei showed me the secrets of adding little gold flakes to your painting.I was really excited to learn about this technique as it is something I might want to incorporate in future pieces. 

It is always a joy to come to Kodera san's house to paint and learn about Japanese culture together with a group of wonderful ladies!

February 13, 2018

Kites and flights and snow!

Last week I had the opportunity to join a lovely group of ladies for some Japanese kite making. When we arrived at this tiny kite shop located in the old main street near Nagoya castle, we were led through a curtain to the back and up the stairs to a large room. Boxes and boxes of kites lined the walls and some tables with supplies were set up in the center of the room.

Sensei kindly showed us hot to spread out the dollop of glue on the wooden board and how to assemble the kite and apply the glue. We had to pay close attention to the order of placement of the bamboo supports and of course it all needed to be done きちんと(neatly).

Next came the tough part, attaching the wires, getting down the knots was particularly difficult but we all managed in the end. When they were finished they still needed to dry over night so unfortunately we didn't get to fly them yet.

In Japan this past weekend was a holiday weekend, which meant hubby had some time off! So we packed up our skis and hoped on a plane to Sapporo, Hokkaido for the annual snow festival.

The snow sculptures on Odori were awe inspiring, not just because of their sheer size but also because the level of detail was out of this world! We first viewed al of them by daylight but made sure to come back in the evening to see them all lit up, they even had some with 3D mapping which was wonderful!

On Saturday we went to Niseko to do some skiing, unfortunately there was a lot of snow and fog so the visibility was quite minimal, the snow however, was amazing and the onsen afterwards felt heavenly. On our way back we stopped in Otaru where they had a beautiful snow lantern festival where hundreds of candles were floating on the canal and lining the street. It was absolutely stunning and an amazing seafood dinner in the tiniest of restaurants was definitely the perfect way to end the day!

On Sunday we explored Sapporo visiting the two additional sites of the snow festival as wel as some temples, an awesome fish market and of course the Sapporo beer museum.

In the evening we visited the Chocolate factory which actually looked like how you would want a chocolate factory to look and the beautiful light displays definitely added to there magic!

We ended the evening with an awesomely Japanese 3d projection show on a snowy field. Awesomeness!