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.