After 2 weeks of labor, Japanese artist and painter Yusuke Asai has completed a stunning mural that looks as though it was created with a large palette of brown paints, but in actuality he used 27 different types of soil. Since he was commissioned to do this work in Houston, Texas, Asai used dirt that was local to the area. He was expecting to have 10 different shades, but was pleasantly surprised with the 17 bonus soils, collected by students and volunteers, which included shades of red, green, and yellow. Although Asai has been doing this work since 2008, he has never worked with so many shades. He calls this piece “yamatane”, which is Japanese for “mountain seed”. Surprisingly, the only art training that Asai has had was a ceramics class in high school. When he realized he could not afford art school at a university, he studied folk and tribal art on his own at zoos and museums, and perfected his own techniques.
Yusuke Asai explains his process:
“I do not decide on a story or meaning before I start painting. Imagery of figures and creatures comes to me in the moment. Fox, bird, cat and sunshine – everything has a role; parts disappear and something is added. The world accepts it and keeps changing. I begin each work thinking of the countless small things that come together to make a larger world…There is a desire for artwork to be permanent, but to try and keep it forever would mean that my painting would become unnatural. When I erase the painting it is sad, but within the context of the natural world, everything is temporary.”
From now until November 23, 2014, this mud masterpiece will be on display in Houston at the Rice Gallery. Check out more work from this talented artist on his website: Here.