I remember when the realtor took us to see this house almost ten years ago I had this strong mixed reaction to renting it. The house had quirks like frosted glass on the kitchen and bedroom windows so you can’t look out, and what could have been a nice plot of backyard had been covered over in concrete. But in the backyard was also something good, a shed, just the ideal size to store my art supplies and canvases. . .
After we moved in, my neighbors asked me if I knew that the first to rent this house back in the 1980s had been the famous Rakugo comedian, Tsurutaro Kataoka. I had never heard of Kataoka and the name went in one ear and out the other until his name came up in another conversation…Did I know he had become an artist, and a prominent one at that?
Well, today Mirai and I went to the Shiodome Panasonic Museum in Shimbashi out of curiosity to see a wonderful retrospective of Tsurutaro Kataoka’s paintings and glass work. I don’t know why it should suprise me — but it does — that he paints in the same rainbow palette that I love to use. And his sensitivity to nature and the seasons brings poetry to every canvas he lays a brush on.
I hope one day to meet him. To thank him for putting a shed in the backyard. And we can share a laugh over his reason for moving out: he wanted to tear down the walls on the second floor and make one giant artist studio!
Tsurutaro Kataoka has built himself a fantastic museum in Ibaragi and I hear there is also one in the onsen town of Kusatsu. Ah…wouldn’t it be nice to follow in his footprints with a museum of my own one day!
In the meantime, it gives me great pleasure to open my home studio to Genesis art workshops, knowing that this home has been proven to nurture the talents of people like me and Tsurutaro with no art school training, but with a passion to explore our creativity and to share it!
PS Four years ago on my birthday, the next door neighbor gave me an unwitting birthday present. She tore down her house and it was soon replaced with a parking lot that offers a whole lot of beautiful eastern sky to start the morning.