Exploring the elements with conceptual artist Etsuko Ichikawa

Etsuko Ichikawa‘s work is a fusion of traditional technique with conceptual influences. Her work is inspired by nature and the elements, as she uses fire and water to create her pieces, perhaps as a self-fulfilling prophecy since her name means “an inlet of water”.  The pieces, fittingly called pyrographs and aquagraphs are laid together using fire, molten glass and water.

Etsuko was born in Tokyo and trained in a multitude of techniques. This multi- disciplinary way of working has allowed her to flourish in drawing, performance art, film and sound. The writing in her aquagraphs is sometimes in Sanskrit; the sweeping movements she makes with molten glass feel very traditional somehow, even if not traditionally Japanese.

Etsuko has been collaborating with other artists, to produce some very conceptual work, in sound and film. Her latest short film, Echo at Satsop, was created as a way to reflect on the environmental issues that have plagued Japan in recent years. She’s a quiet activist, letting her work speak for her, authentically and organically.

We visited Etsuko in her studio in Seattle, (check out her space in the post below) and watched her create aquagraphs in preparation for her show, taking place in Seattle. We asked her what propelled her to become an artist, and why she chooses to incorporate nature into her work.

Etsuko is having a solo show at Winston Wächter Fine art running from 9/10- 10/30.