A Master of Pen and Ink !

Manabu Ikeda creates some monumental and epic painting. The artist was born in 1973 in Saga, and received his master’s degree from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 2000. In 2001, he won the grand prize in the fourth Hamamatsu nationwide public exhibition of painting. In 2006, he had his solo exhibition at Mizuma Action for the first time. With his epic work “History of Rise and Fall,” he overwhelmed audiences and made a stunning debut.

NINOMARU palace (History of rise and fall), 2007, pen, acrylic ink on paper, mounted on board, 6.5′ x 6.5′


Since his graduation piece for graduate school, he has been consistently working on paper with pen and ink. Using a thin nib, Ikeda weaves elements of civilization and nature into fantastic narratives, which emanate a sense of pure curiosity and abundant imagination.Trains running on tiled roofs. Cars getting caught up in traffic jams in tunnel made of timber. Humans 0.5cm tall climbing, surfing, and sometimes working at place like construction sites.Birds and airplanes fly in the sky, while imaginary creatures lurk quietly in the shadows. His drawing is so alarmingly dense that he can only manage one fist-sized area per day. However, with indefatigable patience, entire scenes gradually pile up, with the steady, inexorable accumulation of diary entries.

Ice Stream, 2008, pen, acrylic ink on paper, mounted on board, 35x45cm


When we see the whole image, we realize that the accumulated details become not just a sprawling painting in miniature, but rather a micro and macro world at the same time. This unique duality stems from his architectural point of view and profound affinity for construction.

Lighthouse, 2009, pen, acrylic ink on paper, mounted on board, 22×27.3cm


All Photos by Kei Miyajima

Ikeda’s most recent work, Meltdown, which explores the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was recently on view at the West Vancouver Museum. You can also read an interview of the artist at Hi-Fructose.

See more work at the Mizuma Art Gallery



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