Haley Friesen and Nobuhiro Sato

selected by Margherita Gorini



click to enlarge

This hybrid project is a mixture of multiple mediums and exists thanks to the creativity and expertise of the ballet dancers/models Kathleen Legassick and Meaghan Silva, the Japanese calligraphy artist Nobuhiro Sato and the photographer- myself. This series explores multiple forms of artistic expressions in an attempt of collaboration to create beauty, movement and energy. I’ve always considered Japanese characters to have a strong resemblance to dancers and motion. There’s something about the sweeping gestures and graceful twists that make the slashes and splatters of hiragana and katana ink characters appear as a choreographed dance to my eyes. I’m sure this concept is much more effective –or perhaps just effective in a different manner- to those who are illiterate in Japanese.

click to enlarge

I have always possessed a fascination with both dance and Japanese culture – I involved myself in dance classes and Japanese summer camps for years and now that neither of those things is currently available to me, I decided to find a new way to combine these two passions and help express myself and others. After approaching Nobuhiro Sato -a freelance artist based in San Francisco- we decided to create a collaboration of photography and Japanese calligraphy. The photographs were shot digitally in studio and then printed on watercolor paper and shipped to San Francisco where Sato proceeded to paint over them using Sumi ink and sent them back.

click to enlarge

The heavy brush strokes and sporadic ink splatters blend and move along with the contortion of the dancer’s body- like energy bursting outwards and escaping in the form of pure motion. The actual characters themselves are a mixture of both hiragana and katana Japanese characters. Sato’s first reaction to the photographs I took for this series was to incorporate the word “Rurubu” or “るるぶ • 流々舞”-which essentially means to dance and flow slowly. The way in which he described this word to me was that of watching an intricate and precise physical movement in slow motion so that every ounce of energy and the true movements of each position or pose is felt and recognized. Different characters of this word have been painted over individual photographs but they are not presented in sequence because the visuals of the ink blending with the dancer’s body are the focus of this series, not the literal definition of the words. Each character has been painted as an exaggerated version of itself that favors the visual aspect rather than formalities of the language.” – Haley Friesen and Nobuhiro Sato

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