Ray Morimura is a graduate of Tokyo Gakugei University, where he studied oil painting. Originally his works were geometric-style abstractions. But later he was inspired by Shigeru Hatsuyama and Sumio Kawakami, and began to study woodblock techniques. Unlike most other Japanese woodblock printmakers, he uses oil-based inks to create these detailed images.
His technique is to carve both 6mm thick plywood blocks and 3mm thick blocks laminated with P-tile, a flooring material. The “linocut” process permits quite complex designs, which are printed on mulberry bark kozo paper. Essentially each color requires a separate block, and separate inking. Some blocks are printed with solid colors, while others include bokashi or a gradation of color.
Of his work, Morimura says “printing demands total concentration as a single hair or dust can ruin a print. I usually clean my studio thoroughly and wait to begin the printing process until after midnight when it is quiet. With prints one can never be certain of the outcome until the final print is completed. There is always the unexpected, which makes it all the more intriguing. As with Zen and ink paintings, I hope something spiritual, in a contemporary sense, can be expressed in these landscape works.”