Having been born in Washington DC, raised in the United States and Costa Rica, and then living in Japan for three years, Irene Carvajal says, “My life has been one of contrast between the landscapes, peoples, customs and ideas that surround us.”
During the time Carvajal lived in Japan, she was an apprentice at the ceramics studio of Kyoko Yumura and Akiko Kow. She also raised one child and gave birth to another, which allowed her to experience first hand the warmth and generous nature of Japanese women.
Carvajal states, “The aesthetic and sensibilities of Japanese culture had always appealed to me, but living there I came to realize how deep this connection to nature, simplicity, balance and beauty is for these people. Art is in everything they do, in the most mundane of tasks to the largest undertakings. The images that I created for this exhibit try to show the Japanese attention to beauty. From food to gardens, geisha to anime.”
Japan taught Carvajal to focus not only on the final product but the path that takes her there. She has a special relationship with her hundred year old lithography press whose quirks and character become part of her images. She began painting onto a plexiglass plate with rich, vibrant oil based inks. The plate, in contact with the paper, is hand-cranked through the press and will only produce one unique image. Hence the name “monoprint.”
“My passion is to capture the natural and cultural diversity of our world, weaving together images, textures, colors and words. My hope is to share these experiences through my work.” Exclaims Carvajal.