I am not sure why, but I truly enjoy the eccentrics in Japanese art. The bravado and daring to follow an eccentric vision interests me and the idiosyncratic nature of the work is a lure, a beacon while standing outside the traditional convention of the field. The only drawback to the work of the eccentrics is that their appeal is mostly limited to those who also enjoy work outside of the norm and bucking convention. Over the years I have been drawn to the likes of painters Murase Taiitsu and modern painter Sato Katsuhiko, while the pottery of Isamu Noguchi, Tsukigata Nahiko and Kumano Kuroemon has managed to get my attention. It is the uniqueness and innovation of the eccentric artists that is captivating in technique and spirit. I say uniqueness, but in reality, most of the eccentrics use traditional idioms and through dedication to their vision bend them to their own by working outside the lines of convention, creating something entirely new, bold and pivotal to their art. In the end, I see the eccentrics as the pioneers who, like an engine, drive and help propel the possibilities of their various pursuits.
Illustrated is a guinomi by eccentric and dedicated potter, Kumano Kuroemon. The guinomi is simple in form with a surface that narrates the violence of the firing in which a thick coat of melted ash coats the Shino glaze creating a surface that looks like frozen ice complete with fissures and drizzling tamadare style ash moving down the piece. A side affect is part of the real beauty of these eccentric works, the surface has a luminescent quality to it and depending on the light source, the viewer is seduced by its unique presence and power.