CALM TALK 05 Intuitively conveying the pleasant moment of facing nature | Moe Nakase (Artist)

Artist Moe Nakase weaves his works and spaces in the nature of Sagamihara, where he was born and raised.
  • Photograph:MOMOKA OMOTE

Located in the northwestern part of Sagamihara City, the Fujino area is surrounded by mountains on all sides and is rich in water and nature, including Lake Sagami. At the same time, it is known as a town of art. It is said that the area was first known as an art town when artists such as Tsuguharu Fujita evacuated to the area during World War II. It is easy to imagine that this area, which is close to the city center but blessed with nature, attracted artists.

Artist Moe Nakase was born and raised in this area, as his parents were art college graduates and had their studio and home here. As she grew up, she experienced life in the city center, but came back here again.

Painting Methods to Feel the Energy of Nature

She said, "At first I was doing pointillist kind of drawings all the time, and then I moved on to color. In the beginning, in Tokyo, I was drawing black-and-white pointillism with a ballpoint pen.

After I came back here (Fujino), I was consciously looking at this kind of natural scenery, and rather than saying, "Let's use colors! Rather than saying, "Let's use colors!", I was just picking them up naturally. It was more because I wanted to preserve what I saw and keep the memory of what I saw.

The foundation of Nakase's main painting method is encaustic, an ancient tradition of painting by melting beeswax and mixing it with pigments. From there, he now incorporates poaching into his work in a variety of new and original ways.

A lump of beeswax is a material that is stable for thousands of years as long as it is not melted by heat. That's why it has been used for mummies and as a painting material since Athens and the Greeks. I really like its history, and I feel its natural energy is very strong. It's a material born from the secretions of bees collecting pollen."

She want to provide opportunities to create a relationship with nature.

Several years have passed since hers return to Fujino, and Nakase has now begun building a new base. The building is located at the western edge of Sagamihara, which borders Yamanashi Prefecture, in a mountainous area called Sano River. A stream flows right next to the building, and nearby is a neighborhood called "Ido," indicating that the area has always been rich in water.

Everyone in this area pulls water from the river to make a living. There is a trailhead right next to the river, and there is a mountain range that includes Mount Jimba and Mount Takao.

It could be a trail run course, so it could be a resting place when hiking in the mountains, or we could hold workshops with the welfare facility above, invite musicians, or expand the scope of this place, whether it is art-related or not."

Having grown up in such a place, nature is a natural part of life for Nakase. However, after experiencing life in the city center, she also realized that there are hurdles for city dwellers to face when it comes to nature.

For those who have never had the opportunity to be in contact with nature, even the slightest thing can be an obstacle. He wants to provide such people with an opportunity to create a relationship with nature.

She said, "I hid it, but there were works that were all pitch black, or spiky, or jagged black, and so on. That started to change when I came back here and started going into the mountains. I didn't realize it myself. A work of art is like your body, so you don't notice it until later. It's just like the change of having muscles here. It's like I've become much calmer (laughs).

I don't know if I want to convey that intuitively, or if I want to convey it, but that's what I mean when I paint.

Nakase, who embraces such changes, exudes a kind of warm energy. It seems to be transmitted to those around her.

A friend of mine who has been with me for about 10 years contacted me recently and we met. I asked him why he contacted me. He said, "Because you looked kind of happy. I knew that he was out in nature, running, going to the mountains, etc., and I thought that he was definitely influenced by that, and I thought that he was emitting good ions right now, so I wanted to smoke him (laughs).

It was kind of like an honest thank you for the words. I felt that I was giving people a comfortable time without being aware of it. After people know about this kind of lifestyle and environment, they may start something. I just hope I can help them take that one step."