Colours of everyday life by Hampstead art show winner

Flowers and Plates watercolour 2019

Flowers and Plates watercolour 2019 by Atsuko Saito. - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

The colours and beauty found in "mundane" everyday life feature in an exhibition at Hampstead School of Art.

Atsuko Saito scooped the top prize at this year's Hampstead Summer Festival art show, and her win included a solo exhibition at the school in Penrose Gardens.

‘The Colours of the Everyday’ opens next month showcasing Saito's unique process. Using Japanese brushes for which she specially trained in her native Japan, she renders the detritus of everyday; dinner plates, laundry, flowers, and clothes, in glorious detail.

Flowers and Plates is "a simple story about returning home from a market and spreading out all the goods from my bag onto the kitchen table". While On The Bed mingles clothes once owned by Saito's mother as she tries to convey emotion "with just colours and shapes".

"Manmade objects and fabrics have no life, but they do have their own expressions; inhaled through time, making us relive the emotions," she says. "The clothes and objects in my room have varied histories, absorbing each day’s smell, temperature, air, and my own sentiments." Through painting she communicates "those emotions generated by ordinary objects".

Laundry

Laundry by Atsuko Saito watercolour on paper 2019 - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Laundry depicts "the beauty in the chaos of laundry piling up on my bed before it is folded neatly away".

"I am drawn to the way the unworn clothes have fallen into such three dimensional shapes, as if they have a life and purpose of their own. I fantasize over who has worn them, and what they did. Clothing and objects cannot be separated from their owners. If they could talk, what stories would they tell?"

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Saito, who moved to Swiss Cottage in 2017, has previously had work selected for the Sunday Times Watercolours Exhibition, the Royal Institute of Painters Watercolours Exhibition, and the Society of Women Artists.

The 40 artworks on show include Japanese paintings using traditional materials such as special papers and carefully sourced and crushed minerals for the paint which give them an exceptional texture and luminosity.

There is also work from Saito's series ‘Unnecessary Necessities’ themed around our consumption of objects that makes us slaves to materialism.

"I'm aware that my wasteful compulsion is ruining the future of the earth and humanity, however this addiction has spurred my life many times," she confesses.

Painting of clothes on a sofa by Atsuko Saito

Not New and Yet by Atsuko Saito watercolour ink and collage on paper 2021 - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

"This is my first solo exhibition and I am bringing all my passion to it."

The Colours of the Everyday runs November 2 until December 5.

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