Shikō Munakata 棟方 志功
Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) was a Japanese artist, world-renowned for his woodblock prints and his role in popularising both the shin-hanga and mingei movements in the West. Munakata’s distinctive and harsh take on print making gained worldwide attention in the mid 20th Century: in the Eastern World, this was a result of his departure from more traditional production techniques whilst still maintaining the cultural subject matter of Buddha, flowers and similar everyday imagery. Whereas in the West, the prints were produced in a style not too dissimilar from the European abstract and modernist artists, which in turn gained Munakata the nickname of ‘Japanese Picasso.’ One can easily see the similarties between the two artists.
An interesting observation is noticing that Picasso and his French peers were influenced by the work of the earlier Japanese printmakers, notably Hokusai, which in turn influenced Munakata; the influence really travelled full circle within artistic circles in the 19th and 20thcenturies.